100 Years Ago: Letter of Sympathy for William Woods’s Wife, Spanish Influenza in 26 States, Army Huts Drive a Success, Herbert Maxwell Killed in Action, Arthur Leslie Yerex Wounded, Alexander Beaton Killed in Action

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 2)

“Sympathy of Pals Of Pte. W. Wood. The following letter of sympathy has been received by Mrs. W. Woods, whose husband was recently reported killed in action:

France, Sept. 7, 1918. Mrs. W. Woods, 20 Waters Street, Belleville, Ont. Dear Mrs. Woods:—It grieves me to inform you of the death of your husband, Pte. W. Woods, who was killed in action during the advance of Sept. 2nd. He was making headway to our objective when he was hit by a machine gun bullet. He died instantly and suffered no pain. His pals will miss him greatly as he was a great favorite in the company.

On behalf of the officers of the company and battalion I extend their heartfelt sympathy. Sincerely yours, W. C. Tobias, Lieut.”

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 2)

“Has Now Spread Over 26 States. Washington. Spanish influenza has spread over the country so rapidly that officials of the public health service, the War and Navy Department, and the Red Cross conferred on Wednesday on measures to help local communities in combating the disease. …

The disease is epidemic in New England, where it first made its appearance, and officials in that section are considering drastic steps to curb its spread, including the prevention of public gatherings. …  The disease continued to spread Wednesday in army camps, 5,324 new cases being reported to the office of the Surgeon-General of the army up to noon. The total reported from the camps Wednesday was the largest in any one day, and brought the total for all camps to 29,002 cases.”

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 3)

“K. of C. Army Hut Drive Success. The Knights of Columbus Army Hut Drive, which began on Sept. 15th to continue throughout the week, has far excelled the most optimistic expectations of the Committee. While the amount sought in this District was $5,000 Belleville alone has far exceeded this amount, and it is expected that when the returns are all in from the outlying places the total will reach nearly $10,000.

While the persons in charge of the campaign are delighted with the large sum realized, there is another point which has been a source of greater satisfaction and that is the spirit that has accompanied the gifts. Never was money given with a better grace. The canvassers and workers report nothing but courteous receptions and cheerful encouragements wherever they went. There was a spirit of comradeship and friendliness throughout the entire campaign.

People of all classes and all creeds vied with each other to encourage the work of helping to lighten the burden of our soldiers over there and as our brave boys are fighting shoulder to shoulder without regard to race, creed or color, and as the casualty lists bring the same sad tidings to all homes over here, without distinction of creed or class so also have the workers in K. of C. Hut Fund Drive shown the same spirit of comradeship. Men and women in all ranks of life and all classes and creeds have gone out and worked together for this glorious common cause.

This terrible war has changed many things, but there is nothing so remarkable or pleasing as the way the community has been brought together, and it is to be hoped that this result of the most terrible of wars will last forever, that all classes of our community will live together with that same blessed spirit of brotherhood, sacred to the memory of those who lie side by side beneath the waving poppies in Flanders Field.

The ladies are deserving of the greatest praise for the excellent work done on Tag Day, having realized the magnificent sum of $712.15. …

Ald. Chas. Hanna and all the members of the 15th Regt. Band are giving a sacred concert at Griffin’s Opera House Sunday night at 8 o’clock in aid of the Fund. A silver collection will be taken at the door. Mr. John Griffin, President of The Griffin Amusement Corporation, with his usual generosity to anything patriotic or charitable, is donating the theatre free of charge.”

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 7)

“Made Supreme Sacrifice. A message of condolence from the military authorities, received on Tuesday, was the first intimation Mr. Thos. Maxwell of Bancroft received that his son, Gr. Herb. Maxwell, had been killed in action. His name appeared in the casualty list the same day. Herb. enlisted in October, 1915, and went overseas with the 80th battalion from Belleville. He had been in France over two years. Previous to enlisting he was employed in the Bank of Nova Scotia in Bancroft.”

[Note: Private Herbert Edward Maxwell died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 469 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 7)

Arthur Leslie Yerex“Gunner Yerex Wounded. Mr. Wm. Yerex of 68 Sinclair Street, city, has received an official telegram from the Director of Records at Ottawa that Pte. Arthur Leslie Yerex, artillery, is reported as slightly wounded on September 5, but remaining on duty. Gunner Yerex has been in the fighting since July 11, 1916, and this is his first fatality.”

The Intelligencer September 27, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Alexander Beaton Killed. Mrs. Flora Beaton, 63 Alexander street, city, received an official telegram yesterday afternoon from the Director of Records at Ottawa, that her son, Pte. Alexander Beaton, was killed in action on September 2. In the morning Mrs. Beaton received two cheery letters from her soldier son, bright with hope and courage, but in the afternoon the dread message came apprising her that he had made the supreme sacrifice for God and Home and Native Land.

Pte. Alexander Beaton enlisted on July 29, 1915, with the 59th Battalion and trained in Kingston and Brockville. Proceeding overseas he passed through some of the severe battles in France and was wounded in 1916, spending eight months in an English military hospital, returning to active service in November, 1917.

Previous to enlisting he was an employee of the G.T.R. and had many friends in Belleville who will sincerely regret his death. Pte. Beaton was in his twenty-fourth year and is survived by his widowed mother, two brothers, John and Donald, at home. A brother, Pte. John Y. Beaton, of the 155th Battalion, was killed by a train at Kingston on Sept. 2, 1916, the same month and the same day of the month on which Pte. Alexander Beaton was killed in action in France.”

[Note: Private Alexander Beaton died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 365 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]