100 Years Ago: Harold Prest Killed in Action, Military Hospital at Whitby Opened, Coal Dealers Warned, Scientists Interested in Military Service Act Medical Examination Results

The Intelligencer September 26, 1917 (page 1)

“Belleville Boy Killed in Action. Mr. A. N. Prest, residing at 45 Herchimer Street, Belleville, received a sad message this morning from the Director of Records at Ottawa. It was to the effect that his son, Private Harold Prest, of this city, had been killed in action on the 16th inst. Pte.

Prest was 23 years of age, and enlisted with the 59th Battalion at Brockville, going overseas with that battalion. Previous to enlistment he was a clerk in the G.T.R. shops here. Harold was popular with all who knew him and his death will be sincerely regretted by a host of friends. A wife and young daughter survive in addition to his parents. Mr. Myles Prest of The Intelligencer Office, is a brother of the deceased.”

[Note: Private Harold Prest died on September 16, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 311 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 26, 1917 (page 1)

“ ‘The finest military hospital on this continent’ was the tribute of His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire after he had inspected the big hospital and vocational training centre of the Military Hospitals Commission at Whitby. His Excellency formally opened the great $55,000 recreation hall, which has just been completed and a big day of sports and exhibitions were staged by the convalescent men in honor of the occasion.

The veterans’ band under the directorship of Bandmaster Reeves played, two teams from the various cottages in the institution put on a baseball game, and all the champions around the hospital were pointed out to the Governor-General. These ‘champions’ represent nearly every branch of sport, for the facilities are there for all athletics, and the returned boys are a lively bunch, even in convalescence.

The splendid buildings housing the wards and the vocational training rooms were praised highly by the vice-regal party, and the men beamed over their work. Whitby is said to be unsurpassed in any country in the world to-day in its location and equipment, as a centre for the convalescence and training of soldiers.”

The Intelligencer September 26, 1917 (page 2)

“Coal Dealers Warned. The office of the Dominion Fuel Controller, Ottawa, repeats the warning to coal dealers throughout the country that objection will be taken to any advance in the price of coal being made without notification first being sent to the Fuel Controller. The view of the Fuel Controller is that the coal dealers had a liberal profit last summer, sufficiently so to enable them to continue the present prices into the winter, and give the smaller users of coal the same price, notwithstanding any increase that the mines may make at this time.”

The Intelligencer September 26, 1917 (page 6)

“Spotlight on Canada’s Men. Ottawa. Medical men throughout the country are taking a keen interest in the coming examination of the physical condition of Canadians who are liable for service under the Military Service Act. …  Many authorities have held that Canadians, as a race, are unusually hardy, owing to the rigorous weather experienced in this country.

Never in Canada’s history has there been such a thorough examination of men in the country between certain ages. …  It will establish a new basis of fact for scientific men to work on, and the records will be of value for universities and scientific bureaus not only in Canada but throughout the civilized world.

The object of the medical examination, primarily, is to inform those liable to service if they will be drafted or not, since men found physically unfit are sure of exemption Tribunals. Employers will also be able to calculate as to what removals they may expect from their business houses, factories, etc. But the scientific importance of the country-wide physical examination of men between certain ages looms large in the eyes of a great many medical authorities.”