Perth Courier - World War I.
supplied by Christine M. Spencer of Northwestern University, Evanston, Il., USA.
A report came a short time ago to Mrs. William Spaulding that her son Eric Spaulding had been killed in the fighting at Langemarck last summer. A letter from Private McDonald of Almonte said that he saw Eric shot by the enemy while retiring from the village at the command of the officers and it was assumed by the writer that the young man had been killed. No confirmation of the report has yet been received by the department at Ottawa and the hope is still held that Eric may yet be alive and only wounded.
Mr. P. S. D. Harding, agricultural representative at Perth, will take out a commission with the Canadian militia in the near future.
Among the Canadians specially mentioned in Sir John Francis’ reports for gallantry and distinguished service is Lt. Hart of the Medical Corps whose name appears in the list of that department of the service. Lt. Hart is the son of the late Professor and Mrs. Hart and a nephew of John S. Hart of Perth.
J. H. Butler, who has been Chief of Police of Pembroke since 1908 has resigned. It is understood that he has been granted a lieutenancy with the 42nd Regiment Guards at Petawawa Camp.
The 5th and 6th Canadian Howitzer Brigades recently completed their trials on the Salisbury Plain. Their shooting was remarkable and a veteran of the Imperial Office said there had been no such form in newly trained troops since the beginning of the war. Most of these men received their early training at Kingston. Captain Arthur B. Chandler is medical officer of the 6th Howitzer Brigade.
Miss F. Isabel McEwen, R.N., daughter of Mr. W. P. McEwen, town, who returned to New York last week to resume her professional work, was immediately recalled by telegram and asked to join the Queen’s University unit of 150 doctors and nurses for service at the stationary hospital at Cairo, Egypt and is being outfitted at Kingston this week. The paper states that there were ten applicants for every position that could be given in this unit. They will sail for overseas next week.
Dr. Ross Ferguson of Smith’s Falls has been given a much coveted place in the Canadian Army Medical Corps attached to Queen’s Stationary Hospital at Cairo, Egypt. He has been given the honorary rank of Captain and expects to sail in about a week’s time.
Mr. C. J. Foy received the following letter this week from Jack Hartney, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jas Hartney of town and who is a graduate printer of the Courier office. He is now at Shorncliffe Camp, England. Dear Sir: Just a line to let you know I am still existing. It will not be long before I go to the front and as you know the war will be over then. The boys here say “if a name is not on a bullet it will not come in your direction”. I expect to go to Serbia about New Year’s . Gunner Jack Hartney. (photo accompanied this piece.)
Lt. Col. Irving has been appointed camp commandant of the Petawawa Camp. He was formerly commanding officer of the 42nd Regiment for several years.
Mrs. Jas. Thornton of Perth received a letter from her son James Thornton who is with the 38th Battalion at Prospect, Bermuda. He says all from Perth are well including himself, Denzill Mitchell, J. Stokes and W. Pauline. Each got a box from the Daughters of the Empire at Christmas. In his letter he encloses a clipping from a newspaper which states in plain terms that the British Empire must sit up and see things in their true light for the present at least and give up that fatal habit of believing the best because we wish it so. Let the censor pass the word on to the British people and not curtail happenings no matter how adverse they may be to the cause of the Allies. The item concludes with this: “we have laughed at the Germans who have been beguiled of the war for which many of them had no wish by lying promises and statements but we are no less objects of mirth and of commiseration if we do not now make up our minds to face the situation bravely. There is no need to be fearful – we shall not be conquered but we must realize that there is little possibility of peach which will give universal content to the Allies and that our chief satisfaction in looking back on this war will be to know that the men of England, the Scotsmen, the Irishmen from every quarter of the earth that come are still equal – man to man—nay, the conquerors of all. This we can claim and we ask no nobler birth right, this is ours. Even if by force and of arms, Germany overruns half the world tomorrow, but in the meantime let us call things by their right names and let us demand that, win or lose, the enemy knows we know.”
William Fletcher, who was formerly an employee in the carpet factory in town and who is at present with the 80th Battalion, Belleville, has received word that his youngest brother was killed in action. His brother has always been a resident of Scotland.
Private Everett Stone of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, St. Johns, Quebec, is in town over the weekend.
Following is a letter or diary of Archie McDiarmid’s experiences in France, which records the success of some Canadians in rushing a trench and taking a number of prisoners and in which Archie McDiarmid was engaged as a stretcher bearer with the Canadian Army Service Corps in France. He is a son of Rev. H. J. McDiarmid of town. The diary is written in a brief manner but to the point.
