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It happened this week in 1917

May 26 – June 1: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

May 26 – June 1: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives


Moyie news … Frank Conrad returned this week from Cranbrook in his new Ford car. The first resident of Moyie to invest in an automobile.

For sale! … Lot 25, Block 87, fronting on Baker Street; price only $175. This is a splendid investment.—Apply to Beale & Elwell.

News of boys at the front … We regret to report the death of Pte. John Macdonald who was killed in action on April 9th at Vimy Ridge. France. Pte. Macdonald, before enlisting, was a machinist apprentice in the C.P.R. shops here. He left Cranbrook with the 225th Battalion and went overseas with the 131st Battalion from Vernon. After reaching England he was drafted into the 29th Battalion. The Herald joins with the whole community in extending its sympathy to the bereaved parents.

Alive and well … It has been repeatedly reported that Major C. Hungerford Pollen was killed in action on 1st March. We are pleased to state that there is no foundation whatever for this report. Major Pollen is at present in Bristol, England, and his last letter was dated 9th May, when he was quite well.

Magnificent work of YMCA at Vimy Ridge … Right on the heels of the dashing Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge, the Y.M.C.A. men were serving out biscuits and chocolate free to the tired men. Brigadier-General Odium, 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade, bestowed high praise on them in the following letter to Capt. J. Wallace, Senior Y. M. C .A. officer in France:

“My Dear Wallace.—I want to let you know how much I was impressed with the work done by the Y.M.C.A. during the recent operations. It was simply magnificent. Almost before the place was consolidated, your representative had a distributing centre at the top of Hill 145, the crest of Vimy Ridge, and was serving biscuits and chocolate to the men. All ranks are enthusiastic.

I have taken the liberty of recommending one of your officers for a Military Cross, and I sincerely hope it goes through

The Y.M.C.A. has endeared itself to the soldiers in France as no other institution has.”

Very sincerely, (sgd) Victor Odium, Brig. Gen.


Thanks from Carl Gill … South Camp, Seaford, May 5, 1917- Dear Mrs. Sarvis.— I wish to thank you and others of the G. I. A. for your contributions to the box which arrived O. K. on the 2nd May. It was posted on the 25th of March.

I am still in quarantine but expect to get out in another week at least I sincerely hope so, as we are heartily sick of this confinement especially as all the boys are going or have gone over to France; most of them have gone, officers and all.

The weather has been fine lately, ideal summer weather if it wasn’t for the wind, which has been blowing strongly.

Bert Murgatroyd left in a draft the day before yesterday and Ashton Powers left this camp at the same time for France. We have heard recently that Harry Banfield and Bert Black of Fernie have been killed but you will know that by now.

I have about reached the limit of my ability to write more so I will have to close for want of time before supper. I am “dine orderly” and have to attend to the grub.

Again thanking you, I remain, yours sincerely, Carl A. Gill, No.931325

A letter from Charlie Baker … A letter has been received by W. C. Marshall from Charlie Baker, the late Lieut. Banfield’s partner, enclosing a copy of letter from Captain J. J. Martin, Lieut. Banfield’s superior officer. The numerous friends of Major Black and Lieut. Banfield will, be deeply interested in hearing first hand particulars of their heroic death.

Dear Baker.— Your letter of 23rd inst. addressed to Major Black has been referred to me. Poor Black was wounded on the 9th at Vimy Ridge and died of wounds on the 12th.

He and Banfield went out about a month ago and were with the 54th. They were both assigned important objectives in the operation. Banfield had the further advanced post and Black was next to him. They both reached their objectives but when Banfield reached his outposts he found that his party was being infiltrated with machine gun fire from both flanks. He retired his party slightly and was hit while covering the move of his men. He managed to get back to the main position.

Ashcroft, another 103rd boy, a lad from Vernon, started to dress his wounds but found he was too far gone.

Ashcroft then got a Lewis gun and started operating it himself but was soon sniped.

Meantime Black who was wounded three times was taken in. He was absolutely fearless and fought like a lion.

