100 Years Ago: Original First Contingent Men Won’t Be Discharged, Funeral for Sergeant Charles A. Gibson, Anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge, Harvey Wheeler Wounded, Captain W.E. Schuster Now a Civilian, Body of Harold Reid Arrives in Belleville

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Original First Men Can’t Stay At Home. Ottawa. Representations are being made to Ottawa to grant the members of the Original First Contingent who are home on furlough their discharge. General Mewburn and the Militia authorities sympathize with the requests but point out the difficulties in the way.

In the first place, it was only after months of negotiations that the War Office was persuaded to grant these men furlough. …  When it was finally agreed that they would be granted a three-months’ furlough, it was on the distinct understanding that the men returned. …  In addition there are many more men members of the first contingent for whom the Government are still anxious to secure furloughs. It is claimed that if the men now home were discharged, it would refuse absolutely to consider further requests for furlough.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 2)

“Sergt. Charles A. Gibson Hero of Two Wars Lays Down His Arms. Through streets lined with men and women and children, whose faces showed the sorrow they felt, a long procession moved slowly on Saturday afternoon carrying all that was mortal of a brave soldier and gallant Canadian from his earthly home to the last resting place amid the green carpeted aisles of that silent city, where so many loved ones wait in rest and peace the great and joyous reunion which faith has promised.

Sergeant Charles Armstrong Gibson was born and brought up in Belleville, and his life so full of National and Empire service was so well known to everybody that his death caused widespread sorrow and his funeral was attended by thousands who paid this tribute of respect to one who was always first to respond to his country’s call in the hour of danger. Many there were also who honored Charlie Gibson as a friend, kind and generous to a fault, and to these his sudden death brought deep sorrow. …

In the funeral procession were over sixty returned soldiers who had done ‘their bit’ over there, some like Charlie Gibson being Original Firsts of this war, who responded to the first call. Others, too, like him, wore the distinguishing medals of service in the South African war. …

It was one of the largest funerals seen in Belleville for many a day, and during the slow march through Front street both sides of that thoroughfare were crowded with spectators, and many were the expressions of regret heard at the passing of a brave soldier, who was deservedly popular. …

At the family residence 72 Victoria Avenue, at 3.30 o’clock an appropriate service was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Blagrave, rector of Christ Church, who also officiated at the interment at the cemetery. …  After the committal service at the grave the Last Post was sounded, ending the ceremony over the body of one who was worthy of all the honor accorded him. The floral tributes were many and most beautiful in design, being a mute testimony to the numerous friends of the departed, and the casket was draped with the Union Jack, the flag he loved so well.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 4)

“Battle of Vimy Ridge One Year Ago. The week-end is remembered throughout Canada as the first anniversary of the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge. It was just a year ago that they won such immortal fame. One of the finest chapters in the history of the Canadians was written when they made the famous charge that carried the ground so long coveted.

After months of preparation, with the foe always on higher ground they carried the ridge in half an hour after the first German S. O. S. rocket was fired. The despatches described the attack as majestic, awe-inspiring. It revealed the Canadian spirit. It proved them fighting men. On either side were the dashing British troops, the English battalions, the famous Scotch regiments. To the Canadians had fallen the honor of the main attack and they carried it out with the greatest gallantry.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Wheeler Wounded. Word has been received in the city that Private Harvey Wheeler has been wounded whilst on active service at the front. He was wounded on the knee and chest. The young private enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion from this city.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Returns to Civilian Life. Capt. W. E. Schuster is now in civilian life again after two years overseas service as transportation officer on the London Headquarters staff of the Canadian Forestry Corp. There is abundant evidence that this officer’s work has been stamped with efficiency and that he has made good goes without saying. The great and useful work of the above corps will fill interesting pages in history when the entire operations are fully known.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“An Eventful Voyage. The body of Flight Lieut. Harold Mackenzie Reid, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Reid, who on February 23rd was killed at Eastchurch, England, as the result of an aeroplane accident arrived in this city on Sunday afternoon via C. P. R. Many relatives and friends were at the station to meet the train conveying the body, which arrived at 3.15 p.m. Accompanied by eight members of the staff of the Ritchie store the body was taken to the mortuary parlors of Tickell & Sons. Subsequently the casket was taken to the home of the parents, 105 Bridge street east, being escorted by a number of the employees of the Ritchie Company. …

It is interesting to note that the Transatlantic liner which brought the body from England was torpedoed by a German submarine and obliged to put back to England for repairs, the bow of the vessel being badly damaged from torpedo contact. The second sailing was more successful and the voyage was made in safety.”