Bailleul (?), France, December 5, 1915
I was out with a volunteer bunch a couple of weeks ago. A small party called to get out some information authorities required so about 1:30 a.m. in a pouring rain we crawled across “no man’s land” to the tune of shells, our artillery covering us, machine guns, French mortars, rapid fire from our trenches, etc. Up went flashlight after flashlight then it was so dark we had to feel for the boot or coat of the pall ahead. You could cut that darkness with a knife. In about half an hour we had made the grade and up and over the parapet. Our bombers and bayonet men went first. Old Phil Freeland was on the other side of the parapet when he heard the Captain say to the men “Men, I want four stretcher bearers on this job, two to go to the German trenches with an attacking party and two to wait in reserve half way.” “Well” I said “I go as one of the two in the advance party”. The Captain asked me if I knew any other likely to volunteer and I said I knew two for sure and was going form them when I bumped into old Phil, an old trapper and Toronto boy and he said “did I hear you volunteer to go with an advance party?” “Yes”; he looked at me and gave me his arm “put it here old man, I am with you”. So we went back and told Captain. It was nearly all #2 Company and 47 fellows who went. So into the trenches Phil and I assembled (unarmed as usual with the stretcher bearer medical corps) with our medical bags, trusting principally for defense in God’s strong arm. Biff! Bang! -- 30 Germans killed—bombed and shot. Only one of our men killed. -- three feet to the left. I did not know he died until afterwards but I got the German who spring it, wounded and prisoner. We took 12 prisoners. The whistle signal blew for us to get back to our lines. We were given 20 minutes. You should have heard the joshing, swearing and laughing. Parade back! Everyone walking straight up not getting down for a blooming flare light. Hustling the prisoners along about 15 yards from the German trenches to our reserve party and to our own front lines. While leaning against a parapet for a second I saw a German jump beside me over the parapet when the place went up he was too scared or canny, anyhow I backed the wrong way. I grabbed him by the right arm, swung him off his balance and slammed him a couple between the shoulders and then skidded him down over the slippery parapet to old Phil. He took next, etc. I just turned to crawl over when bang!, then four heads up through the roof of a tunnel and two heads. “me comrade” I yelled, which means “come out, you”, one jumped out by the fellow on my right with a bayonet chasing him, side stepping me (thinking no doubt I had a gun) and jumped after the other. This happened near Messenee. I grabbed him and hollered “Hi there where are you going”, just caught him as one hand was on the parapet where old Phil met him like a long lost brother, slammed him a few for luck and on to a guide. Well, Phil and I got tangled up in their barbed wire and though quite a few bits of my pants are yet there, across we came. The bullets were sure zipping around by then but we all got back safely except one chap who got hit in the arm by an explosion. He was sent to England to a hospital. How we all got out so lucky, none of us know. All I know is I thank god and I think so do all the others. They should. About our leaving the trenches. The Germans discovered our entrance and we could hear them come howling down, then bombers and their artillery and machine guns opened fire but we were out and our artillery was shelling their fronts to bits so that for once old Fritz woke up too late. Then we got over land to our parapets and collected at a point where official roll call was held after action. They thought if we got out of the trenches we would have to stay in “no man’s land” till dawn as it would be safer than our front lines. However, we all but one made camp with them pipping at us. We just reached under cover when shortly their artillery raised but did not do much damage. So a couple of officers and all the bombers are recommended for valor and well do they deserve it; the scouts and all who were in the German trenches are to get five days leave. General Alderson rounded up the whole battalion. He addressed us all out in front and said “you got lucky this time. Next time you will get cleaned.” Then he shook hands with all of us. I spit on my hands and wiped them on my pants to get some mud off first. Since then we have been having 14 days rest near Balleul. Colin rode up one day to see me but I was out. Have just heard we will be in the trenches Christmas week so any German turkeys will have short shrift if they wander in range. Archie
Photo of Capt. S. H. Powell with the description—Acting Adjutant of the 130th Battalion, Captain Powell was overseas with the 39th Battalion of Belleville but owing to illness returned to Canada in charge of a number of invalided men. Captain Powell and Lt. Clark of the Renfrew Company are the only officers attached to the 130th so far who have been overseas.
Three Almonte men Jesse Dickerson, John Grave and Fred Miller who were turned down because of varicose veins underwent operations and have now been accepted.
Why do you wait boys, why do you wait?
Your pals they are counting on you
God only knows what would be your fate
If they took the same stand as you.
They are fighting for freedom, for country and king
Their honor, their loved ones so dear
How long will you wait them victory to bring
Is there such as Canadian fear?
Do not be a slacker, a walk the street kind
And sneer as the soldiers pass by
But join in the ranks, just make up your mind
I’ll be with you, boys, till I die.
Fred and Laurie Thompson, sons of Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson, of town, who have been attending the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in Toronto, have joined the 130th Dental Corps.