Banfield and Ashcroft were buried in a little cemetery in a little village near the line.

This cruel war is taking its heartless toll from all parts of the Empire and from all classes. Black and Banfield are gone. They died fighting for home and liberty. Others will willingly take up the burden where they left off. And will carry on to victory.

Sincerely yours, (Capt.) J. J. Martin.


Sergt. W. L. MacGregor writes … Somewhere in France. April. Your letters to hand yesterday and very pleased to hear from you and glad to know you are all well.

Well, people, I admit I have had quite a few little fights in my days but the scraps I just participated in during Easter week last, was the most sensational, exciting, and how I escaped with my hide is miraculous.

I must say as I sure had some very narrow escapes. We ventured over the top to push Fxxxz back under the most terrific artillery bombardment the world has known and we kept it up for a week under the worst weather conditions seen here for years.

It has snowed almost six inches besides plenty of rain and cold winds which sure was hard on the troops and what I mean, muddy, but we sure gained our point and the Canadians made some name for themselves in the history of the great war.

Many of my pals dropped on all sides of me but the Lord must have been with me as I consider myself awful lucky to survive it all.

We are at present taking a little rest before starting out again and only hope I pull through O.K. as I will sure have some experience to relate.

Say listen, when I had to stand in the open trenches all night long under the severe conditions prevailing, on very little grub in sight, why ask me if I thought of Cranbrook? What I mean most if I ever get back I will know how to appreciate a little comforts.

With best regards to all, I remain, Sergt. W. L. McGregor.

Fall fair … An enthusiastic and successful meeting of the Cranbrook Agricultural Association was held on Monday evening when it was decided to hold a Fall Fair about the middle of September. The exact date will be announced later.

Among other schemes it was decided to hold a guest membership ticket selling contest to start on June 15th. As in former years the membership fee will be $1. Contestants in this competition will be paid 10% on all monies collected and the contestant who sells the greater number of membership cards will also be presented with a gold wrist watch or any other article he or she may wish to the value of $25. The competition will start on June 15th and close on August 1st. It is necessary that the names of persons desiring to enter this contest be in the hands of the Secretary, Mr. W. C. Marshall, not later than Monday the 11th June. Books of Tickets will be given out on Thursday evening, June 14th at the office of the Agricultural Association in the City Hall, from 7.30 to 8.30.

The directors have made arrangements for motor cars to be placed at the disposal of any of the contestants who may wish to sell tickets out of town.

Tribute to late Lieut. Harrison … (The following is taken from the Burnley Express, England, through the kindness of Mr. Thos. Bates of Kingsgate, B. C.)

Old boys of the Burnley Grammer School will deeply regret to hear that Lieut. William Harrison, of the Canadian Scots, was killed in action on Easter Monday. Official news was received on Saturday noon, by wire from the Canadian Record Office, by his brother, Mr. James Harrison, cotton manufacturer, of 355, Manchester road, as follows:

“Regret exceeding to inform you Lieut. William Harrison, 54th Battalion Canadians, killed in action, April 9th.”

William was the eldest of four brothers, sons of the late Mr. John Harrison, and who were early left orphans. They lived in Ormerod road, and all passed through the Grammer School.

William was there in the time of Mr. J. Langfield Ward, M. A. He was endowed with a strong physique, and was a leader in all vigorous games such as football, cricket, running, and swimming, and he had a most lovable disposition, and was one of the truest of sportsmen.

After leaving school, he qualified as a chemist, and was for a time at Malvern, where he joined the Queen’s Own Worcestershire Yeomanry. Then he came back to Burnley to the business of tallow chandlers and oil merchants in Bridge-street, in which the family were concerned. Here he took part in various sports, and was one of the founders of and players with the original Belvedere Football Club— an amateur organization which gained no little credit in Lancashire and Cheshire. About thirteen years ago he elected to go to Canada.

There could be no doubt that he had in him the spirit of the old pioneers. In that colony he went out “real West,” having an extensive wheat farm near Calgary, which he still possessed and was managed for him at the time of his death.

