John Charles Pearson signature

John Charles Pearson enlisted on this day in 1915 in Calgary, Alberta, where he was working as a stockman. He was born in Deseronto on October 21st, 1883, the son of Robert Pearson and Sarah (née Wilson). In 1911 he was living in Battleford, Saskatchewan with his wife, Anna Maud and three children.

When he enlisted, Pearson was five feet seven inches tall, with a medium complextion, grey eyes and brown hair. He joined the Canadian Army Service Corps with a regimental number of 49481.

After the war, in 1924, Pearson left Canada for the United States. In May 1940 he was living in Richmond, California and he died in California on June 8th, 1959.

John Hetherington signature

On this day, John Hetherington signed up in Kingston, Ontario. He was born in Napanee on February 15th, 1895, to Robinson Hetherington and Mary Ann (née Bell). At the time of the 1901 census the family were living in Deseronto: John attended Deseronto High School. The Hetheringtons were back in Napanee in 1911 and living in Thomas Street, Deseronto in 1921.

On joining up, Hetherington was five feet ten inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. His regimental number was 411131. He joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in France in July 1915.

On June 2, 1916 Hetherington was wounded at Ypres, in the Battle of Mount Sorrel. The extract from his unit’s war diary below describes the engagement:

War diary for the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry for June 2, 1916

2-6-16 At 8.30 am the enemy began shelling our front line and supports. This gradually increased to an intense bombardment from H.E. [high explosive] shells and trench mortars. The bombardment lasted for three hours when it was lifted and an infantry attack followed. The enemy succeeded in capturing the front line of our right company No. 1. The garrison having been almost annihilated. Our left company No. 2 succeeded in holding their trench and stopped an enemy bombing attack. Our supports held, on the right, the greater part of Warrington avenue and Lovers Lane to Border Lane, and on the left, the “R” series of trenches. Our casualties were heavy. In the evening the enemy evidently suspected a counter attack as they opened up a rapid machine gun and rifle fire and an intense barrage in our rear. Water and food supply low.

According to the Canadian Great War Project, Hetherington was struck off the strength of his battalion on June 22, 1916, as a result of the injuries he had received. His parents were still living in Deseronto in 1921, but it is not clear where John went after the war.

Earl Grant Berry's signatureOn this day in 1915 a fourth-year medical student named Earl Grant Berry enlisted in Toronto. Berry had been born in Deseronto on December 4th, 1887, the son of Robert James Berry and Ida Jean Grant.

On enlisting, Berry was described as five feet nine and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He had a tattoo on the front of his right forearm which read ‘E.E.G.B.”. Berry joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps with the regimental number 910. He gave his mother as his next of kin: her address was 44 Kippendavie Avenue, Toronto.

His service record shows that Berry arrived in England on the SS Corinithian on May 27th, 1915. His first posting was to Moore Barracks in Shorncliffe, Kent, where he was appointed to the rank of sergeant on July 1st, 1915. In October he was transferred to the Mediterranean, leaving Devonport for Salonika in Greece, where he arrived on November 21st. He remained in Greece until April 14th, 1916, when he went back to England. He returned to Canada to complete his medical training in June 1916, travelling on the SS Sicilian.

Berry was discharged from the army in Quebec on June 8th, 1916. He married Agnes Ellen Sheather, a nurse, on September 1, 1922 in Toronto. They lived in Oshawa for a while and moved to Merlin, Ontario in 1938 where Berry worked as a physician and Medical Health Officer for the county of Kent. He died in a car accident on October 14th, 1961.

 

James Robert Sager's signatureOn this day in 1915 (James) Robert Sager joined up in Ottawa. He was a box-maker, living in Midland, Ontario. He was born in Deseronto on June 1st, 1889, the son of Nicholas Sager and Annie (née Smith). Annie died in Deseronto in 1899 and by the time of the 1911 census the Sager family had moved to Simcoe County, Ontario. Robert Sager married Lena Beatrice Hoag in Midland on June 23rd, 1911.

Sager was five feet six inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. He joined the 38th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 410611.

Sager survived the war and is found back in Midland with Lena in the 1921 census, working as a longshoreman and with a three-year-old daughter, Dorothy. He died in Midland on February 28th, 1960 and his wife died there on March 2nd, 1962.

