100 Years Ago: The Red Triangle, Private Mab Oliver Welcomed Home to Foxboro

The Intelligencer May 8, 1918 (page 4)

“The Red Triangle and the Soldiers. The campaign to raise two and a quarter million dollars for the Canadian Y. M. C. A. war work, or the Red Triangle, a symbol of good cheer, rest and fellowship for the weary soldier, is making wonderful strides toward accomplishment, and the objective does not look nearly as large as it did at first. Public spirited men and women everywhere in Canada are giving freely of their time and talents to roll up a mighty fund to enable the Y. M. C. A. to carry out the splendid work of ministering to the comfort of the soldiers on the firing line and in the training camps. …

The Canadian Y. M. C. A. is asking for $2,250,000 to enable it to ‘carry on’ for another year. This will mean that every one of the boys in camp in Canada, in England, and in France, will be given something of the joys of home for the nominal sum of between five and six dollars per man. …

Till the boys come home, the Red Triangle takes home to the boys. What every man and woman of us would do for the boys ‘over there’ had we but the chance, the Y. M. C. A. can do and is doing for us. Its system of work is a triumph of organization. Not only does it reach every man, but it ministers to every side of each man. As the flaming red three-sided symbol indicates, body, mind and spirits are catered to. Tired bodies, minds made soggy by the monotony of camp life, souls distressed and torn by loneliness and temptation, are strengthened and renewed by this ministry.”

The Intelligencer May 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Private M. Oliver Warmly Welcomed Home to Foxboro. On Monday evening, April 29, the village of Foxboro witnessed an event at once unique and entirely without precedent in its lengthy and varied experience.

Authentic announcement had been received the previous day of the arrival at Belleville of one of Foxboro’s brave volunteer lads. Pte. M. Oliver, who had returned, wounded, from those trenches ‘somewhere in France.’ Mr. Frank Sine, manager of the famous Foxboro Brass Band, became master of ceremonies, and during that Monday had slight difficulty in arousing the patriotic citizens of Foxboro and its immediate surroundings to make all necessary preparations to give him a right royal reception.

Mr. C. Empson had the honor of being the one chosen to motor to Belleville and bring him to the village in the early evening. In the meantime, automobiles decorated with bunting and flags, and filled with eager citizens, arrived at the appointed place of meeting, which was at Mr. James Gay’s, at the south end of the village.

Three automobiles were filled with school pupils and other pupils found places in other cars. About fifty pupils each waving a Union Jack made a fine spectacle. Four large Union Jacks, waving high, one over each car, were carried by the school boys.

About 8 p.m. Mr. Empson arrived with the honored soldier at the appointed place. Every eye anxiously searched for the face of Private Mab Oliver, who was seated with his mother on his right, and on his left was Mrs. John Eggleton; whose son Clarence made the supreme sacrifice in 1916. The lusty Canadian cheers were not out of place, as many, in their enthusiasm crowded around the car to shake hands with him, and on all sides rang out the glad greeting, ‘Hello, Mab! Hello, Mab!’

Royally Received. The procession of cars and a number of other vehicles now fell into line, led by the Foxboro Brass Band on foot. Then came the car in which sat Private Oliver, followed by the car of Dr. W. F. Faulkner, with whom was Rev. S. A. Kemp, Rev. P. W. Currie, and Mr. W. Haight. The cars in which were the school pupils came next and then the citizens. The procession moved northward, past the crowds of people on foot who lined the sidewalks.

At G. Shaw’s store were gathered a large number who gave a hearty Chatauqua salute as Private Oliver passed them. At the extreme north end of the village, at S. C. Gay’s store, the procession circled, and returned to the town hall. Here at the entrance, the school pupils massed, and as Private Oliver was borne on the shoulders of two members of the band past them into the hall, three cheers and a ‘tiger’ was given.

The hall had been daintily decorated with flowers and flags; many of the flags of the Allies were displayed on the walls. The hall was filled to capacity, and a large number were prevented from entering. Dr. D. W. Faulkner was chairman. Private Oliver and his mother had a prominent place on the platform. Rev. S. A. Kemp and Rev. P. W. Currie with the band, occupied the remainder of the platform. The school pupils occupied the southeast end of the hall, their flags still very prominent.

The opening prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Currie. The band played a number of selections. Miss Bell sang a very appropriate solo, ‘Home Again.’ A full chorus, ‘Salute the Flag,’ was given by the school pupils. Speeches were given by Dr. D. W. Faulkner, Rev. Mr. Currie and Private Oliver. Very noticeable was the eager and breathless attention that was given to the speech of the evening by Private Oliver. The hush was almost painful as he related a few experiences, and told of his gratitude for the loyal reception which had been given him.

Sudden peals of thunder and flashes of lightning caused many to leave the hall at this point of the programme, so the chairman closed at once with the National Anthem. Many were the keen regrets expressed because Rev. Mr. Kemp had not been permitted to give his speech, which all averred would have been much appreciated, because of his sustained reputation as preacher and speaker.

Thus was Foxboro’s first reception planned and accomplished. Private Mab Oliver’s brother, Bob, is still in France, having gone over with the 39th from Belleville.”

[Note: Private Clarence Glee Eggleton died on June 3, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 82 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

[Note: A Chautauqua salute was the waving of white handkerchiefs.]