Lanark County in World War I

Perth Courier - World War I.

supplied by Christine M. Spencer of Northwestern University, Evanston, Il., USA.

Lanark County in World War I

Document #7



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Perth Courier

Perth Courier, November 3, 1916

William Ewert of Smith’s Falls received word that his nephew was killed in action.  J. D. Ewert of Drummond is an uncle of the deceased.

The Pembroke Observer says that on speaking to T. A. Tofield , Manager of Merchant’s Bank of Renfrew, the Observer was informed that a cablegram had been received in Renfrew that day stating that the 130th Battalion was leaving at once for France.  It is understood that they are to go over as reinforcements for the 12th Battalion and if ordered to France already has surely established a record in getting from England to France.  However, this was not authentic.

Mrs. Elizabeth McCann of town received a letter this week from her son Sgt. Philip McParlan, who is with the 130th or 12th Battalion at Sandling Camp in England.  At the time of writing he was in Belfast, Ireland being on leave.  All the boys of the 12th have been getting six days leave and many are spending it in London.  Philip in his letter says he went to London and saw the sights including London Bridge.  From London he went to Hollyhead taking the boat there for Ireland and arrived at Kingston.  From Kingston he went by train to Dublin and saw the many sights there including Phoenix Park and Zoological Gardens.  From Dublin he went to Belfast.  He describes the weather as being very nice in the old country.

Major H. E. Pense, 21st Canadian Battalion was wounded on the 15th September in the fighting near Courcelette at the Somme, and arrived in Kingston on Monday afternoon on sick leave.  Major Pense referred briefly to the fighting of the 2nd Division and Canadians generally in the British operations at the Somme in September.  With the Toronto and London Battalions of the 4th Brigade the 21st Battalion attacked on the morning of 15th September and gained its objective taking many prisoners.  During the attack and the holding of the position the 21st lost many of its best officers and other ranks, very materially reducing the comparatively small percentage of the original battalion which left Kingston for overseas in May of 1915.  Major W. L. Shepherd and Lts. W. F. Brownlee, F. McGee and H. Morton Taylor of the original battalion were killed.  Major Shepherd and Lt. “Bert” Allen of Belleville fell during the early moments of the attack.  Lt. A.G. Fraser of Ottawa one of the ablest officers who joined the 21st in the field was also among the killed.  Major Pense spoke particularly of Lt. Fisher Brownlee son of Mr. William Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners and Major Shepherd both of whom he declared should have earned a decoration on more than one occasion

Perth Courier, November 8, 1916

Sub. Lt. Murray Gilbraith, son of Mr. R.A. Gilbraith of Carleton Place is doing excellent work in the Royal Navy Aerial Service.  His first achievement was made by looping the loop and striking his enemy in a vital spot and sending him to earth.  His second encounter was with an enemy aeroplane at an altitude of 11,000 feet over two banks of clouds when he had a very close call, the site of his gun being struck by a bullet from the enemy before he got a shot off, but luckily when he did it struck the Teuton’s tank and exploded, the machine falling into the sea.  The encounter was witnessed by a French aeronaut who congratulated the Carleton Place boy on his success.  He was rewarded by the much coveted Croix de Guerre.


1.         Pte. L. F. Mouland—Mrs. Mouland of Portland received word this week officially that Pte. Leslie F. Mouland of the infantry was reported missing on the 8th October.

2.         Pte. David McLaren—Pte David McLaren, son of Mr. D. B. McLaren of Carleton Place is suffering from a gunshot wound in the head and is in a hospital at Rouen.  He enlisted with Brigadier General Meighen’s Canadian Grenadier Guards a year ago and went overseas in May.  He took up bomb throwing and was at the front for two months.

3.         Capt. Gordon Manning went overseas with the 48th Highlanders of Toronto and has been with the 5th Brigade on the Somme front and was reported wounded in action recently.  J.A. Blackburn, Perth, is a nephew of Capt. Manning.  Sgt. Edward Howe, cousin of J.A. Blackburn, who went overseas with a Calgary unit, has also been reported missing.

Perth Courier, November 10, 1916

Signaler Gordon Bell, formerly of town, has been wounded again.  This is the second time he has appeared on the casualty list but luckily his injuries both times have not been serious and he may be back on the firing line again soon.

A letter from Dalton Blair to relatives here stated that he is on the firing line and has apparently gone there with a draft from the 13th Battalion.  He went overseas with the 130th.

Pte. P. Maurice of the 216th Bantam Battalion is in town on the lookout for men to enlist in that unique and popular battalion.  Any man who has not been able to join other units for lack of height will find his place in the 216th.

The Perth-Upon-Tay Chapter of the I.O.D.E. have had some very busy days since the soldiers’ shower in the town hall last Friday evening in packing and sending Christmas boxes for the local boys overseas.  Up to Wednesday noon some 225 boxes had been mailed by the Chapter to the boys who are in England and France and altogether some 250 boxes will be sent.  They contain articles that will be received with great pleasure by the boys some of whom will feel that though they might not have relatives in Canada to send them Christmas gifts they are not entirely friendless at Christmas.

Photo of Pte. David Ferguson—Pte. David Ferguson of the 2nd Royal Scots Machine Gun Section was recently wounded while in France.  He is now at Queen Mary’s Hospital in England and left Perth for the old country last autumn.

Rev. N. H. McGillivray, former Presbyterian pastor at Carp and Kinburn and later at St. Thomas, is chaplain of the 12th Battalion which is composed partly of the 130th Battalion.