Philip J. McParlan, who served three years with the #6 Company of Royal Scots, Montreal, and spent three seasons with #3 Company, 42nd Regiment, as sergeant, has enlisted with the headquarters staff of the 130th.
Miss Annie McCann, daughter of Mr. John McCann of town, sailed last Tuesday for France with a party of nurses who are detailed for nursing in the hospitals in France.
Mr. and Mrs. David Gillies and Mrs. Captain Caldwell left Carleton Place for Toronto a few days ago the latter intending to join her husband in England shortly. Major A.B. Gillies also expects to leave shortly for overseas.
Miss Isabel McEwen, R.N., was up from Kingston last Friday afternoon on a farewell visit to her parents Mr. and Mrs. W. P. McEwen, returning at noon on Saturday for Kingston. “A” Company of the 130th Battalion marched to the station in her honor at the time of her departure. She is with the Queen’s University Company unit of 150 doctors and nurses for service at the Stationary Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, and they expect to sail next week.
A short letter has been received from Captain A. A. Campbell, an old Perth boy and recently secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in Ottawa. Captain Campbell is attached to the 44th Battalion as C.E.F. as Y.M.C.A. representative and accompanied the men across the ocean to Bramshott Camp in England where they are awaiting orders to cross to France. Here he is to continue the class of work that has stirred up deep gratitude for all the Y.M.C.A. workers: “Our boat was so crowded that there was not a spot at first that I could get to place my wares at the disposal of the men much less a place for them to write or read except the crowded deck or their cabins. After a while I secured a bathroom, got a table placed on the tub and displayed my wares. The disappeared like snow before a Chinook wind. There wee a lot of Y.M.C.A. letters that went off that boat and I disposed of all my ‘Lord Roberts Prayer’. In the evening I organized concerts—one by some ‘tars’ on the boat, another given by officers with string instruments. A sports committee was organized with myself as chairman and so many entries were received that they could not be completed in the afternoon allotted. On Christmas three bumper concerts were put on.” At camp, he started a rec room and is working on equipment. Captain Campbell is one of 27 Y.M.C.A. representatives who are devoting their full energies for the welfare of the Canadian soldiers.
Tom Barrett of the Lanark branch of the Bank of Ottawa has enlisted with the headquarters company of the 130th.
Allen Muckleston, eldest son of Canon Muckleston, Ottawa, formerly of St. James Church, Perth, is going into training at Ottawa for overseas service.
G. Arthur Dack (Dock?), former merchant at Braeside, has been appointed Provost Sergeant of the 130th Battalion and is now in Perth receiving instructions. He will have charge over all military police of the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew.
In a letter from Captain Hooper, who is a prisoner of war in Germany, he holds out no hope that any of the boys who were in the house with him at Langemarck are still alive. He says that some of his brother officers who advised him not to go to this house where he was afterwards captured have since been missing so that he chose the safest place after all although at the time it was deemed certain death.
We are very sorry to have to take up this valuable space just to explain to some of the gossipy people of Perth and vicinity that I am not a German or of German origin. My parental grandfather was British born, a captain in the British army. He came to Canada in the ‘30’s and was stationed at old Fort Niagara. My father was William Bush, who served with a Walkerton regiment in the Fenian raid. My maternal grandfather was William Atcheson of Elgin, Ontario and lived in Perth 50 years ago. I have two brothers one in London, Ontario and another in British Columbia. If there are any more particulars that would be of interest to those who are not satisfied with this explanation they may call and see me personally. R.C. Bush, Jeweler and Optician
Private Fred Lappin of the Princess Patricia’s, paid a farewell visit to his home in town over the weekend previous to sailing this week for overseas.
The following letter was received by Harold Allan of Allan’s Mills from Jimmie Smith, formerly of Perth and who is with the 21st Battalion on active service in France: Dear Harold: Received your very welcome letter and am glad to hear from you. As usual we are doing our little bit for king and country and hope to continue to do so. We have had a taste of German gas and what it is like and I can assure you it is anything but pleasant. We were three miles from where the attack was made and judging from the severity of it at that distance it must be terrible to be close to it. It is very severe on the eyes, nose and throat. It made me shed scalding tears. It still continues to rain 7 days a week and the mud in most places is very deep. I was carrying a box of ammunition up the trench the other night and I stepped into a mud hold and nearly went out of sight. However, as it was I had quite a time getting out only there was another fellow with me or I would have been there yet. I asked a fellow the other day if it ever quite raining here. He said he did not know he had only been here six months. The shells continue to fly over our heads; some days they are very quiet and other times they get very nasty but they always get back more than they send. I can assure you we have a plentiful supply of artillery and we know how to handle it. I consider a bunch of us had a very narrow escape the other day. About a 60 pound explosive shell dropped right at the end of our hut but fortunately for us it did not explode. If it had, well I guess it would have been ugly. They sent several more over but the closest they got was to send a sprinkle of shrapnel on to the roof of the hut. Well, I will soon be in the trenches four months and I can assure you it is a very hard thing on the health and nerves. It takes a healthy chap to stand the strain. I have only had one days sickness since we came over which I consider very good. Fritzy was very talkative on New Year’s Eve he kept shouting over to us; he celebrated by sending up a few extra star shells and we by sending over some rapid fire to let him know we were still going strong. Our trenches are only 40-50 yards from theirs. Jim McFauld is still in the hospital. I do not know what his trouble is. Jimmie was never built to stand this life. I remain your old friend. Jimmie
Captain Thomas Caldwell of the 21st Battalion in France has been advanced tot the rank of Acting Major which places him practically second in command. He has been at the front continually since last summer.
