161st Huron Battalion, Belgrave, Brussels Company, Clifford Rowland, Clinton, Ed McLeod, Enlistment, Exeter, Hector Chesney, Leslie Perrie, Louis Day, Morris Township, Robert Lawson, W.J. Henderson, Wilfrid Thomson, William MacNaughton, William Ward
Enlistments – March 30, 1916
Three men enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion on March 30, 1916. One man did not return home.
654730, CHESNEY, (Pte.) Hector David, “D” Company, enlisted in Clinton on March 30, 1916. His next of kin was Ms. Jean Chesney of Seaforth, ON. H.D. Chesney was photographed with Seaforth’s Own.
Private Hector D. Chesney survived WWI and returned to Seaforth. In 1976, Hector Chesney talked with historian Sandy MacDonald about the Boer War and told him that “Frank Williams was a veteran of the South African war. In fact, he used to work as a labourer, digging ditches for my Dad.” Hector David Chesney was a life-long member of the Branch 156 Royal Canadian Legion in Seaforth.
654711, DAY, (Pte.) Louis Edgar, “C” Company, enlisted in Exeter on March 30, 1916. His next of kin was Louis Day of Exeter, ON.
Private Louis Edgar Day survived WWI. L.E. Day returned to Exeter to live and was still there in 1935 when N.W. Miller compiled his nominal roll for the 161st Huron Battalion Reunion. Louis E. Day died on August 5, 1975 at the age of 86.
654714, McNAUGHTON, (Pte.) William Middleton, enlisted in Clinton on March 30, 1916. His next of kin was John McNaughton of Varna, ON. While Private Bill M. McNaughton trained with the Battalion, he was a member of the Stretcher-bearers’ unit. He was photographed with the Red Cross Soliders of the 161st Huron Overseas Battalion kneeling in the front row, 2nd from the left. This photo appeared in the April 1980 edition of the Clinton News-Record.
While serving overseas in France, Private Bill McNaughton was awarded the Military Medal, which was given out for bravery in the field. Private William Middleton did not survive WWI. He was fatally wounded during the Battle for Arras in late August 1918.
Huron County War News – March 30, 1916
Under the heading “161st Battalion Notes” in the Brussels Post, they reported that “the recruits added to the roll of Brussels Company during the past week were: Ed McLeod, Leslie Perrie, Clifford Rowland, William Ward, Robert Lawson, Wilfrid Thomson and W.J. Henderson.
Later in the paper, it was noted that Robert Lawson, a “well-known resident of the 8th line” of Morris Township “decided that it was his duty to show his loyalty to the old flag and his patriotism to the Land of the Maple by shouldering a rifle and going to the defence of the Empire. He is arranging for the working of his 100 acre farm and taken his place in the ranks of Brussels Company. This is a fine example of sacrifice and service and is most commendable and stimulating. There are a hundred young men in Morris who could get away easier if as enthusiastic as “Bob.”
Huron County Soldiers
A reception was held for an enlisted soldier, Pte. W.H. Cook, who enlisted with the 71st Battalion. He came to the home of John Barr, on the 4th line of Morris Township, from Stratford, where he had been training, to say goodbye to his sister, Miss Florence Cook, a housekeeper for Mr. Barr. Pte. W.H. Cook was presented with a wrist watch by his sister and the evening was spent in song, story, instrumental music and dancing. It concluded with a tasty lunch. Pte. Cook sang the 71st Battalion song and the party ended with all singing the National Anthem and the exchange of good wishes for Pte. Cook as he does his duty at the “front in the interests of humanity.”
At the Belgrave Presbyterian Church, an evening was held to present bibles to 12 area young men who were on the Honor Roll of the Presbyterian Church and “now wearing the King’s colors.” It was put on by the Young Peoples’ Guild of Knox Church.
A memorial service was held Duff’s Church in Walton on March 26 for Pte. Cleve McDonald. The service was largely attended, with Rev. Mr. Lundy giving a sermon based on the scripture from II Timothy – “Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”