Photo of Lt. Goldwin O. Kemp—Lt. Goldwin O. Kemp came to Perth in 1907 from Ottawa, having been transferred to the local branch of the Bank of Ottawa.  He left the bank in 1910 and shortly afterward entered the Accountant’s Branch of the Department of Customs.

Pte. Arthur Brown, son of Mrs. Alexander Brown is returning from the front on furlough.  He has been on active duty as a motor transport driver for about two years.

Photo of Pte. Thomas E. Butler—Pte. Thomas E. Butler is a son of Mr. William H. Butler of Harper and is with the 12th (130th) Battalion at Sandling Camp in England.

Photo of Pte. J. H. Gibson—Pte. J. H. Gibson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Gibson of Balderson and is with the 12th ( 130th) Battalion at Sandling Camp in England.

Photo of Sgt. W. J. Baird—Sgt. W. J. Baird is the son of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Baird of Perth, who is in the Record Office of the Princess Pats in London, England.

Mr. J.L. Morris, ex mayor of Pembroke, has been notified of a casualty to his son Lt. Ramsay Morris of the 38th, shell shock while on active service at Ypres affected his eyes somewhat and after a short period at a base hospital he has been removed to England and is now in #2 Western Central Hospital at Manchester where his condition is reported to have improved.  Mrs. Morris and Miss Grace Morris left for England this week to be with him.

Pte. George McDonald of the 240th Renfrew battalion whose home is in Brockville, was struck by an electric car on the Ottawa side of the Chaudiere bridge at Ottawa Friday night and terribly injured his left leg below the knee being almost completely severed.  A doctor was quickly secured who rendered first aid and then had the injured man taken to the Rideau Street Hospital.  According to persons who were passing near the scene of the accident the soldier appeared suddenly in front of a Chaudiere car which was running at a pretty fast pace and just about to leave the street to go on the bridge.  There was absolutely no escape for the man although the motorman did his utmost to bring the car to a stop.  The soldier was struck heavily and thrown under the wheels which passed over his left leg below the limb.  Passengers in the car said they felt a very noticeable jolt and then the car came to a halt.  On running back the driver found the man lying on the track with his leg mangled.  He had not lost consciousness.  At 4:45 a.m. Saturday Pte. McDonald died the limb having been amputated and loss of blood and shock causing his demise.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bothwell of town received a letter from Lt. D.D. McLawn in which he tells of the falling on the battlefield of their son the late George Bothwell.  Lt. McLawn was a brother officer and chum of George and in his letter gave practically the same description of his demise as was contained in the letter from George Currie and was to the effect that George succumbed to a gunshot wound in the back of the head.  Lt. McLawn says he was interred near the scene of his death and his grave is now marked by a wooden cross.  Lt. George Bothwell, whose brother is Lt. Austin Bothwell of the 174th Battalion, was in his 26th year and was born in Perth and attended public school and the Perth Collegiate Institute.  He also took a course in forestry at Toronto University and was in the forestry service in the Athabasca District when he enlisted with the 51st Battalion as a private winning his commission at the front.  While attending university he took up St. John’s ambulance work having a graduate diploma for the same.  Arriving at Bramschott Camp in April, he took a course in sniping and scouting and was quite proficient in musketry.  While in France he took an advanced course in trench mortar work later being attached to the headquarters staff and made scouting and intelligence officer for the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles.

Perth Courier, November 17, 1916

Photo of Sgt. Robert Newell—Sgt. Robert Newell of the H. K. Wampole office staff is paymaster sergeant of the Queen’s Field Ambulance Corps, Kingston.

Photo of Pte. James Brady—Pte James Brady is the son of Mr. and  Mrs. Thomas Brady of Perth and is with the 12th (130th) Battalion in England.

Photo of Lt. George Bothwell—Lt. George Bothwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bothwell, Perth, has made the supreme sacrifice and lost his life in France where his grave is marked with a wooden cross.

Word was received last Friday that Lt. Philip Earnshaw, whose mother resides in Almonte, has been awarded the Military Cross for distinguished conduct t the Battle of the Somme.  He is a graduate in Science at Queen’s University in Kingston and went overseas a year ago last May with the Divisional Signalers Corps of the Canadian Engineers.

For about a month there has been uncertainty and anxiety concerning the fate of Major Sidney Gilroy, postmaster of Smith’s Falls, who has been serving at the front.  Early in October he was reported officially as missing in action at a battle in which many Canadians fell.  No further word could be procured although many cables have been sent.  All doubt of his fate, however, would seem to be removed in a letter received on Tuesday morning by Mr. A.B. Scott of Smith’s Falls from his son Lt. Gordon Scott serving with the army in France.  Lt. Scott wrote under the date of 25th October that an officer orderly had told him that Major Gilroy fell leading his men, that his body had been recovered and that he, the orderly, had attended his funeral and been present at his burial.  His personal effects had been taken charge of by Lt. Winslow who would forward them to his home in Smith’s Falls.  Major Gilroy leaves a wife and two small children.

Mrs. John Ferrier of Herriott Street, Perth, received a letter this week from her nephew Sgt. Ernest Ferrier of the 130th Battalion and son of Mr. John Ferrier of the Scotch Line.  Traveling through England he says the villages are not altogether impressive with their rows of terraced houses but the agricultural parts of England show in many cases excellent workmanship.  His company is taking a course in musketry at Sandling Camp and he mentions the march of two miles and more taken every morning which includes going up a hill that he says has few equals in length.  This hill has been mentioned by the local boys in England also as being a severe test while marching.  He expects to be in France for Christmas………………While in London he saw the marriage entry in a London church of his aunt’s grandfather and grandmother who also are the great grandfather and great grandmother of his father’s.  Describing this interesting occurrence he says:  “At St. George’s Chapel, Hanover Square I saw the entry of Lupten Wrathall Robinson and Rebecca Wayland of 15th June, (year was illegible).  Transcriber’s note:  this letter was not reproduced in its entirely it was mostly a travelogue of his trip.