Fred Dickinson has been made Captain and Paymaster of the 164th Battalion at Hamilton and his brother Thomas Dickinson has enlisted with the 169th at Toronto. Both are grandsons of Thomas Hicks, North Street, Perth.
Dr. Currie at Beaverton wishes to correct the statement appearing in the other local paper last week which stated that he had received a message to the effect that his son George Currie was wounded. He has not as yet received any report to this effect.
Private James McDougall whose home is in Almonte enlisted in August of 1914 in the 1st Contingent, trained at Valcartier, and completed training at Salisbury Plains, England. In writing to a friend in Lanark he gives his experiences of the war in France and Belgium. He was gassed at the Battle of Langemarck and is now a batman (?) to Captain McLennan of Ottawa now at Folkstone, England working in the Canadian Military Office in that town. He gives quite an interesting account of the fight that took place in and near the farmhouse in which Perth men were engaged. “Previous to the fight in the neighborhood of the farmhouse we did some trench fighting for about two months at Boil Grenier” says Pte. McDougall. “Then we had an inspection by General Smith Darrion and he said ‘you Canadians are kicking about not being enough in the fight, well, I will send you to where you will get all the fighting you want’. So after changing billets about a dozen times, we landed at Vismertinge, Belgium and one night (22nd April) we saw the French troops and civilians come running down the road in thousands and some carrying babies and old men and women who could not walk. Oh! The sights were awful and they were yelling to us in Belgium: ‘Come on the Germans are coming’. We all ran into our billets and got our rifles and equipment on and waited but no Germans came so at 9:00 we were called to go out to the trenches across the Y--- Canal over St. Julien about five miles from our billets. Well, believe me, we were all pretty nervous for the sounds of the guns were awful, the search lights light up the whole sky which looked as though the world was on fire. After groping around all night digging ourselves in with entrenching tools and getting up and running a little further, etc., we found ourselves dug in behind a hedge. At daylight, 23rd April, this did not satisfy the officer in charge so we got up and ran towards a bush further on and there we dug ourselves in again losing six or seven men wounded and killed. Capt. McLennan from Ottawa who I am batman (?0 to now was in charge of our platoon then and it was there that he got wounded in the arm so Capt. Hooper from Carleton Place who was second in command of the company came up and took charge of our platoon. He discovered an old house between our firing line and the Germans and asked 8 of us (me for one) to follow him into the house which we did, Billy Wright from Perth, formerly of Hotel Cecil got hit in the arm before we got there. Capt. Hooper gave them all a position to take except me. He sent me back to the first dressing station with a message for the Colonel a distance of about a mile over the open ground except for a hedge here and there. Well, after many close shaves I got there and back again and the Captain brought the rest of the platoon about 50 in all into the house. George Cameron from Perth got killed just before going into the house. I might mention that there was a German officer with 10 wounds on him, a German private shot who had an Iron Cross tied around his neck; but he did not look very brave when we had him. I wonder if he is living yet or pushing up daisies. Of course, we put quite a few in their happy hunting ground that day for we had a fine overview of them. The next day 24th April we were shooting at them all morning the best of it was that we could see them but they could not see us. At 2:30 p.m. we could see that they were getting ready for an attack but before they came on we got an order from headquarters saying that the right of our line had retired and for us to retire 1,000 yards so as to straighten the line. We started and so did the Germans and when I got back to the trenches (1,000 yards back) there were only 7 of us out of 54. You see the poor fellows who were wounded so they could not run must have been killed outright by the Germans or taken prisoners for the German advanced over all the ground over which we retired. There were thousands of casualties in about an hour; so you will have some idea of what it was like.”
Mr. H. D. McMaster, son of Mr. and Mrs. John McMaster of town has enlisted with the 51st Battery Field Artillery at Ottawa.
A photo of Private John Richardson is shown. The caption says he is with the “48th Highlanders and is the son of Mrs. William Richardson of Perth, now on active service in Belgium.”
