Battalion Events – August 29-31, 1916 – First Presentation of the Colours
“During the years of the First World War (1914-1918) there was a group of young ladies in Exeter known as the “Soldiers’ Aid Society,” namely Misses Lillian Boyle, Etta May Bowey, Valeria Bedford, Edna Bissett, Amy Dow, Stella Gilles, Lula Martin, Irene Rivers, Stella Southcott, Ida Wambold, under the leadership of Miss L. Johns, Mrs. R.M. Creech and Mrs. W.J. Heaman.
The Society raised several thousand dollars by various types of entertainment, social functions and donations to purchase yarn for socks, Red Cross supplies and materials for hospitals. They also purchased the 161st Battalion Regimental Colours at a cost of $255 from the Dominion of Regalia Co. in Toronto.
A number of the Society travelled to Camp Borden to present the Colours to the Battalion on August 29, 1916. Rev. D.W. Collins, a former rector of Trivitt Memorial Church, Exeter, spoke on behalf of the presentation committee and Captain J.K. Fairfull, Chaplain of the Battalion, consecrated the Colours.
On Thursday, August 31, 1916, the Ladies’ Aid Society of Exeter presented the 161st Huron Battalion with its colours.
Mrs. R.M. Creech presented the King’s Colours to Major R.S. Hays, received by Lieutenant M.C. McLean; Miss L. Johns presented the Regimental Colours to Major W.J. Heaman, received by Lieutenant R.A. Walters. Colonel S.C. Mewburn of Army Headquarters was present at the ceremony and presented Company Sergeant Major George James with the Long Service Medal.” (From the journal of Lieut. Cpl. J.K. Cornish, Clinton Branch 140, Royal Canadian Legion)
Mrs. Johns presented the regimental colours. Those present included member of Battalion headquarters, the Brigade staff, officers commanding other Battalions and 40 guests from Huron County.
Reverend D.W. Pollins, of the Trivitt Memorial Church in Exeter made an address, to which the commanding officer of the Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel H.R. Coombes, made a suitable reply.
The colour party consisted of Major R.S. Hayes from whom Lieutenant H. C. McLean received the King’s colours and Major W.J. Heamen from whom Lieutenant R.A. Walters received the regimental colours. Captain J.K. Fairful, chaplain of the Battalion consecrated the colours.
A march past was held with Colonel S.C. Mewburn of A.A.G District No. 2 taking the salute.