J. L. Morris of Pembroke received a letter from Lt. Ramsay who is in a hospital in Manchester, England suffering from eye trouble stating that he is now in London on three week’s leave before returning to the front.  This fact will make it clear that there is no foundation for the alarming report circulating regarding his eyesight says the Pembroke Observer.

Photo of Sgt. Philip McParlan—Sgt. Philip McParlan, son of the late Mr. John McParlan and Mrs. E. McCann of Perth, is with the 12th (130th) Battalion at Sandling Camp.  A letter was transcribed in this issue to John Russell from Sgt. McParlan but is not entirely reproduced here.  It says in part:  “I would like to get to France soon but they may transfer me to the Army Medical Corps.”

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Polk of Port Elmsley received the sad intelligence that their son Pte. V. K. Polk had been seriously wounded somewhere in France.  He was in a hospital there.  Pte. Polk enlisted with the Canadian Grenadier Guards at Montreal about one year ago and went overseas last February.

Photo of Everett Doyle—Mr. and Mrs. John Doyle of town received a telegram Tuesday stating that their son Everett Doyle had been wounded in the arm and leg but whether his wounds are serious was not stated in the telegram.  He went overseas with the Seaforth (?) Highlanders of Vancouver in April last and has been in the trenches some three months.

Perth Courier, Nov. 24, 1916

Stanley Scott of the law firm Stewart and Scott, Lindsay, has joined the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserves as a seaman and is now at home in town on a visit with his parents Judge and Mrs. Scott.  He will leave Toronto on the 6th December for England where he will be in training at a British naval training station.  Mr. Scott has given up considerable business connections in order to serve the Empire’s cause.

W. B. Hart has received a letter from Lt. Herb Wilson this week.  The letter was written from his dugout in the trenches and he says he was in the trenches one month from the day he sailed from Canada and was the first officer of the 130th to enter the trenches while Frank Wood was the first private to enter of the 130th.  He mentions having a little stove in his dugout and is very comfortable.  He and Frank Wood are with the 19th Canadian Battalion which is composed largely of the Queen’s Own Regiment of Toronto, Hamilton, and Wellington and is with the 2nd Division.  While in Europe he saw Tom Caldwell who is in good health.  He also mentions having had dinner with Miss Gladys Code who was in good health and dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Cameron Stewart in London.  Herb says he is very near the German trenches and appreciates a letter from Canada.

Mr. and Mrs. James Kirke of Gananoque are in receipt of a letter from their son Pte. Robert Kirke who will be remembered as losing a let at the front and heroically plunging into the River Thames in London to save a young woman who had fallen into the water.  In his letter he states that he has been awarded the Royal Humane Society’s medal for the act.  He has hopes of receiving also the Carnegie Medal.

Mr. W. L. Code of North Elmsley has received word of the death of Earnest Dobson who was killed in action in defense of the Empire.  This young man was an adopted boy in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Code and treated him as their son and there is sadness because of his death.  He enlisted at Smith’s Falls with the 38th Battalion which was stationed in Bermuda for some time previous to going overseas.  He was 22 years old and a native of Scotland.

240th Battalion Officers:

Lt. Col. E. J. Watt, Commanding Officer

Lt. Col. Lennox Irving, Second in Command

Capt. D.C. McRostie, Adjutant

Capt. W. G. Ferguson, Quartermaster

Capt. H. V. Malone, Medical Officer

Capt. W. L. Maloney, Paymaster

Major Fritton

Captains:  J. H. Edward, Carleton Place; S. H. Powell, Belleville; C. F. Jarvis, Picton; T. F. Baroct, Renfrew.

Lieutenants:  C. R. Holmes, Toronto; G. G. Graham, Smith’s Falls; H. T. Noonan, Perth; H. C. McIntyre, Lanark; A. V. Browne, Ottawa; G. O. Kemp, Ottawa; G.S. Taylor, Renfrew; C. B. Price, Arnprior; H. C. Saul, Chapleau; R. G. Entwistle and E.G. Lavesque, Mattawa; B. T. Sparhum and H.B. Baxter, Smith’s Falls; J.H. Brown, Carleton Place, C.E.F. Habcock, Brockville, J.P. Gillies, Renfrew, G. F. Manning and J.C. Manning (doesn’t say where from); J. Allan, Machine Gun Officer, Australia.

Photo of Pte. Arthur E. Brown

Pte. Arthur E. Brown, son of Mrs. Alexander Lan, has returned from France after spending two years with the Supply Column of the British Army.  He arrived in Perth on Tuesday morning and that afternoon was accorded a public reception in the town hall which was filled to overflowing.  The pupils of the town schools and citizens and different patriotic organizations including the Red Cross Society and Daughters of the Empire all turning out in force to the honor of this young man and welcoming his return.  (Transcriber’s note, the reception is detailed in this article but not transcribed here.)

Photo of Orville Bates

Orville Bates, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bates of Lanark, who left for Halifax on Monday, prepares to go overseas with the Mechanical Transport.  He was formerly with the 130th but did not go overseas on account of being under 18 years of age.

Miss Minnie Graham received the following letter from Lt. Herb Wilson at present in France. 

