County Fights War with service & sons

161st Huron Battalion Diary – February 17, 1916

Enlistments – February 17, 1916

Nine men enlisted on February 17, 1916. Three of the nine men did not return home at the war’s end.

654491, COULTES, (Pte.) James Howard, Blyth’s Own enlisted on February 17, 1916 in Wingham, ON. Prior to the war, he was living in Belgrave, and farmed land on Concession B, Lot 21 in Turnberry Township. He was born on December 23, 1897 in East Wawanosh and was a Presbyterian. His next of kin was his mother, Mrs. Lizzie Coultes of Weston, ON. His father was William J. Coultes and he had two brothers, Samuel (b. 1884) and Alexander (b. 1886). Pte. James H. Coultes was photographed in the back row at the extreme right with Blyth’s Own. Pte. James Coultes was 5’7” with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light-coloured hair.

654459, CURRIE, (Pte.) Kenneth, “C” Company enlisted in Bayfield, ON on February 17, 1916. His next of kin was Ms. Agnes Currie of Bayfield. A photograph of fellow soldier, Walter Westlake (seated at the left) and Pte. Ken Currie (standing) taken in Heather Gardens, Vanastra, was featured in the March 14, 1980 edition of the 161 Letter (161st newsletter by Sandy MacDonald).

654460, HUDSON, (Pte.) Joseph Henry, “D” Company enlisted in Hensall, ON on February 17, 1916. He was photographed in the 2nd back row, at the extreme left in a photo with Hensall’s Own.

654465, HUNTER, (Pte.) George Johnson, “A” Company enlisted in Wroxeter, ON on February 17, 1916. His next of kin was Ms. Jess Clements of New Dundee, Scotland. He was not pictured in the photograph, Wroxeter’s Own.

654462, MacLAREN, (Pte.) John Dougall, Bandsman, enlisted in Hensall, ON on February 17, 1916. His next of kin was Robert MacLaren of Hensall, ON. Pte. Jack MacLaren played tenor horn with the 161st Battalion’s brass band. He was photographed standing in the middle row with the tenor horn, 8th from the left in a photograph of the brass band borrowed from Ms. Mary/Murray Rollinson of Auburn, ON. Pte. John D. MacLaren was also present in the photo of the Battalion’s brass band featured on page 4 of The County of Huron War Memorial, standing in the 2nd back, 3rd from the left. The photograph was taken while the band was training in Clinton, ON during the spring of 1916.

654466, MEAHAN, (Pte.) Alfred Hope, “A” Company enlisted February 17, 1916 in Wroxeter, ON on February 17, 1916. Prior to enlistment he was a farmer at R.R. 1 Wroxeter and his mother, Elizabeth Meahan of the same address was listed as his next-of-kin. Alfred Meahan was born on August 25, 1896 in Turnberry Township to Antony (1858-1923) and Elizabeth Batters (1869-1929) and baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. A.H Meahan grew up in Turnberry Township on Concession C, Lot 12 with his siblings Margaret (1889), John (1891), George (1892), Antony “Tony” (1894), Luella “Ellie” (1898), Joseph H. (1900), Harriett (1902), Alice V. (1908-) and Wilfred C. (1909). His older brother, Tony (654549) also enlisted in the 161st Huron Battalion.

He was photographed with Wroxeter’s Own standing in the back row, 5th from the left.

654467, MUNN, (Cpl.) Edgar Wilford, “D” Company enlisted in Hensall, ON on February 17, 1916. His next of kin was Peter Munn, R.R. 1, Exeter, ON. Corporal Ed Munn was photographed with Hensall’s Own, squatting in the front row, 6th from the left.

654463, NEELANDS, (Cpl.) Roy Marlowe, “D” Company enlisted in Hensall, ON on February 17, 1916. Corporal Roy Neelands was photographed with Hensall’s Own standing in the back row, 8th from the left.

654468, SHROPSHALL, (Pte.) Arthur Henry, “A” Company enlisted on February 17, 1916 in Wroxeter, ON. His next of kin was his wife, Ms. Alice (Baker) Shropshall of R.R. 1, Wingham. Arthur H. Shropshall was born in England in Shropshire County and emigrated to Canada, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick on March 28, 1913. His wife, Alice Baker (1883-1945) and 3 children resided in Wingham, ON.

A photo of Arthur Shropshall was reproduced and featured in the 161st newsletter of February 18, 1982. It featured Arthur Shropshall astride a horse during a training course held in Clinton for the 161st Battalion.

Huron Homefront – February 17, 1916

161st Huron News – Pte. William Hall, of Wroxeter spent Sunday with his parents, according to the Brussels Post’s Bluevale column.

John G. Anderson, eldest son of James Anderson of the 5th line of Morris Township, and Belgrave’s John Tasker both left for Clinton on Tuesday to take signal service training for the 161st Battalion.

