Friday, 1 April 2016

Harry's Journey: Epilogue

While Harry Murray returned home to Stellarton, NS following his military discharge, the 85th’s “Concert Party” remained active through the summer of 1919. An August 28 news item printed in the Antigonish Casket promoted one of its performances:

“The 85th Battalion Band Concert Party is coming to town Saturday night to put on ‘The Old Homestead’ at the Celtic Hall. This is the same company and the same play that used to keep the boys of the Highland Brigade in good spirits behind the lines in France, and is well worth taking in. The 85th party has been touring the province during the past few weeks and the provincial papers speak of the performance as a wonderful exhibition.”

During the post-war years, the former 85th Band renewed its affiliation with the 78th Pictou Highlanders. Still under the direction of Dan Mooney, the group included members from several Pictou communities, although Stellarton still provided its core. The band played annually at the Pictou Highlanders summer camp until “depression years” budget cuts drastically reduced militia funds. In 1923, the band performed at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the ship Hector’s arrival, and was a popular attraction at local skating rinks, Sunday night theatre concerts, political rallies and various holiday festivities.

By 1939, Dan Mooney and a half-dozen pre-1914 members—including Harry Murray—were still part of the band. While a summer fire destroyed the Stellarton rink and the adjoining band headquarters, two members bravely rescued the band’s larger silver instruments and musical collection, the only losses being a set of bells and a baritone horn.

When Canada declared war on Germany in August 1939, the 85th’s former CO, James L. Ralston—now National Minister of Defence in Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal government—contacted Harry with a special request. Could he gather any ex-85th band members willing to serve and bring them to the newly established Infantry Training Depot at Aldershot?

During the summer of 1940, Harry assembled four former members, added a contingent of younger musicians, and headed to camp, enlisting for military service on August 27, 1940. Sadly, Harry and his former 85th comrades, well into mid-life, married with children and civilian careers, no longer possessed the energy of their former military days. Harry was discharged as “physically unfit” on July 12, 1941—not a surprising judgment, considering that he was 57 years old at the time—and, as with his former 85th band mates, returned home. After the Second World War, the 78th band gradually faded into history, largely due to its members’ age, family and work commitments.

By that time, Harry was similarly committed to work and family. During the 1920s, he operated a candy store in Stellarton, in addition to playing bass in a silent movie orchestra. Throughout the summer months, the group performed at the Digby Pines resort hotel.

Harry’s single life came to an end on June 18, 1924, when the 40-year-old bachelor married Jean Blackwood Dick, age 26, a native of Joggins Mines and trained nurse. The couple subsequently welcomed two children into their family, a daughter, Jeanne, and a son, Robert “Bob.” During these years, Harry managed Stellarton’s Jubilee Theatre and Westville’s Roxie Theatre, all the while continuing to perform with the 78th band and on stage, whenever the opportunity arose.

During the “depression years,” Harry worked for a time on road-building crews. In 1938, he obtained a position as caretaker for New Glasgow’s Provost Street post office. The job included accommodations in an apartment located on the building’s upper floor. Harry worked there until retirement, at which time the family relocated to a home in New Glasgow.

Harry and Jean Murray on the occasion of their 40th wedding anniversary
Daughter Jeanne served as a “WREN” with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, later working as a stenographer in Windsor and Liverpool. Bob moved to Antigonish, where he married, raised a family, and worked in the office of a local automobile dealership. He followed the family tradition, taking music lessons in his youth from his aunt Mamie and becoming an accomplished violinist. As with his father, Bob made frequent appearances in community musical productions, a passion he pursues to this day.

Harry Murray passed away at New Glasgow in 1974, at 90 years of age. The Stellarton community band played “Colonel Bogey’s March” during the interment ceremony at Heatherdale Cemetery, Alma, a fitting tribute to a man who enthusiastically combined a passion for music and entertainment with dedicated service to his country.

*****
The following sources provided information for this blog’s supporting posts:

Cameron, James M.. “Stellarton, the Birthplace of the First War’s 85th Band.” New Glasgow Evening News, no date indicated.

Hayes, Lt. Col. Joseph. The 85th In France & Flanders.  Halifax: Royal Print & Litho Ltd., 1920. Available online.

https://archive.org/details/eightyfifthinfra00hayeuoft

Hunt, M. S.. “The 85th Battalion Brass & Reed Band. Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War. Halifax, NS: The Nova Scotia Veteran Publishing Co., Ltd., 1920. Available online.

https://archive.org/details/novascotia00huntuoft

War diary of the 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF. Library & Archives Canada, Ottawa. Available online.

http://data4.collectionscanada.ca/netacgi/nph-brs?s1=85th+Battalion&s13=&s12=&l=20&s9=RG9&s7=9-52&Sect1=IMAGE&Sect2=THESOFF&Sect4=AND&Sect5=WARDPEN&Sect6=HITOFF&d=FIND&p=1&u=http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/archivianet/02015202_e.html&r=1&f=G

A special thank you to Robert “Bob” Murray, Antigonish, who provided supporting photographs, along with information on Harry’s family background and post-war life.

The entries from “Harry’s 85th Diary” are the property of Robert “Bob” Murray, Antigonish, NS and are reproduced on this blog by permission. All other rights are reserved. Any further publication, reproduction or distribution of this blog’s content without express permission is strictly prohibited.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Harry's Journey: Service in France & Belgium

On April 30, 1917, Pte. Harry Murray was attached to the Canadian Corps Composite Company, at its permanent base near Le Havre, France. He remained there for almost two months, rejoining the 85th at St. Lawrence Camp, Bois de la Haie, on June 25. With the exception of 14 days’ leave to Scotland in late March 1918, Harry remained with the 85th in the forward area for the duration of its time on the continent.