5th November, 1916

Dear Minnie:

Just a note from the trenches.  Having been on the firing line here and I was the first of all the 130th officers or men to go in but it was not too bad.  I saw Annie McCann in London she looked fine and loves her work.  She has signed for the duration of the war.  She saw Mrs. (Dr.) Leslie and a number of western people.  It is good to meet someone from home.  This is a terrible war and I hope before long the Germans will be routed.  Every man who comes over here deserves everything that can be done for him.  He has lots of company all the time, rats, etc., etc.  Your Old Friend, Herb.

19th Batt. B.C.F. France

Perth Courier, December 1, 1916

Letter from Perth Boy

The following letter was received by the Courier, written by Pte. Arthur Johnston of Perth who has been in France with the infantry for several months.

The first trenches we inhabited were a side show compared to the big show in which we have been participating.  We have gone over miles of “no man’s land” and through the “Valley of Death” as it has been fittingly termed by many writers and all the advance talk and stories heard from time to time previously have been fully proven.  A word picture would miserably fail to describe the horrible and gruesome sights, the wasted and disrupted land, the intensity of the gun fire and all the rest which goes with this most destructive of all wars.

This division consists of four battalions from Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver and the day before those went to this particular front our battalion was formed up before our commanding officer who said, in part:  “This may be the last occasion on which we all are together.  I know every man in this battalion will do his duty and there is not a man who will be afraid of individuals like these” and he pointed to a number of German prisoners a few yards away.  “When you write home” he concluded, “make your letters as cheerful as you can and write as often as you can”.  The Colonel’s words in a few days came true in as much as the Battalion suffered a number of casualties in killed and wounded but they fought the game as all Canadians have fought and helped bravely in bringing further glory to Canada.

This life is crowded with surprises and from day to day many old friends are met.  On our march here, Arthur Fuller hailed us with a “hello there, you”, and he looks hale and hearty and twice as natural.  Further on a loud voice similar to a basketball coach called out our names and casting our lamps to the roadside we beheld Leslie Waddell who is with the Army Service Corps.  He joined our ranks for some distance and the result was a rapid fire bombardment of chatter.  He is fine and fit.  Toots Meighen, astride  a fiery steed in front of a line of transports was the next from Perth to be seen and in the hustle, bustle and din of the traffic could only holler out he was fine and dandy.  Gerald Brown, Everett Doyle and George Earl, all in kilts, have the tasks of their lives keeping their shins free from the now much dreaded mud.  In his own inimitable way Fred Lappin entertained us with his own experiences of the war.  What a difference the war has made in his life.  Before he enlisted he was pushing Wampole’s roads in the Canadian west, now he is in charge of a Lewis machine gun pushing shells to the Hun lines and killing an average of 17 per minute.  We had a hearty hand shake with Major “Jack” Hope a few days ago and a short but interesting talk the first since at Barriefield Camp.  Lt. Herb Taylor favored us with a copy of the Courier recently which we had pondered over (ads included), three weeks dated, but his kindness was nevertheless appreciated.

Corp. Alf Stillard, who hails from near Perth is also here.  Fritz is very much averse to fist fights as Alf is a past master of the art of self defense and a few Hun knockouts in early rounds may be expected.  Jack Sepo and Jack Mars are fast becoming used to this uncertain weather in France and they find a vast difference between here and the balmy warm weather of Bermuda where they were stationed last winter.  In going out of the YMCA yesterday we bumped into Jack Enright, Stanton Hundson and Jack Moore, the latter it will be remembered having been with Murdoch and MacMartin at Christy Lake when the new C.P.R. line was under construction.  All three had been reported in Canada as wounded and each carried his own press notice to prove it.  But the truth is that not one has as yet suffered a scratch and a more merry trio one could not meet.  It was our first meeting with Jack Enright since coming to France.  He had one close encounter with a Hun and was bayoneted through the left trouser leg at the knee but the flesh was untouched.  “But I got him” Jack said.  “Did you bag him?” we asked.  “No, I shot him” he answered “and I have his bayonet to prove it”.  The Hun may have been Paul in the following story which is making the rounds here:  The Germans have had a chap with them named Paul who had a lovely voice and used to sing all the latest songs.  He was easily heard in our front trenches and his songs were enjoyed by our fellows as well as the Germans.  One day when things were quiet there were no songs to listen to and one of our men called to the Germans “tell Paul to sing”.  Back came the answer preceded by a string of guttural German curses “you shooted Paul yesterday”.

We have had close hand views inside and out of the now renowned tanks of caterpillars the big guns which make you pull yourself together when they shoot and some aeroplanes which occasionally land for petrol.  One plane was named “Punjab Hanse” and “Punjab” in name of one of the best band marches ever written and our old time bandsmen in Perth will bear this out.

Perth boys are grateful to the I.O.D.E. in the recent gifts of two pairs of socks and the oil cloth bags containing them have also been put to good use.

Mrs. J. L. P. McLaren received a letter from her son Capt. McLaren last week stating that he was leaving England for France and a (illegible word) of millwrights were accompanying him while the remainder of the 2-8th (cannot read the numbers of this battalion clearly) Forestry Battalion were to follow soon after.  The men were about to start a lumbering operation in a tract of virgin pine in France that had as yet not been acquainted with the woodsman’s saw and axe.  The saw mill in France is unknown and therefore considered a novelty.

Messrs Tom Wilson and Ira Gibson of town and James McMullen of Elmsley have enlisted with the Army Service Corps for which Lt. Homer Kerr is recruiting.

The following is an extract from a letter received by William Brownlee of McDonald’s Corners form Lt. Col. Jones, officer commanding the 21st Battalion and is in connection with the death of his son Lt. Fisher Brownlee who fell on the 16th Sept. at Courcelette.