Horace Kerr, son of our town clerk is home from New York City on a visit looking quite a man after his departure from town when a youth a year ago. Homer is anxious to enlist in a Canadian contingent as a motorman. Homer Kerr and Alex Walker when boys were artists in the line of throwing batons high in the air and catching them as they came down during band parade, the two boys leading the march.
Captain John Hope, 59th Battalion, Brockville, is spending a few days at his home in town.
W.P. McEwen received a cablegram on Wednesday at 2:00 from Shornecliffe which announced the safe arrival of the ship there containing the Queen’s University unit bound for Queen’s Hospital at Cairo, Egypt. Miss Isabel McEwen is with this unit along with others from this vicinity.
Rev. and Mrs. Scott have received a letter from their son Clyde Scott. He is still in the German hospital and although his wounds have healed and he was able to be about he was at the time of writing confined to his bed with an attack of erysipelas. It will soon be a year since the memorable fight in which he was wounded.
James Graham has been engaged by the Canadian government as a draftsman. Mr. Graham is a cousin of Mrs. Samuel Thorneburg of town and of late years has been on the continent. Previous to the siege of Antwerp he had a studio there being an artist by profession. He spent considerable time in Perth several years ago.
Mr. M. B. Kennedy received a letter from Pte. Edward J. Fraser this week. He is still in France with the old 42nd doing his bit. He writes thanking all who remembered him at Christmas. He says things are about as usual on the firing line although it is pretty cold. He also says that Sgt. Will Wright was forced to go into the hospital having a severe attack of rheumatism and that he was trying to stay with the boys to the last but finally had to leave off duty. Ed is glad to hear that the former quartermaster of the old 42nd is commanding the new 130th Battalion.
Alphonsus Thompson, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Thompson of Narrow Locks and who has been a compositor at the Courier office for over three years has answered the call and has enlisted for overseas duty and last Tuesday joined the 51st Battalion Canadian Field Artillery at Ottawa which will train in Kingston. “Phonse” will be missed in our office.
Pte. W. C. Smart reached Pembroke last week, the first of the Pembroke boys of the 21st Battery to return home from the war. He was wounded about four months ago and also suffered greatly from shock. He was tendered a public reception in the town hall on Friday night. He is ready to go back to the front as soon as his health will permit.
A letter was received this week from Gordon Bell, formerly of this town who is “somewhere in France” with a signaling corps. While not directly on the firing line he expects to be there soon. The members of his corps spent from 8 to 14 months in training and Gordon was very successful in this branch of service being able to pass his exams inside of four months. The weather is quite cold at times where he is but he says they all have sheepskin coats which are very warm and are duly appreciated by the boys.
Three former Watson’s Corners boys, Adam Craig, Charles Craig and Gordon Cumming have enlisted with the 194th Highlanders at Edmonton.
Pte Gerald Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown of town sailed for overseas duty with the 73rd Highlanders this week. Corp. Fred Lappin also left with a detachment of Princess Patricias for overseas.
Thomas Scott, son of Judge Scott of town; Harold Stone, son of Charles Stone of town; and Gordon Barrie, son of Alexander Barrie of town have all joined the 51st Battalion Field Artillery at Ottawa. Terrence McAffrey, formerly of the Scotch Line and who played a great game at first base in days gone by for the town senior ball team has also enlisted with the 51st which was up to full strength on Saturday last. This battalion went to Kingston Monday morning but will likely be stationed at Petawawa later for training. Frank O’Neil, son of Mr. and Mrs. O’Neil of town has joined a branch of the artillery at Kingston.
Mr. W. A. Kenyon, B.A., son of Mr. Isaac Kenyon of Burgess and a student of McMaster University, Toronto, has joined the Divisional Signallers Co. in Toronto along with 21 more students from the university. Mr. C.V. Farmer, son of Professor Farmer, Toronto, and nephew of Messrs. G. B. Farmer and C.A. Farmer of town, is also among this number of McMaster students to join this branch of military service. They will train at Ottawa.
Mr. R. Goff, Smith’s Falls, has received a letter from Pte. G. F. Metcalfe who is with the 21st Battalion C.E.F. now in Belgium. Metcalfe reports that all the boys from Smith’s Falls wish to say that they are in good health and despite the fact that they have been in the trenches for five months have so far escaped harm although some have had narrow escapes.
From information at hand it is likely that the whole Third Divisional will be divided between Barriefield and Petawawa camps this summer. The artillery will likely all to go the Petawawa camp where there are artillery ranges. There are now about 14,000 troops in this division which will be increased by about 2,000 by the time the camps open. Valcartier as a central camp was talked of during the winter but it is probably that there will be no big camp such as the Canadians saw when the war started.
