During the year 1912, General Samuel Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defense for Canada, agreed to place in the Dominion estimates a sum of money towards erecting an Armoury in Oshawa. Dr. Kaiser and Col. J. F. Grierson were appointed to select a site, and immediately secured options upon the property now occupied for the purpose referred to. There was no delay on their part, and less delay on the part of General Hughes in executing the wishes of Parliament. On the 25th May 1914, the Minister visited Oshawa and performed the ceremony of opening the Armouries. A splendid day’s programme was concluded by a magnificent military ball in the evening. Little did it occur to any one present that evening, that on the 14th of August of the same year, there would march from the doors cf that Armoury, Oshawa’s contribution to the first Canadian contingent, for the Greatest War of all history. From the beginning of the war, until its conclusion, the town secured a total enlistment cf 1500 men. Many of these soldiers participated in some of the great battles of the war, St. Julian, Vimy Ridge, Valenciens, Lens ,etc. It is not our purpose here to give a history of the war but merely to record the names of those from Oshawa who were reported in the casualty list as having made the “Supreme Sacrifice.” We will also set forth briefly the work of the Patriotic Society ; and give a summary of what was done by the Red Cross of Oshawa.
It may be stated here that Oshawa had contributed men to the conflicts of the Empire in other days, and, although incomplete, we subjoin the following: In 1875 the Parliament of Canada voted a gratuity of $20.00 to the survivors of the war of 1812 and 1814. Nearly all the men who were then alive had passed their eightieth year. Oshawa had four names on this list, Samuel Cochrane, George Fisher, Thomas Henry, and Moses Martin.
During the Red River Rebellion of 1885, Oshawa was represented by Col. G. F. Grierson and Major Robert Dillon and Private A. Cayley. The Boer War of 1899 and 1900 found us with Norman Rae and Harry Keeler in line. The Fenian Raid of 1866 found many volunteers in this town ready to stand for Canada and the Empire. These volunteers were presented with medals in 1898 ; a complete list of whom is hereby appended.
Department of Militia and Defence Ottawa, March 8, 1912 Dear Sir:
Having reference to your letter of 5th March, instant, addressed to The Honourable the Minister of Militia and Defence, asking for the names of gentlemen in Oshawa who received the Fenian Raid Medal in June, 1898, I beg to enclose herewith a list showing the names of those who resided at Oshawa at the time the Medal was issued, and showing the date of issue.
The Red Cross
There was no recognized local organization of the Red Cross in the town when the war started. Some broad minded women gathered together first in an attic on King St. at the home of Miss Henderson and another band of women also gathered at the home of Mrs. Pedlar and worked on bandages with cotton they had bought themselves. Finding they had to have money they tried innumerable ways of raising same and by means of home-made cooking booths at the market ; bridge, euchres, dances, raffles, teas, tag days, street fairs and membership campaigns, enough money was gathered together to buy a few webs of cotton. Before the local charter was granted there were four or five of those little bands of women working individually, but the time came when organized effort was required and a local Red Cross organization was formed with W .E. N. Sinclair as President, Mrs. Cowan as Convener and Mrs. N. Hezzelwood as Secretary. With fear and trembling they entered upon the real work of providing for the necessities of the soldiers.
From the beginning of the war to October 1915 – $ 6666.58 was raised
1915 ” ” 1916 4029.45
1916 ” ” 1917 21570.57
1917 ” ” 1918 25924.82
1918 ” ” 1919 30785.89
1919 ” ” 1920 2450.45
The Red Cross Society was formally recognized on June 21st, 1915. The officers : President, W. E. N. Sinclair ; Vice President, G. W. McLaughlin ; Honorary Vice Presidents, T. H. Everson, Dr, McKay, Dr. Hoig, Dr. Ford, Dr. Kaiser ; Secretary-Treasurer J. P. Owens. The Ladies’s Executive with Mrs. Cowan as Convener, and Mrs. Hezzelwood who acted as Secretary, were Mrs. Mrs. McAdie, Mrs. Bale, Mrs. Frank Robinson, Mrs. Morphy, Mrs. Woodruff, Mrs. Dyer, Mrs. Stalter, Mrs. Frank Bull, Mrs. Lavis, Mrs. Schofield, Mrs. Owens, Mrs. Drew, Mrs. Valleau, Mrs. Geikie, Mrs. Donald Hall, Mrs. Schell.
Rev. John Garbutt and Dr. Rundle have been added as Honorary Vice Presidents. Mrs. Hezzelwood succeeded J. P. Owens as Treasurer after he left town.