He had of recent years also had a responsible position in the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was stationed in the heart of the Rockies on the borders of British Columbia. As a matter of fact, when war broke out, he was in British Columbia, and on the day when Britain declared war he gave in his name as one of the first volunteers in the prospective Canadian forces to be raised.

First he was attached to the 16th Canadian (Scottish), and wore a kilted uniform.

His previous experience with the Yeomanry soon gained for him the rank of sergeant, and it was as Sergt. W. Harrison that he fought at Ypres in April, 1915.

It was the time when the Canadians were attacked with gas for the first time. Harrison was not “gassed,” but was wounded in the shoulder, some of the bone being splintered. When he came to Burnley on being discharged from hospital it was the first time his brother and his many friends had seen him for a dozen years.

After his recovery, which took some time, he was offered a commission, and after his training was gazetted a full lieutenant in the 54th Canadian Battalion last September, and went out again to France in October.

The date of his death corresponds with the historic capture by the Canadians on Easter Monday of the key position of Vimy Ridge, and there can be no doubt that Lieut. W. Harrison took a manly part in that glorious achievement.

He was just 41 years of age. His youngest brother, Edward, who was a master at the Leeds Training College, his specialty being mathematics, is now at the front as a second lieutenant in the R.G.A.

Baseball … The baseball game played on the local grounds between Cranbrook and Kimberley on May 24th resulted in a win for the visiting team by a score of 16-8.

The line-up was as follows Kimberley: Richardson, 1st base; Driscoll, 2nd base; Newman, s. stop; Newman, 3rd base; Crerer, Pitcher; Chenoweth, Catcher; O’Brien, 1. field; Hughes, r. field; Cranbrook: Adamson, 1st base; McIlwaine, 2nd base; Dallas and McKay, s. stop; Sullivan, 3rd base; Patterson and Musser, Pitcher; Cory catcher; Kay, 1. field; McKay, r. field; Patterson and Mott, c. field.

Dan McEachern, Kimberley, acted as umpire.


Whitsun services at Christ Church … The services at Christ Church on Sunday were unusually happy and well attended. The newly robed choir in their cassocks and surplices and “mortar boards” rendered the music with freshness and reverence and proved a great assistance in leading the singing which was congregational throughout.

Mr. Bridge in the evening sermon spoke with great optimism of the future of religion in this country, and the world at large. He believed the mind of the world today was better prepared to receive the message of righteousness, truth and love than, it had ever been.

Downright wickedness was getting less and less apparent but the Church itself would need cleansing and reforming if it was to remain the interpreter of the nobler life to the coming age.

Get together … The local newspaper should be regarded as the integral part of the community, and essential to its welfare and for this reason if for no other, it is entitled to receive the active support and assistance of every individual and business firm in the district.

A live local newspaper in any go-ahead up-to-date city is more than an important factor it is a necessity and the standard of the paper is in proportion to the support given. There is sometimes a tendency to allow our trivial animosities to submerge our higher ideals of citizenship. The time to sink these bitter party feelings has surely come.

These are the days for the big things of life when all men and women should get together and pull together and stick together on all matters of a constructive nature pertaining to the welfare of the District in this way we can all do our small bit towards up-building the British Empire.

The immense undeveloped resources of East Kootenay are needed, our hidden mineral wealth, our lumber, the production of our agricultural lands are badly wanted. The opportunity is ours.

The local newspaper is a necessary factor. It can help to get things going but if it is to be a vital force, it must receive adequate support or its usefulness is nullified. What is a local newspaper? It acts as a focus for the thought of the community. It is impossible for all the people to get together and tell each other what they are doing and what they are thinking about. B

ut the newspaper is here so that the people can get together in their actions and thoughts. It is a duty of a newspaper to tell its readers what is going onlocally, and it is the duty of the readers to supply the newspapers with paragraphs of news and with articles of public interest.

And as the newspaper is in the above way a centre of news andthought, it is also a bazaar for the buying and selling of tangible articles.

It is an entropot for the gathering together and distribution of news, thoughts and merchandise.