Mrs. Richard Dugan, Brockville, has received the helmet work by her son Pte. Robert Dugan when he was killed while serving in France with the 21st Battalion.
Pte. Grant Mitchell left on Tuesday to join a detachment of the 84th Field Ambulance at Montreal from Calgary and will likely go overseas this week.
Quartermaster Sgt. Harrison (?) Warren of Calgary, who is on his way overseas with the 8th Field Ambulance visited with his brother H.B. Warren, town, over the weekend.
W. J. Baird, son of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Baird of Perth, has enlisted in Toronto this week with the Mechanical Transport Column, 4th Division for service overseas.
Pte. William Fietcher, 8th Battalion Band, at Belleville, spent several days in town.
Pte. Donald McMaster of the 51st Battery, Kingston, spent the week with his parents Mr. and Mrs. John McMaster.
Pte. Sydney Davidson of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, St. John, P.Q., has returned after spending a week at his home in town.
Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Cameron received a cablegram from their son Clarence Cameron stating that he had arrived safely in England on Monday and his unit, the Medical Corps of Calgary, was proceeding to Bramshott Camp. Grant Mitchell is also with this Medical Corps.
A pleasant event took place in the town hall of Westport on Wednesday evening 5th April when Sgt. Major Charbonneau, son of Mr. A. Charbonneau of that place who recently was invalided home from the front, was made the recipient of an address and purse of $40 tendered him by the citizens of Westport as a token of their esteem and friendship. Mr. H. W. Lockwood occupied the chair; Mr. W. C. Fredenburg read the address and the presentation was made by the Reeve C. J. Spangle. Sgt. Major Charbonneau made a suitable reply and gave an excellent and interesting description of the conditions at the front.
Sir Max Aitken, Canadian official eye witness at the front records the good work performed by members of the 21st Ottawa in Kingston Battalion during the week of the 28th March to 4th April. Lt. William Fisher Brownlee, son of Mr. William Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners took part in an important action. Major Tom Caldwell and many other local men are in the 21st Battalion which has been doing some good work at different times. Working parties of the 2nd Canadian Division of which the 21st is la part are credited with doing fine work in connecting up their left with the right in the St. Eloi craters and on the original German front line trenches in the face of desperate German efforts to seize further mine craters after getting control of them. On 1st April, the British were severely shelled and assistance being required from the Canadians a squad of bombers from the 21st Battalion and the 18th were sent out under Lt. W. F. Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners formerly the 42nd Regiment Perth and Lt. G. E. Speer. In a notable exploit they bombarded the enemy out of their trenches in front of the crater and established the new position and held it until daylight when fresh British troops relieved them. The Canadians out threw the German bombers and Ptes. D. Brooklin, formerly of the 43rd Regiment, Ottawa, R.C. Smith of Listowel, Ontario, J. Nicholson, Seabright, Ontario and K. L. Strong are specially mentioned for gallantry. The positions captured by our bombers are valuable as a base of operations against the Germans holding the crater. Starting from this line on the following night the British troops assaulted and captured the crater. Lt. Fisher Brownlee who led the 21st on the bombing exploit is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners where he was born in 1883. He attended the Perth Collegiate Institute and later attended Queen’s University, Kingston, where he received a B.A. He spent l6 years studying in England and returned to Canada in 1911. In 1912 he was successful in an examination in Ottawa for Provincial Land Surveyor and followed this calling in Manitoba and British Columbia from 1912 to 1914. Then he came east and joined the 42nd and afterwards took an officer’s course and became attached to the 21st Battalion in Kingston as a lieutenant. The 21st was in training there until May of 1915 when the battalion went over and was in training at Shornecliffe England until September of 1915. A part of the 21st went on active service in Belgium and Lt. Brownlee was selected among others as an officer in this detachment. He has been on active service since that time.
Officers pay per day. Out of this pay the officers must pay for their own uniform and meet other expenses.
Lt. Colonel $6.25
Adjutant (in addition to pay of rank) $4.50
Warrant Officer $2.30
Quartermaster Sgt. $2.00
Color or Staff Sergeant $1.80
Bugle Drummer $1.10
Sapper Batmen, Cooks, $1.10
Privates, Gunners, Drivers $1.10
Three sons of Dr. J. S. McCallum of Smith’s Falls are at the front serving their country in various capacities. The Record prints their portraits. The young men are nephews of Mrs. G. B. Farmer of this town.
Allan Code son of Mr. T.A. Code of town has entered the ranks of the Canadian Grenadier Guards as a private and left this week to join the regiment at St. John’s Quebec. He held the rank of lieutenant previous to joining the Guards, having qualified at the Provisional School of Infantry, Kingston.