Dear Mr. Brownlee:

I have your letter of the 10th.  Fisher was one of my best friends in the battalion.  I was in command at St. Elot where he did such wonderful work.  I recommended him at that time for the Military Cross but it was not granted although it should have been.  At the Somme he was a tower of strength for me.  Early on the morning of the 15th Sept. we were to attack at 6:20.  He took out tape on our front and laid out the frontage of each company and this in the dark.  My battalion was able to form up without any confusion and this was done by him under the most intense artillery fire.  After completing this task I sent him to act for me at the brigade, this he did all day.  About midnight I had lost all my officers that were in the first attack and early in the morning of the 16th I sent for Fisher and placed him in command of the front line.  He went forward and I did not see him again he was killed by a shell near the sugar factory at Courcelette where he was buried.  I cannot tell you what a great friend he was not only to me but to all our officers.  We do not speak of him as dead but living.  Capt. Pense of Kingston sailed for there yesterday and if you could manage to see him he could tell you so much about Fisher that I can not write.  My home is in Brockville and if I can come through this I will go and see you and tell you all about him.  Yours Very Faithfully, Elmer Jones, Lt. Col., 21st Battalion.

Photo of Pte. Frank Daughen and of Pte. William Daughen

Pte William Daughen is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Daughen of town, who received a letter on Tuesday morning stating that their son Pte. William Daughen in France with the 21st Battery as a bomber had been severely wounded in the eye from the effects of a bomb and was admitted to #13(?) 18(?) Stationary Hospital in Boulogne, France.  Pte. Daughen has been in France now for upwards of a year and a half with the 21st.  This is the second time he has been wounded, receiving a shrapnel wound in the face about a year ago.

Pte Frank Daughen—Brother of Private William Daughen and is in England with the Queen’s Field Ambulance.

Photo of Seaman Stanley Scott son of Judge and Mrs. Scott, who has joined the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve and leaves for England next week.

Perth Courier, December 8, 1916

In a letter received in town from Gordon Ball this week, he mentions having met Fred Adams and a number of other boys from Perth who are in France.  Gordon has regained his health after his recent wounding and is on duty back on the firing lines at present.  A letter received this week from Adams also states he saw Gordon.

Pte. James F. McViety, son of Mrs. James McViety of town, who went overseas with the 130th Battalion qualified as a first class marksman on the ranges at Shorncliffe and has been chosen as a sniper.  He is at present taking sniper’s training in England before proceeding to France.

Alf Kennedy received a letter from a former townsman this week in the person of Pte. David Ferguson who stated that he had been able to leave the hospital and was convalescing from his wound which resulted in the loss of an eye at his home in Dundee, Scotland.

A private cable was received in Almonte on Friday from Capt. J.M. Bell of the 73rd Highlanders commander of the Lanark County platoon that several of the Almonte boys had been wounded but none seriously.

John Halfpenny of the post office at Carleton Place has had word that his son is laid up in a hospital somewhere in France.  He apparently is pretty badly wounded as he is bound from head to foot.  His letter did not state just how the injury was received or how serious it was.

Mrs. S. Wilson of Carleton Place received a message from the Militia Department stating that her son Harvey S.S. Wilson had been wounded and he has lost one foot and had an arm badly injured.  He enlisted with the Queen’s Battery at Kingston.  It is likely he will be invalided home as soon as he is able to stand the voyage.


            1.         Killed in Action—The sad news was received by telegram from the Record Office on Friday last by Mr. and Mrs. George Stokes of town of the death of their son George Stokes in France.  The telegram gave no particulars but simply said he had been killed in action in France on the 18th November.  He was with the 38th Ottawa and Kingston Battalion and enlisted with this unit in January, 1915.  The 38th spent last winter on guard duty in Bermuda and went to England last spring and soon afterwards went to Belgium but lately the unit had been in France and has taken part in several of the notable actions recently having experienced heavy losses.  George Stokes, who has made the supreme sacrifice, was 22 years of age.  He was born in Perth where he lived until joining the 28th Batt.  His parents, two brothers and five sisters mourn his loss and are awaiting further particulars of his death.  His father is a veteran soldier having spent 13 years in the British Army and has seven nephews at the front.

            2.         James McKenny was killed in action about a week ago in France.  He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram McKenny, former residents of Perth and now of Winnipeg.  The family went from Perth to Winnipeg about 12 years ago where the deceased’s father is a contractor.

            3.         Thomas Fletcher is reported on Wednesday last to have been killed in action.  He went overseas with the Canadian Infantry about a year ago.  Before enlisting he was employed in the carpet factory at Perth and had been a resident of this town for about three years.  Three brothers are also with the Canadian and British forces.

            4.         Pte Allan McPhail, son of Mr. Alexander McPhail was reported killed in action on Monday’s casualty lists.

            5.         Pte John R. Mars son of Mrs. Phillip Mars of town has been wounded and was admitted to the #1 Canadian General Hospital at Etapes on the 24th November having received gunshot wounds in the legs.  Pte. Mars was a member of the 38th Battalion and enlisted with the unit in July of 1915 and spent the winter in Bermuda with the 38th and went overseas in June of last year going into the trenches on the 12th August.  He has been through all the recent heavy engagements with the 38th.

Pte. Bernard Cavanagh of the Special Service Corps Montreal was in town this week.

Henry Adams, Jr., received a letter from “Phonse” (Gunner A. J.) Thompson this week who is at Witley Camp and went overseas with the 51st Battery.  Phonse wrote on the 19th November and says in part: l “We had about an inch of snow yesterday and then it rained all night.  It is mighty cold here.  I am on a police job and have to stay out until 11:00 at night but do not get up the next day until noon.  The only trouble is that they do not bring my breakfast to me in bed.  I am getting a weekend pass and intend to go to London this weekend.  I guess we will go to France sometime in January but we never know.  Dr. Ed Wilson and Fred Thompson are in the dental corps in this camp.”  Phonse is now with an ammunition column at Witley.