Under the “Jamestown” section of the Brussels Post, the following reception Private Nelson Agar was reported. The reception was held on Friday, February 11, 1916 at the home of James and Mrs. Wallace of Jamestown for the purposes of enjoying a social time with Private Nelson Agar, who enlisted with the Brussels Company of the 161st Huron Battalion. Thomas Smith read the following address;

Dear Nelson – We have met together this evening to express our warm appreciation to the sacrifice you are making in offering yourself for your King and Country. We know that great victories cannot be won without men and we are proud of the fact that you and the other Jamestown boys have responded so heartily to the call. The task that you have so willingly laid upon yourself will not be an easy one as the soldier’s life is full of hardships, only the thought of a triumphant issue at the last and the fact that you are fighting on God’s side will give you courage to do your “bit.” We wish you to know that wherever you go, you have the good wishes and the prayers of the Jamestown friends. This is the greatest struggle the world has ever witnessed and we trust it is to usher in a new era in Christ’s Kingdom. It is the greatest honor a man can crave to be found aiding the mighty force that is sweeping our universe. As a token of our regard we present you with this Bible, wrist watch and Waldemar knife and chain, trusting you may come back to receive the hearty welcome which will be yours from your friends here when the great day is won. Signed on behalf of the community. Roderick McKay, Thomas Smith, Gordon Holt, Charles Lake, Robert Messer, George Johnston Jr.

Nelson Agar replied in thanks to the speech, the gathering and the presentation by Roderick McKay, Charles Lake and Gordon Holt of the bible, wristwatch, Waldemar chain and knife. His reply was seconded by his brother-in-law. The speeches and presentation was followed by a program of vocal and instrumental music, recitations and patriotic addresses by George Johnston and Charles B. Forrest. Bernice Payn acted as chairman. A tasty lunch was served, followed by a dance for the young folks.

Fallen Soldiers – Pte. Archibald Christopher Wright, age 25 and unmarried, son of Frank C. Wright and Margaret Wright of Jamestown, died after 6 weeks in the Toronto military hospital where he underwent two operations to remove mastoid abscesses in his head. He had been homesteading in Kylesville, Saskatchewan before he enlisted with Third Divisional Ammunition Column of the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on January 5, 1916 in Toronto. He was buried in the Brussels Cemetery, his remains escorted from the edge of Brussels to the cemetery by the Brussels Company of the 161st Huron Battalion. A contingent of Wroxeter soldiers also attended the funeral.

Community War Efforts

According to the Brussels Post, “A recruiting meeting will be held in the Hall here (Belgrave) this Thursday night. Rev. D. Perrie, Wingham and returned soldiers will address the meeting. Suitable musical numbers will be given. Come and do your “bit.”

In the same issue of the Brussels Post it was announced that “A recruiting meeting under the auspices of the Huron County War Auxiliary is to be held in the (Bluevale) Foresters’ Hall on Thursday night (Feb 17) of this week. Rev. Hibbert, Wingham and Chaplain Barnaby, of the Huron Battalion are among those expected to take part, in addition to a returned soldier who is promised to speak. A meeting was held in the Foresters’ Hall last Friday night (Feb 11) to make arrangements for preparing for a return of all the men of military age in this polling division of Turnberry who are fit for military service, in accordance with the policy which has been inaugurated throughout the County. William Mines presided and a committee of which Robert Shaw was the convener was appointed to take charge of the work. Committee met Monday night and completed the list.

A Patriotic recruiting meeting was also held announced for the village of Walton. It was to be held in the A.O.U.W Hall on February 22 in the afternoon, with the Women’s meeting. Nurse Neelin of Seaforth and a returned soldier from the war and others will speak. “Let everybody come and hear the message from the trenches.”

The East Wawanosh council was approached by a delegation of the Patriotic Society, when they met at the Belgrave Hall. The Society asked them for a grant to the Canadian Red Cross Society to aid their work, work that the Governer General of Canada supported.

The Morris council responded to a similar request by donating $25 to the Red Cross Circle in Morris Township.

The Canadian Red Cross Society in Toronto sent a letter acknowledging and thanking the Red Cross circle in Morris Township for their generous donation of items needed by the men at the front.

In Morris Township, on February 17, 1917, the Brussels Post wrote that the Women’s Institute and Red Cross circle would be convening on February 24th at the home of Mrs. William Holt. The program included an excellently prepared paper on “Good Form in Public” by Miss Jennie Simpson, followed by sewing and knitting for Red Cross purposes. The paper wrote, “Let every women in the vicinity become interested in work and spend a profitable afternoon at the home of Mrs. Holt.”

The teachers and pupils of the Bluevale school held an enjoyable literary last Friday (Feb 11) to which the public were invited and quite a few attended. The leading event was a debate on the subject, “Resolved that the airship is more useful in war than the submarine.” Despite well-argued points by both the sides, the affirmative side, in support of airships won the evening’s debate.

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