Ontario’s rural school children have accumulated the handsome sum of $1,766 to be used to purchase a motor ambulance for the Red Cross Society to send overseas. C.F. Bailey, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture, announced that the money had been accumulated. The money was raised by means of small potato patches which the children of the country schools tended as the result of appeals for money to be used for Red Cross purposes.
Lance Corporal E. J. Doughton, Smith’s Falls, attached to the 38th Battery at Bermuda, arrived home last week. He has been transferred to the 130th Battery and says all the local boys with the 38th in Bermuda are enjoying the beautiful climate and doing well.
Hugh R. Mucklestone, Assistant Chief Engineer of the Natural Resources Department, C.P.R., Calgary, has accepted a commission in the 4th Canadian Pioneers now forming at Ottawa and has reported there for duty. The commanding officer of the battalion, Lt. Col. Weatherbee, R.C.E. is, with Mr. Mucklestone, a graduate of the Royal Military College. Mr. Mucklestone is the son of Canon Mucklestone, formerly of Perth.
Major J. F. Templeton, Victoria, B.C., son of Mr. Robert Templeton of Belleville, ahs been wounded at the battle front, France. Major Templeton is a graduate of the Royal Military College and was Senior Major of his battalion, the 48th of British Columbia. He left for overseas last July and had been at the front only three weeks. He was by profession a civil engineer and surveyor. He is a native of Perth and the husband of Mary Meighen, also of this town.
Murray Walker, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Walker of this town, joined the 130th Battalion this week as bandsman in the 130th Brass Band. Alvin Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Wilson, who joined the bugle band recently ahs been transferred to the brass band.
In addition to the bombing exploit of Lt. Fisher Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners took part in with others in the 21st Batt. At St. Elio the week of 28th March to 4th April, he was again prominently mentioned in Monday’s official account of the fighting about the salient of St. Elio when a party of the 21st Batt. Attacked and won part of a German trench while the 18th, 19th, and 20th also did great work. The ground about St. Elio is sodden with water and the repairing of the trenches is difficult. With this damp earth plowed into a veritable porridge and dented with countless pits and holes with steamy vapors veiling the landscape and dotting from view all familiar landmarks, movements of the 18th, 19th and 21st Batt. For a night attack on the German lines were decidedly hazardous. On the right, bombers under Capt. A.P. Miller and Lt. W. F. Brownlee of the 21st attacked a crater held by the enemy. Lt. G.S. Bowerback followed them in charge of a working party. Lt. Brownlee and Scout Belyea went on ahead and having located the enemy led the bombing squads up to the position. Bombs were thrown at close range but the Germans were found in considerable numbers and the decision was taken to return for reinforcements. Captain Miller having been wounded Lt. Brownlee was placed in charge of the second party but the advance was delayed owing to the difficulty of movements over the rough ground. As the objective had not been reached by day break operations were discontinued and the party retired. After the return of the forces, Lts. Brownlee and Bowerback searched for and brought in the wounded men under a violent artillery firing. On the following night the attack was renewed and was more successful, parties of the 21st under Lts. Brownlee, Marks and Davidson bombing their way o the German trench and although severely shelled by enemy guns and trench mortars, blocked the trench at both ends and established bombing posts. The next night the enemy made two attempts to drive the men of the 21st from the ground captured but each time they approached they were detected by the sentries and they were driven back by the 21st bombers.
Pte. Cecil Allan of Lombardy was in town Thursday, arrived home from the war on Monday evening last. He is carrying his left arm in a sling. He is the son of James Allan and early last year enlisted at Smith’s Falls, being transferred from there to Kingston. In May, he went overseas and in September he went to the front. On the 8th November he was wounded at Cemis (?) near Ypres and has been in hospitals and convalescent homes in England since. When he was wounded he was on duty at a listening post, a point near the enemy trenches from which signals are sent back to the firing line. A German shell burst directly over his head and pieces of it struck him in the left arm inflicting a serious wound. He had to come back to the trenches in the rear as best he could and went to the field hospital and was afterwards transferred to a hospital in England. Pte. Allan says he was given the best of care and attention in the hospitals. Pte. Allan was with the 21st Battalion, his company commander was Capt. T.R. Caldwell, son of T.B. Caldwell of Lanark and he says Capt. Caldwell was also wounded slightly but is now back with his regiment.
The list of casualties from the front contains the name of Captain William G. Caldwell of Lanark who is reported wounded but who has happily since returned to duty. The Captain is the son of Mrs. W. C. Caldwell of Lanark and son-in-law of David Gillies, Carleton Place.
Allan McMartin left on Tuesday for Ottawa where he will join a branch of the Canadian Artillery likely the 52nd Battery. He has been granted a leave of absence from the Inland Revenue Department during the war.
Canon Bliss of Smith’s Falls, received word that his son Hamilton Bliss, a sergeant in the 21st Battalion has been admitted ill to the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Clevedon—he has been in Belgium for the past six months.