Pte. Alexander Caldwell Miles died as a result of wounds received in France.  He was the only son of the late James Miles and a cousin to J. Boyd Caldwell of Lanark.

Arthur Dack of Braeside who enlisted at Arnprior as provost sergeant in the 130th Battalion writes us to say that with the unit was split up in England he went back to the rank of private and expects to cross to France any time.

The reported wounding of Dr. Ronald R. Scott who visited Perth a few weeks ago on his return from the Somme was the occasion of concern to his friends in Canada.  The report turns out to be incorrect so far as any mishap has befallen him on going immediately to the front after his voyage from New York to Liverpool.  The fact of the wounding remains however, but it was a slight wound on the arm months before the First Royal Scots Fusiliers took up their position on the Western offensive line.

Perth Courier, December 15, 1916

Photo of Pte. Walter Cowie

Pte. Walter Cowie, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Cowie, Scotch Line, is in England with a detachment of the Queen’s Field Ambulance.

This Christmas let us give moderately to each other and generously to the soldiers’ families!

Good Men and Women of Ontario!

Can the need of your soldiers’ families crying in vain for the relief which this fund alone makes possible be neglected?  Can we – in the face of it all give lavishly among ourselves?  Shall we in this year with hearts full of the Christmas spirit lay aside a generous proportion of our Christmas money for the cause which so urgently needs it?  Somewhere in France he is fighting the good fight, somewhere in Ontario all that he holds dear is depending upon our decision.

Canadian Patriotic Fund

In a letter received at the Courier office this week Lt. J. McAmmond who went overseas with the 130th Battalion states that he and Lt. William McLean and P. Jordan are with the 18th Battalion in the trenches being the only members of the 130th with that unit while Lt. Herb Wilson and Pte. Frank Wood are quite close together but they are unable to see each other.  At the time of his writing, 11th November, he had just gone out to the front line trenches and they were “living in a cellar of a farm house in a town that had been badly devastated by the siege guns.  Lt. McAmmond says it rains more or less every day at this time of the year causing the British front  line trenches to fall in at one time and mud was as high as their knees.  The 18th spends six days in the trenches at the front lines at a time and then retires from the line to brigade headquarters in the rear for six days rest before returning again to the trenches.  Continuing, Lt. McAmmond says:  “in the front line our dugout as we call it, consists of a living room which is about 20 feet below ground.  We have rats here as big as cats and as plentiful as grapes on a vine.  You are just falling asleep when you feel a rat run over you.  Between rats and shells you don’t get much sleep until you get so tired you can actually sleep standing up as I have seen our boys doing—but sleeping on duty is a very severe offense here.  I have not seen any of the 130th since we separated from them.  All captains and senior ranks have to revert to lieutenants to come to France or stay in England.  We were scarcely two weeks in England altogether before coming to France ten days of which were spent with several other boys in London.  It is quite a city and except for the lights being out at night you would not know there was a war going on.”

Perth Courier, December 22, 1916

Pte. Alfred Townsend returned to Perth last week after spending a considerable amount of time in France with the Canadian Infantry.  He received a wound in his right limb from which he has not altogether recovered. Before leaving, he was employed at Harper.

The Courier received Christmas greetings from Lt. Charles Watt this week in the form of a photo of himself standing on board a large motor boat near on of the up to the minute guns now used by the motor boat patrol.  These motor boats are built much like the ordinary cruiser but are of course much smaller.

Photo of Pte. George James Stokes

Pte. George James Stokes, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Stokes, who answered the call in France with the 38th Battalion.

Photo of Pte. Lawrence Rathwell

Pte. Lawrence Rathwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Rathwell of Perth is now in England with the 188th Battalion of Western Canada.

Mr. and Mrs. James Daughen received a card on Saturday from their son William Daughen who was wounded.  The wound has resulted in the loss of his eye which incapacitates him from further army work.

A card received on Tuesday by members of the Mercury staff from Capt. Harry J. Airth of the 130th Battalion C.E.F. at West Sandling Camp in England brought word that he was “still above ground and in good health”.  The card which bears Christmas greetings was mailed on the 30th November.  Renfrew Mercury

Perth Courier, December 29, 1916

Rev. and Mrs. A. H. Scott received the glad news on Thursday of last week that their son Clyde has been released as a prisoner of war in Germany and was now located in Switzerland.  In a message to the London Times on Friday last which appeared in the Canadian papers the following names of those who had arrived in Switzerland from Germany were:  Captains T. V. Scudamore and W. S. Hooper, Lt. C.R. Scott (inf.), E. Smith (Mounted Rifles) and R. G. Barnes (Tunnelers).