On this day in 1915, Beniah (or Benjamin) Ridgwell (sometimes Redgwell) signed up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was born in Walthamstow, England on July 24th, 1895 to Charles Redgwell and Alice (née Jaggard). The family (Charles, Alice, their four sons: Beniah, Sidney, Frederick and John and their daughter, Lilly [Lillian]) left Liverpool, England for Canada on the S.S. Dominion which arrived in Montreal on July 14th, 1907.

Postcard of SS Dominion

SS Dominion, courtesy of GreatShips.net

Ben’s younger brother Sidney had signed up in Kingston in October 1914. Ben was described as having a medium complexion, brown eyes and brown hair when he enlisted. He was five feet, three and three quarter inches tall and had scars on his face. He joined the 53rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 440095. He gave his next of kin as his father, Charles, in Deseronto.

Joseph Bernard Hill signature

On this day in 1915, Joseph Bernard Hill enlisted in Kingston. Hill was born in North Tonawanda, New York on November 26th, 1895, the son of Joseph Hill (a Mohawk) and Bernadetta (née Leveque). By 1911 Joseph’s father had died and he was living with his mother and younger brother, Harvard, in Thomas Street, Deseronto.

Joseph joined the 7th brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery and was later transferred to the 5th brigade. He was five feet three and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, brown eyes and black hair. His regimental number was 89648.

On this day in 1915 a ‘Musical and Literary Entertainment’ was held in Naylor’s Theatre in Deseronto. The concert was performed by Professor Eppes*, a music teacher, and some of his pupils.

Here we have reproduced the programme for the concert, with links to online versions of the various pieces where we have been able to find them, so that you can experience at least some of the concert 100 years later. We’ve even made a playlist of the ones on YouTube.

PROGRAMME

PART I.

1. Trio – ‘Sous les drapeaux de la Glorie’……………………….Blow
MISS CAMPBELL, MR. MAXWELL AND MR. EPPES
2. Piano Duett – ‘Norwegian Hunter’s March’…………………Orem
MISS M. EDWARDS AND MR. EPPS
3. Piano Solo – ‘Dance of the Mermaids’……………………Englemann
MISS MADELINE HAGGERTY
4. Vocal – ‘Nothing too good for the Irish‘……………………………
MISS MARJORIE ARMITAGE
5. Piano Solo – (a) ‘Polonaise Militaire‘ Op. 40 No. 1………Chopin
(b) ‘Berceuse,’ Op. 13 No. 7……………………Ilynsky
6. ‘The Bandelero‘……………………………………………………………..Stuart
MR. HERKIMER AYLSWORTH
7. Piano Solo – (a) ‘Valse in A Minor,’ No. 2, Op. 12………….Greig [Grieg]
(b) ‘Le Maitre a Danses’…………………….Gabriel-Marie
MISS PEARL McCULLOUGH
8. Saxophone Solo – Irish Airs………………………………………….
MR. THOS. MAXWELL
9. Vocal – ‘The Little Hero‘………………………………………..Adams
MR. AYLSWORTH

PART II

1. Trio – ‘Gavotte,’ Op. 57…………………………………….Tourbie
MISS CAMPBELL, MR. MAXWELL AND MR. EPPS
2. Piano Solo – ‘The Minstrel Boy and St. Patrick’s Day,’ Op. 47…Pape
MISS M. MALONEY
3. Vocal – Selected…………………………………
MISS G. CLEMENT
4. Piano Solo – (a) March…………………………………….Gurlitt
(b) Allegro from Quartette in F., No. 10………..Mozart
MISS MARY EDWARDS
5. Vocal – ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus‘…………………….Longfellow
MR AYLSWORTH
6. Piano Solo – (a) Minuett…………………………………….J. D. Brown
(b) Bluette…………………………………….Duvernoy
7. [Recitation?] – Selected………………………..
MISS P. McCULLOUGH
8. Piano Solo – Gavotte…………………………………………Berche
MISS MAE BARTLEY
9. Drill – By the Patriotic Sons and Daughters of the Empire…………….
GOD SAVE THE KING

Musical entertainment program


*William Eppes was born in Quebec City on February 20th, 1875. He married Bessie Alford in Belleville on March 30th, 1899 and by 1901 the couple were living in Tyendinaga. In the 1911 census they were in Mill Street, Deseronto and in 1921 they were living in Dundas Street.

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