Perth Collegiate Institute boys with the 130th Battalion (includes photos of these men);
Pte. Fred Adams, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Adams, town, is in the headquarters offices.
Pte. Alvin Wilson, son of Dr. and Mrs. S.C. Wilson, town, with the brass band.
Pte Arthur Richmond, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Richmond of Drummond, Quartermaster.
Pte. Clyde Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Wilson, town, is in the headquarters offices.
Pte. Murray Walker, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Walker, town, with the brass band.
Pte. John Scott, son Mr. and Mrs. James Scott of McDonald’s Corners, with the #1 Station.
Dalton and John Affleck, formerly of Perth, have enlisted at Toronto.
John Russell, had a short letter from Jack Hartney on Tuesday, he is “somewhere in France” and is feeling fine but has not seen any of the Perth boys.
Capt. The Reverend H.F. D. Woodcock of Oakville, Ontario, formerly of Westport and son of Rev. F. D. Woodcock, rector of Trinity Church, is chaplain of the 164th Halton and Dufferin Battalion, C.E.F.
Sgt. L. H. Appleby, son of Mrs. T. E. Appleby of Clarendon and nephew of Mr. C. H. Lyon of town, who has been in Cairo, Egypt with Queen’s Hospital staff, is now in France with a part of the Queen’s staff stationed at Treport.
W. J. Blair of Fallbrook, a graduate of Queen’s
University has been appointed to the Army Medical Corps for overseas service and
will go to the front in the near future.
George Dittrick who has been in the 130th NCO class, has obtained a transfer to the 4th Division Army Service Corps in Toronto and left for overseas this week.
J.E. Labron, Indian Head, Saskatchewan, a former resident of Perth, has joined the Saskatoon Hospital Unit and holds the rank of Sergeant. En route to Halifax the unit remained a few hours in North Bay, a time he spent with his sister Alice. Mrs. E. L. Fraser of Toronto, also a sister, met him there. The unit expects to go overseas at once.
Wesley Ball has joined the Canadian Engineers Corps at Ottawa. The Engineers will likely go into training at Camp Borden (?).
John McCann, town, received a letter Saturday from his daughter Anna McCann, who is a nurse “somewhere in France”. The letter was written on the 27th April. Miss McCann says: “We are having delightful weather now and lots of excitement. Our first real experience took place two nights ago. I shall be able to tell you all about it when I get home. It has been rather quiet this week but we expect to be busy in a few days. We are losing 500 patients today so of course that means filling up again. The Australians celebrated on Monday the anniversary of the Battle of Anzac when they sent thousands of their men to the Dardanelles. The 60 lone survivors were received by the Colonel. I have had a great many Canadians in my ward during the past few weeks. Some belong to the 21st Battalion. Tom Caldwell is their major now. I believe Jack Inderwick was with them but has joined another battalion since he received his promotion. Easter Sunday was quiet here a concert was given out on the Greens by the Guards band. The convalescent patients in their blue uniforms, the soldiers and officers in their khaki, the Australians in their wide brimmed hats, and the Canadians, English, Scotch and Welsh some in their kilts and the sisters in the 8 hospitals in greys, greens, blues, browns, with white veils. Gladys Code and another nurse from Ottawa were down to see me last night. Gladys met Miss Shaw over at Boulogne a few days ago.”
Gordon Scott, the youngest son of Rev. A.H. Scott, has enlisted with the University Corps of Engineers headquarters at Toronto. This is the third son of Mr. Scott who has joined the ranks of Canadian soldiers.
How Sergeant W. C. Leggatt, a dental student from Newboro attached to a Canadian hospital in the Mediterranean, assisted in saving a munitions ship at Alexandria, in Egypt, which had been set on fire through the explosion of a bomb, is described in a letter from the soldier himself: “I suppose you heard of the big fire in Alexandria. A boat was loading with petrol and motor cars. I happened to be on the same dock in command of a picket. I was sitting on a bale of stuff when I saw a burst of flames at one end of the ship. I beat it on board but before I got there, there was a fire at the other end. It was found afterwards that a fuse was set but the ship had not sailed as soon as expected. There was hardly anyone around , the crew being ashore, so I got a couple of lines of hose on it until the firemen came. I was standing on the dock with my coat off and soaking wet when a staff officer came along. He asked me my name and unit and said ‘sergeant you have done splendid work. Are you of full rank?’ When I told him I was, he said ‘if you weren’t I was going to see you were’. I nearly collapsed I did not think I had done anything out of the ordinary. I saw the ship afire and did not want to see it burn up. The firemen got it out the next day about 11:00 a.m. I can get a commission anytime I want in an English unit but I do not care to leave the Canadians.”
Posted: 17 February, 2004