W. J. Thompson of the Scotch Line received the following letter from Bugler James Smith who had been in France for a considerable time: 

Dear William:

I suppose you are thinking that the Huns have got me on account of not having heard from me, well, they have not got me as of yet.  To tell you the truth we have been knocked about so much lately that I never got a chance to write.  I have been into one big advance or charge and have come out ok so are but have had some close calls.  I was in the beg advance on the 15th Sept. and it was some advance.  The way we made Fritz run would make you glad.  When I got to the Hun front line they were pretty well cleared out.    However, I managed to discover one big fellow crouched in a kind of dug out.  I showed him the point of the bayonet and he promptly threw up his hands so I took him prisoner.  It is a good thing he did not show fight for he was big enough to eat me alive.  However, I would have given him a run for his money.  I sent him back with some more prisoners that we had taken and was just climbing out of the trench to go forward when a shell burst right in front of me and knocked me back again.  I received a few pieces of shell in one of my hands and was almost blinded by it for a minute or two.  However, I managed to scramble out and went on to our objective without any more mishaps.  We then started digging ourselves in and the next morning made another slight advance, in all about 1,800 yards.  The advances are not so hard as holding on.  They made a couple of small counter attacks on us but we were watching for them and he did not come very far.  There was plenty of mud where we were and some pretty tough fights.   I am having it a little better now for I have been transferred into the transport section.  It will do me a lot of good as you know I am very fond of horses and it will help to straighten my nerves.  I can eat and sleep well but I do not feel very well some times.

William Shackell(?) who was on the staff of the C.P.R. as resident engineer at Smith’s Falls for some time and afterwards enlisted with the Canadian Engineers has served with distinction as to win the Distinguished Conduct Medal and earned a commission.  He has been gazetted a lieutenant.

The Courier received a telegram from Lt. Herb Wilson this week, with a picture of a group of six officers of A Co., 19th Battalion including himself.  Herb was wearing one of the customary lead shields.  The picture was taken in France.  The other officers were Capt. Ellis, O.C., Lts. Marks, Wood, Harstone and Fairweather.

Mrs. George Stokes of town received a letter on Saturday from Lt. R.A. Strough who was commander of the platoon of the 38th Batt. In which her son James was serving when he fell. 

Dear Mrs. Stokes:

It is with deep regret that I write you regarding the death of your son but I wish to convey to you the deepest sympathy of all our officers and men in the battalion.  Your boy was a great favorite with us all.  Officers and men alike admired and liked him and he was an example of what a soldier should be.  He was always bright and cheerful even at the end of a long day’s march or a wet day in the trenches; he had a smile and joke for all.  He joined my platoon when he came into the battalion and in losing him I feel that I have lost a personal friend and good comrade.  He did splendid work over here being absolutely zealous, ready and willing to do anything and always lending a helping hand to anybody in trouble.  The battalion left our trenches early in the morning of the 18th  November taking two strong German trenches but in doing so lost pretty heavily and it was then that your boy fell but he died like a man and gave his life for the cause of justice and freedom.  We all miss him sadly and sympathize with you in your loss.  I would have written sooner but have been in the hospital with wounds in the hand.  Yours Very Sincerely, Lt. R. A. Strouth

Perth Courier, January 12, 1917

Memorable Attack of the 38th In the Somme Territory

Written by Pte. John Mars, Who Took Part in November Engagement in The Somme Region

Pte. John Mars of Perth, who was wounded in both limbs on the 22nd November at the time of the Somme Battle wrote to his relatives in town on the 17th December from a military hospital in London where he has been for some time.  Pte. Mars enlisted with the 38th Ottawa and Kingston Battalion in July, 1915 being with A Company, #2 Platoon.  He was drafted to reinforce the 38th, then stationed in Bermuda on 18th December, 1915.  He then went with the 38th from Bermuda to England in July of last year where he trained at Camps Borden and Bramschott and later crossed to the Belgium front early in August last and later went to France wit the 38th.  In his letter he writes in regard to his wounding and the fighting in which he fell, being a charge by the 38th of 18 to 22 November in the Somme region.

Dear Mother and Brother:

Just a line to let you all know I am alive since last writing and am at present in Edmonton Hospital in London.  I will tell you of some of the fighting in which the 38th took part.  Our battalionlost heavily in the engagement previous to the one of 18-22 November.  Before this advance we were given twelve days of needed rest from severe fighting.  We got our clothes cleaned up once more of the mud and on the 17th November about noon orders came to move up again.  I arrived at a headquarters camp about 2:00 pm and we were sent ahead to the front line about 6:00 that morning and our supporting artillery opened fire on the enemy lines pouring all kinds of high explosives into their lines clearing the way; everything being in readiness the signal passed along to stand to and fix bayonets.  Just at grey dawn a charge was blown and over we went in four waves.  A company first and the others following.  We moved in quick succession in face of a deadly fire and in the meantime having to cut barbed wire entanglements.  Into the German trench we went where scenes I could not describe to you took place.  It was here our young hero comrade James Stokes of Perth fell to rise no more.  I will never forget as long as I live the sights of that eventful morning, 18th November.  Upon entering their trenches we found they had plenty of everything in food and tobacco.  They were better supplied than we were.    Some of them were in dugouts forty feet deep but a few bombs dripped down fixed them.  The trench made secure we charged a second one and when nearing it Pte. James Thompson, Harvey Street, fell wounded by a shell in foot and back.  We swept on and I saw him no more.  He was a very fine fellow and always furnished me with the Perth papers.  On making the second line we charged a third and last trench.  By this time the battalion was badly cut up nearly all the officers and sergeants being down.  The trenches were full of dead and wounded and in the 3rd trench we dug in and held on all night and the next day and night under terrible shelling and heavy rain until another battalion came to our aid.  At my last roll call only 31 answered their names.  A Company, B.C, and D companies were about the same, out of 250 men each only one officer came out unwounded.  On the 22nd November I was escorting some prisoners and taking out dead for burial and wounded to the dressing station.  I was carrying out one of the young officers who had died when I was hit in both limbs by shell fire.  It was about noon and they got me to the nearest dressing station about 4:00 that day.  I nearly bled to death.  My clothing was a solid hard mass, knives were used to remove it.  That night I went to a hospital where I was operated on for the removal of shell fragments.  The doctor gave me as a souvenir of the battle I was in one of the fragments, in which we certainly had a front seat.  The next day I was moved by Red Cross train back from the battle line to #1 Canadian General Hospital at Etaplos(?), France, where they kept me until I was able to be removed on the 30th November.  I crossed the English Channel on a hospital ship and went to London by train where there are thousands of cases of wounded.  While on active service I saw some terrible sights some real hair raisers.  We were a month at the Ypres front; we only lost about 70 men.  Then we came to the Somme front and that was the worst of it.  We lost heavily at every turn until the last one where we fought to the finish—that’s where I got mine—capturing three lines of trenches, 400 prisoners, four machine guns and 20 German officers.  Perth boys were hit hard.  I often wonder if I will ever see old Perth again.  The Germans would sometimes call to our trenches that it took many ships to bring the Canadian army over but the Canadians would all go back in one ship as they would not stand the test.