After the formal organization Mr. T. H. Everson loaned the Society rooms on King St. East. where all the ladies met for sewing. The following Chapters were formed to carry on the sewing : Kitchener Chapter ; Florence Nightingale ; W.C. T.U. ; Clara Barton ; Ryerson ; Edith Cavell Chapter of Bishop Bethune College ; St. Gregory’s Chapter; Princess Pats ; Queen Mary ; Christian Church ; Ever Ready Chapter ; Baptist Church. Thornton’s Corners. The ladies at Ebenezer and Zion also contributed largely to the sewing supplies.
The organization was very complete for the carrying out of the work, Cutting Committees, Inspection Committees and Packing Committees were formed and the work systematically carried on throughout the Ontario period of the war.
The amount of sewing that was done in the room can be estimated when 506 cases were shipped overseas throughout the war. These cases contained 124,829 articles.
The Oshawa Society had a very large membership, probably no larger in the Dominion. The membership consisted of 241 life members, 2,535 annual members, 2,460 associated members ,making a total membership of 5,236.
The Patriotic Fund
Ontario county is one of a group of large counties in which, mainly owing to the existence of several important centres, it was found either impossible or inadvisable to form a county organization. Instead, the county was divided into sections, each of which was placed under the jurisdiction of a local committee dealing direct with Ottawa. In Ontario county these committees were formed at Oshawa, Port Perry, Uxbridge, Whitby and in Reach Township.
The county only failed by some $3,000 from being self-supporting, having remitted $240,678,- 23 and drawn $243,926.20. ”
The first step taken towards the relief of soldiers’ dependents in Oshawa was early in September, 1914, when a committee of the town council was formed and given a grant from the funds of the town with which to assist such families. Working in co-operation with this committee was the Oshawa Contingent and Relief Committees, an organization of ladies, to which Miss Jessie Dillon acted as secretary.
It was on October 9, 1914, that the citizens of Oshawa decided to follow the example of many other places and form a branch of the national fund. This decision followed a visit from W. S. Dinnick and G. A. Warburton, both of Toronto. Colonel J. F. Grierson was elected president, T. B. Mitchell, chairman of relief committee, Dr. T. E. Kaiser, secretary, and G. H. Black, treasurer. All these gentlemen have held office continuously with the exception of G. H. Black, who was succeeded in January 1915, by M. J. Rowe.
Beyond the sum of about $21,000 raised in 1914, Oshawa did not subscribe direct to the fund, but bore its share indirectly through the extra taxation necessitated by the county council grants, wihch amounted, all told, to $214,000. The disbursements of the branch, which assisted 418 families, reached by June 30, 1919, $164,504.42, of which only $467.30 was expended in administration, or less than one-third of one per cent. Port Perry.
Organized on June 7, 1915. President, June 7, 1915, to January 10, 1916, J. McE. Murray ; January 10, 1916, to present time, W. L. Parrish ; treasurer, June 7, 1915, to November 20, 1917, S. Jeffrey ; November 20, 1917, to present time, H. J. White ; secretary, W. S. Short, who has held office continuously. Amount subscribed, $4,800; amount requisitioned, $5,986.70; number of families assisted, 27.
Organized July 12, 1916. President, J. S. Dobson ; vice-president, Rev. E. C. Hunter ; secretary-treasurer, W. F. Dobson ; chairman of relief committee, J. Baird. Amount subscribed, $2,- 234.21 ; amount requisitioned, $2,479 ; number of families assisted, 12. ,
Organized on July 26, 1915. President, A. McPhail ; vice-president, A. E. Miller ; secretary, W. S. Ormiston ; treasurer, W. S. Lapp. Amount subscribed $2,000; amount requisitioned, $9,995.50.
The Whitby branch of the Canadian Patriotic Fund was organized on May 29, 1915, with officers as follows: Hon. president, Col. J. E. Farewell; president, Dr. F. Warren ; vice-president, J. H. Downey ; secretary, C. A. Goodfellow, treasurer, A. A. Atkinson. On December 3, 1915, Mr. Atkinson was succeeded in office by S. D. Terry, and on October 4, 1917, the duties of treasurer were taken over by Mr. Goodfellow. On October 10th, H. Merritt was appointed assistant secretary-treasurer, and upon the death of Mr. Goodfellow, became secretary-treasurer on February 19, 1919.
The amount of money raised and remitted to Ottawa was $5,000, of which $300 was granted – by the municipal council of Whitby. In addition, Whitby contributed its share of the Ontario county council grant. The amount expended in relief was $70,162.33, and in administration $474.14.
The total number of families assisted by regular monthly or compassionate grants was 209.