100 Years Ago: Alderman Smith Resigns to Join Flying Corps, Letter from Burb Symons

The Intelligencer May 15, 1917 (page 2)

“Ald. Smith Resigns from City Council. At the City Council meeting last evening, Mayor Ketcheson read the following letter, which explains itself. To the Mayor and Aldermen, City of Belleville. Dear Sir:—Having enlisted for active service in our great struggle for civilization against accursed German militarism, I respectfully resign as member of our Municipal Council.

In severing my relations with you, I desire to express my sincere thanks, to the citizens for the kind and generous manner in which they repeatedly honored me with their confidence, and which it has always been my aim to merit. …  I have endeavored to give efficient service to the citizens although I am not fortunate enough, as many of you are, in being able to claim Belleville as my birthplace.

However, I was born in the Province of Ontario, of British parents and British grandparents and in a larger measure I feel that I owe a more pressing duty, involving a greater service, not only to my family, or to my friends in Belleville, but a service that I owe to my country, to the whole British Empire, and to humanity at large, and that duty and that service is to do my share, however little it may be, to uphold our cherished institutions of British freedom and justice, and to help to achieve such a victory. …

For more than a year past I have tried to arrange my business affairs to permit me to enlist, and I am glad that I can now give my service for the great cause of civilization, which in my opinion, is worthy of every sacrifice. Yours truly, W. S. Smith.”

The Intelligencer May 15, 1917 (page 2)

“From Burb Symons. Aldershot, April 26. My Dear Mother:—Received your most welcomed letter written on the 9th of March, and was surely glad to hear from you. The last time I wrote I was in the Isolation Hospital. I have been transferred to the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot. While I had the mumps I was taken with appendicitis. After my time was up for the mumps I came here. I had an operation for appendicitis last Monday. This is Thursday. I am feeling fine. The stitches will come out Monday I expect, if everything goes well. …

They are all English in this ward. They call me Canada. The Duke of Connaught is coming here to-morrow. I have to write lying on my back, and it is not comfortable, so I will not write very much, as I am quite weak. …  I guess I will close now. Don’t worry as you get excellent care here, and I am getting along fine. Love to all at home. Kiss little Mabel for me. I remain, Your loving son, Burb.”