Pte. J. Mars

Word has been received in Portland that Pte. Charles Connors of the 59th Battalion died of wounds.  His father Ross Connors and brother Gerald Connors are both in the trenches.  His mother and sister reside at Portland.

Perth Courier, Jan. 19, 1917

Campbell Scott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Scott of McDonald’s Corners, was reported on Friday’s casualty list as wounded.

A letter was received at his home in town this week by Pte. Arthur Johnston.  In the letter he makes considerable mention of the pilfering of soldiers’ parcels during their journey to the trenches and states that Christmas saw his 15th month in the Canadian Army.

(Transcriber’s note, the following is a partial translation only.)

Today completes my 15th month in the service of the King and I regret to say it has been the most cheerless I ever experienced.  The 200 or so men who are here on the railway construction since last Monday have not yet received their Christmas mail and it has been a sore disappointment and we have been at a total loss finding out where it is or what has become of it.  Personally, I had been advised by letter of parcels coming my way from Billy Flett.  Jack Sepo, Gerald Brown and I had Christmas dinner together and it was purchased by our own well earned money and nicely cooked by a good French lady from whom we have had several meals since our arrival.  In fact, when we have money we never think of going near the army cookhouse as the rations served us here have been a disgrace.  All of it goes to show how much the situation would have been relieved had the good things from Canada arrived.  The other day I noticed in a London paper that two railway employees at Waterloo Station had been arrested for robbing soldiers’ parcels and in sentencing them the magistrate said: “The robbing of our soldiers’ parcels has been going on not only here but overseas to such an extent as to constitute a scandal to the nation”.  I will tell you it greatly grieved me to learn of Jimmy Stokes death in action.  I did not know him very well in Perth but found out his true worth at Bramschott and was in his company frequently and he was a fine young man and always so jolly.

Photo of Herb Taylor accompanies this article, which has not been transcribed in full.

Lt. Herb Taylor, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Taylor of town, arrived in Perth Monday evening direct from the scene of warfare in France and will have two months leave.  Mrs. Taylor, who had been in England for the last year, accompanied her husband. On the arrival of Perth local at the depot on Monday evening, Lt. and Mrs. Taylor were met by the Citizen’s Reception Committee.

Partial Transcription of the Address to Lt. Taylor:

“Lt. Taylor went overseas with the 46th (Regina-S. Saskatchewan Battalion) in October of 1915, arriving in England in the latter part of the month going overseas aboard the steamer Lapland the same steamer that conveyed the 130th overseas.  The 46th proceeded to Bramschott Camp on arrival in England and went into training there.  Soon after the arrival of the battalion, Lt. Taylor received orders to attend the school of musketry at Shorncliffe and on completing the course and returning to Bramschott he received orders to start at Bramschott a school for instruction of bomb throwing.  He conducted the school for ten months training over 500 officers and men.  Ultimately six infantry brigades were formed in the camp for service to France and Lt. Taylor was detailed to organize a brigade bombing school and on his recommendation a brigade bombing officer and a bombing officer for each of the four battalions in each brigade were appointed being under the supervision and instruction of Lt. Taylor.  In the middle of August last the three brigades which formed the 4th Division went to France and at this time Lt. Taylor was appointed 12th (?) Brigade bombing officer and attached to the 38th Battalion acting in this capacity during the past five months………………Lt. Taylor says they took over part of the line just south of Ypres which previously had been held by other Canadian divisions.  These divisions at that time left for the Somme to take part in the big offenses.”

Photo of Homer Sinclair

Homer Sinclair is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Sinclair of Balderson

Transcriber’s note:  there follows a letter which Homer wrote describing a trip he made to Scotland while on leave, which has not been transcribed.)

Deputy Reeve Thomas Moffat of Pembroke on Tuesday of last week received a letter from his son Major W. J. Moffat advising him of his arrival at the Canadian base headquarters in France on his way to the front.  Major Moffat was second in command of the 130th Battalion which was absorbed by other battalions leaving the senior offices in England.  He has now come to the front but in what capacity is not stated.

Photo of Pte. Arthur Cooper

Pte Arthur Cooper, son of Mrs. Jas. Cooper of town is a drummer of the 130th Bugle Band and is now in France.

Photo of Pte. Edgar McKerracher

Pte. Edgar McKerracher is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel McKerracher of Fallbrook.  He went overseas with the 130th which now is in the trenches in France with the 3rd Canadian Battalion.

Photo of Pte. Lloyd McKerracher

Pte. Lloyd McKerracher, son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel McKerracher of Fallbrook, took part in the Battle of the Somme and was there for two months during  which time he had two very narrow escapes from being wounded.  He went overseas with the 46th Queen’s Battery and has remained with the unit throughout.

Posted: 24 April, 2004.