Only 29 Men Enlist in April

Enlistments – April 29, 1916

On April 29, 1916, 2 men enlisted in the 161st Huron Battalion. Only 29 men enlisted in the 161st Huron Battalion in April.

654758, CRICH, (Pte.) Wilfred Victor, (M.M.) “C” Company, enlisted on April 29, 1916 in Clinton. His next of kin was Onslow Crich of Clinton, ON.

Pte. Wilfred V. Crich went onto the battlefield in France with the 18th Battalion. Through his service in Arras, Amiens, Cambria and Mons, he earned the rank of Corporal. While serving overseas with the 18th Battalion of the Western Ontario Regiment, Private Wilfred Crich was awarded the Military Medal, the enlisted men’s award for valour at the Battle of Arras.

After Wilfred Crich returned home, he attended the University of Toronto and graduated in 1920 with a degree in education. In 1935, Wilfred Crich was listed as living at 144 Saint Germaine St. in Toronto, ON.

654762, RILEY, (Pte.) George, “D” Company, enlisted in Clinton but since his 1916 address was R.R. 2 Seaforth, he was a member of D Company.

Private George Riley survived the war. In 1935, he was listed as being a returned soldier living in Seaforth.

Soldiers’ News on the Homefront

Huron County War News – April 27, 1916

At a Belgrave Patriotic Meeting, the following enlisted soldiers were called to the platform for a presentation of wrist watches with illuminated dials – R. Irvin Ferguson, James McCallum, Richard Fay, Harry Pye, John Tasker, Bert Tasker, John Anderson, Charles Coultes, Austin Campbell, Albert Price, Albert Horn and William Sutton.

The “Belmore” column of the Brussels Post reported that:

Carter McKee of Galt was home for a few days

Privates W. Abraham, G. Marshall and W. Marshall of Teeswater area spent Sunday with their parents.

The “Jamestown” column of the Brussels Post noted that Pte. Ralph Shaw, formerly of the 3rd line of Morris Township had typhoid fever and was being treated in a Medicine Hat hospital.

The “Morris” column of the Brussels Post reported that Dr. J. McCracken, who recently enlisted as medical staff. He was in the area visiting old friends.

Frank Cloakey and his mother, Mrs. Cloakey, came up from Toronto to visit old friends in Morris Township. Frank enlisted with one of the Toronto city companies. His father, W.H. Cloakey, worked in the Toronto audit office of the C.P.R.

April – A Slow Month for Recruits

Enlistments – April 26, 1916

There was 1 enlistment on April 26, 1916 with the 161st Huron Battalion.

654754, LOWRY, (Pte.) Edgar Frank, “C” Company, enlisted on April 26, 1916 in Clinton. His next of kin was George Lowry of Brussels, ON.

Private Edgar F. Lowry survived WWI. He may have family in the R.R. 1 Kincardine area. In 1935, Edgar Lowry was listed as living at 405 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON.

Two Enlistments on April 25

Enlistments – April 25, 1916

On April 25, 1916, 2 men enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion.

654753, BIRNEY, (Pte.) William George, “C” Company, enlisted on April 25, 1916 in Exeter. His next of kin was Charles William Birney of Exeter, ON.

Private William G. Birney survived WWI. In 1935, William Birney was living at 445 Glenlake Ave., Toronto, ON.

654752, REID, (Pte.) Edward Dawson, “Bandsman,” enlisted on April 25, 1916 in Clinton. His next of kin was James F. Reid of Seaforth, ON. Private Edward D. Reid, also known as “Daws”, was photographed with the 161st Brass Band at Camp Borden in the middle row, 5th from the left, holding a baritone horn.

Private Edward Reid survived WWI. In 1935, Ed Reid was a Customs Collector with the Federal civil service in Guelph, ON.

Two More Recruits

Enlistments – April 21, 1916

On April 21, 1916, only 2 men enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion.

654757, CHAPMAN, (Sgt.) William Almon, “Bandsman” enlisted in Goderich. His next of kin was Mrs. Elizabeth J. Chapman of Seaforth, ON. According to Bill Chapman’s brother, Garnet Chapman, a retired dentist in Fort Erie,  “Before enlisting, my brother, Bill, was playing hockey at Goderich and had played briefly (as a goalkeeper) for a professional Cleveland team.”

“While he was with the 161st, he played a clarinet with the Battalion’s brass band and he was leader of the 161st Brass Band in Canada.” Sergeant William A. Chapman was photographed with Sergeants G. James, C. Rance and W.O. Goodwin in a photo featured in the original manuscript of Huron Overseas. Sergeant Bill Chapman’s older brother, Herb Chapman, also enlisted but was killed in action at the Regina Trench during WWI.

After the war, Bill Chapman was a railroad clerk and lived in Trenton, ON. He later moved to Pembroke. He died on April 6, 1974 in his 84th year.

654761, PRIEST, (Pte.) James Alexander, “Hensall’s Own,” enlisted in Hensall. His next of kin was James Priest of Hensall, ON.

Private James A. Priest was one of three Battalion members to be decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The other two members were N.W. Miller and L. Armstrong. Private James Priest was photographed with Hensall’s Own in the top row at the extreme right.

In 1935, James Priest was  residing at 1915 Union Street, Port Huron, Michigan, USA.

News of Battalion Members

161st Battalion News – April 20, 1916

It was noted in the “Morris” column that “Morris Township is expected to add another 25 to the enlistment roll.

161st Battalion News – April 20, 1916

It was noted in the “Morris” column that “Morris Township is expected to add another 25 to the enlistment roll. Harold Kerney joined the Wingham Company last week. Good boy.”

In the “Moncrief” column of the Brussels Post, it was reported that the young people of Moncrieff entertained the soldiers from the neighbourhood at a banquet given in the basement of the church. The soldiers were presented with fountain pens as token of the community’s esteem. There were 21 young men from the congregation who had enlisted so far.

The “Bluevale” column of the Brussels Post reported that:

Private Harold Homes was home over Sunday

Private Herb Powell was home for 30 days to assist with seeding

Private Leslie McKinney and Harold Karney went to Wingham to commence drilling exercises that week.

Private Harold Kerney, of Morris Township, recently joined the 161st Huron Battalion in Wingham. On a visit to Brussels on Saturday, April 15, he was presented with a fine gold monogram ring at The Brussels Post publishing house. Rev. D. Wren read the presentation address and Alex Speir made the presentation. Pte. Kerney made a thank-you speech.

Community War News

In the “Morris” column of the Brussels Post, the paper reported that W.H Cantlon, a brother to Mrs. T. Pierce of the East gravel road, and an old Morris boy, enlisted with the 137th Battalion in Calgary. He was the son of the late Peter Cantlon of Morris Township.