Huron Men Given Harvest Furlough to Help Bring in the Crops

Battalion Events – July 20, 1916

On July 20, 1916, the Goderich Signal printed a report in the Lads in Khaki column from Corporal Ernie Warner, a former Signal reporter. He wrote from Camp Borden that “For the next several weeks, men of the 161st will be given harvest furlough. They will be allowed to return to their homes to help harvest crops, if it is evident their presence and help is needed.” He also wrote, “While here, in Camp Borden, we have been issued with straw hats, which, though not adding greatly to our appearance, have added greatly to our comfort.”

Throughout the war, the Goderich Signal published many stories of military interest. One of their stories on the 161st Huron Battalion’s brass band was reprinted in The Canadian Bandsman. One of the quotes from the article stated that “Bandsman S.D. Grant is proud of his 37-piece band. When he took command of it last January, there were only 11 members, most of them being former members of The Clinton Kilties, a pipes and drums band. A few were from Wingham, like Basil Mundy and his brother, Theo were in this group from Wingham. Since then, Bandmaster S.D. Grant has increased it to the present number, most of the new members being recruited from the Huron County Militia.”

James Fairfull Commissioned as Captain

Battalion Events – July 6, 1916

On July 6, 1916, James Fairfull (654806) received his commission as Captain. He was the chaplain for the 161st Huron Battalion. According to Harry Cochrane, Captain James Fairfull was a tall, thin man, who also served as a chaplain during WWII in Camp Borden. He enlisted in Clinton on May 15, 1916.

Privates Milton Lake, Lyle McCracken and Roy Thuell, all of the Brussels Company of the 161st Huron Battalion, joined the machine gun section under the command of Lieutenant Porter.

Enlistments – July 6, 1916

One man enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion on July 6, 1916.

654884, KEYES, (Pte.) Thomas Malcolm, Hensall’s Own, born on January 27, 1897 in Varna, ON, enlisted at the 161st Huron Battalion’s basic training camp, Wolseley Barracks in London, ON. His next of kin was his father, W.F. Keyes of Varna, ON in Stanley Township. Thomas Malcolm Keyes was a book-keeper in Varna before he enlisted. At 19 years, 6 months, he was 5’ 6” tall with a ruddy complexion, brown eyes and brown hair and was of the Presbyterian faith. Private Tom Keyes was photographed with Hensall’s Own kneeling in the 3rd row, 12th from the left.

Private T.M. Keyes did not survive WWI. He is commemorated as Malcolm Keyes on the Stanley Township War Memorial cairn in Varna, ON.

Joseph Latronica Enlists in 161st

Enlistments – June 28, 1916

One man enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion on June 28, 1916 and survived the war.

654882, LATRONICA, (Pte.) Joseph, “A” Company, enlisted on June 28, 1916 in London, ON. His next of kin was his wife, Margaret Latronica from Wingham, ON.

Prior to enlisting, Joseph Latronica was a moulder for the Western Foundry in Wingham, ON. Joseph Latronica was born in April 28, 1872 in Sloansea, Wales, England. Private Latronica had 12 years military experience in England with Imperial Forces prior to enlistment.

At 44, he was 5’, 6.5” tall with ruddy complexion, blue eyes and dark hair and was Methodist. According to the 1911 census, he and his wife, Margaret E. Watcher, daughter of John and Elizabeth Westlake Watcher lived in Wingham with his son, William John (b. 1909)

When Private Joseph Latronica arrived in England, he was transferred to “the 1st Canadian Battalion, where “he saw a lot of heavy firing and although not actually engaged in it, he was almost constantly on the firing line.”

While bringing up supplies to the front line with a team of horses he was driving, the horses were killed by a big shell. A piece of the shell struck him on the head. Although he was picked up and assumed dead, he was alive and soon transferred to a hospital. After a few days, he returned to duty and stayed on the job until the end of the war.

By war’s end, Private Joseph Latronica was made corporal.

His wife, Mrs. Latronica, had forty-nine relatives who were all on the firing line,” according to the book, War Memorial of Huron County’s Heroes and Heroines, published in 1919.

Joseph Latronica survived WWI and by 1935 was living at R.R. 1, Wingham, ON. He died in 1939 and was buried in the Bluevale Cemetery.

Robert Hoover of Brussels Enlists

Enlistments – June 26, 1916

One man enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion on June 26, 1916 and returned home after the war.

654881, HOOVER, (Pte.) Robert Harvey, “A” Company, born on February 5, 1895 in West Wawanosh Township, enlisted in London, ON on June 26, 1916. His next of kin was his father, Robert J. Hoover of Brussels, ON.

Prior to enlisting, Private Robert Harvey Hoover worked as a school teacher in Brussels, ON. At 21, he was 5’, 9” with a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and brown hair and was a Methodist, according to his attestation papers.

At some point, while serving with the 58th Battalion of the Central Ontario Regiment in France, Robert Hoover was promoted to Lieutenant. Lieutenant Robert Hoover was awarded the Military Medal.

Robert Hoover survived WWI and in 1935 was living in Listowel, ON.