Lt. Col. Joseph Hayes, the 85th’s Medical Officer and later chronicler, summarized the band’s contributions to the unit in these words: “Above all, the Silver Band and later, the Pipe Band as well, were sources of ever present entertainment for the Battalion when out of the line.” Hayes rated the band as “unexcelled in the Canadian Corps,” and elaborated on its routine:

“Coming out of the line or back from a ‘Show’ [battle] it was invariably met by them. During the time ‘out’ the days were replete with Band Concerts—if the billets were scattered, they took turns with the different companies. When the Battalion went ‘In’, the Bands accompanied it as far as regulations permitted, and everyone seemed to step a little smarter, and to hold their head a little higher, as the Bands swung into the old familiar Regimental, on parting.”

The band provided nightly entertainment during the 85th’s time in Divisional Reserve. Harry contributed his percussionist talents as kettle drummer, in addition to his “rounded cantabile baritone” voice as vocalist. The group was renowned for its versatility, particularly the musical talents of its soloists—Thomas Roy (euphonium); Percival Barnes (piccolo and flute); Ronald McDougall and Duncan William Cameron (cornet); James Campbell Profit and Alex Myers (clarinet); and Alex McDougall (trombone)—and the trombone quartet of Alex McDougall, John James Gray, Clarence Edgar Purvis and James Roy. The 85th’s Silver Band soon became a 4th Division fixture, entertaining each Brigade’s battalions during their breaks from front-line service.

Harry and a small group of band mates also drew upon their pre-war theatrical talents, forming a “concert party” to entertain their comrades. Harry assumed the “lead” role in the party’s small theatrical productions, sketches and vaudeville routines, with George Edward Rackham of Amherst—a missionary to China during the post-war years—playing his “foil.” Talented step dancers Frank Arthur Ryan (Moncton), Charles William Appleton (Stellarton) and Ronald McDougall (Pictou) also participated, Ryan in particular renowned for his “eccentric dancing specialties.”

In early 1918, spurred on by their initial successes, Harry decided to tackle a much more ambitious project. Calling upon memory and previous experience, Harry wrote out the entire script of “The Old Homestead,” a popular Pictou County production. With the assistance of the “concert party” and band members, Harry directed and produced the show, reputedly the only complete stage production presented to Canadian troops in the forward area.

"The Old Homestead" Movie Poster (1935)
Impersonators Charles Appleton (Stellarton), George Rackham and Frank Ryan played the female parts, while Harry, Fraser Mooney (Stellarton), William McLeod (Stellarton), Bill Cameron (New Glasgow), Charles “Chud” MacDonald (Westville), John James Gray (Joggins Mines), Albert Gallant (New Glasgow) and brothers Angus and Archie McDougall (Stellarton) played the male parts. The 85th’s “handyman tailor” altered costumes purchased from local French shops, while Harry and William McLeod painted the scenery, with assistance from the Y. M. C. A. staff.

According to Hayes’ account, the group first presented the play during the 85th’s second stay at Raimbert, France in late February and early March 1918. Hayes described their efforts as “an unqualified success, and in the next few months the performance was given several times before the Battalion as well as before the other Battalions of the Brigade.” In subsequent months, the troupe presented “The Old Homestead” to units in the British and American sectors.

Similar entertainment troupes were widespread amongst Canadian and British units throughout the forward area in war’s final two years. It has been suggested that the decision to allow the 85th’s silver band to remain intact within its ranks set a precedent soon emulated by other units, whose bands or instruments had remained in England.

From a broader perspective, the conflict in France and Belgium was well into its third year by the spring of 1917, a fact that may have also contributed to this phenomenon. There is no doubt that the presence of silver bands and entertainment troupes immeasurably boosted the war-weary soldiers’ morale during their intermittent breaks from the line.

Harry Murray (right), Brussels, Belgium (February 1919)
On May 10, 1918, the entire silver band proceeded to 4th Divisional Wing camp “for a rest,” returning to the 85th’s camp early the following month. Harry and the band later spent the first two weeks of August at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Centre, rejoining their colleagues near Amiens on August 15. By that time, the 85th and its fellow Canadian Corps units were spearheading an Allied counter-offensive that eventually led to the November 11 Armistice. Lt.-Col. Hayes described the band’s activities during the war’s final stages:

“Later during the fighting of the summer and fall, when it was impossible for the Band to accompany the Battalion at all times, they played before several thousand Imperial and Canadian soldiers [behind the lines] at Écoivres and Marenla [France].”

On September 25, Harry was admitted to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance on September 25 with tonsillitis and transferred to No. 12 Stationary Hospital for treatment. He returned to duty with the 85th at Agnez-les-Duisans on October 14 and remained with the unit for the duration of the Canadian Corps’ advance toward Mons, Belgium. Following the Armistice, the 85th encamped near the historic city, its soldiers preparing for their return to civilian life.

Having established itself as one of the Canadian Corps’ premier Silver Bands, the group was in constant demand. In Lt.-Col. Hayes’ words, “during the latter days of the [85th’s] stay on the continent, it had attained such a degree of popularity throughout the [4th] Division that, at times, it was almost impossible to keep it with the Battalion at all.”

85th Battalion Silver Band, Rixensart, Belgium (1919)
Between their various engagements, Harry and his mates found time to visit Brussels and various Belgian historic sites. On March 11,  1919, Harry received 14 days’ leave to the United Kingdom, rejoining the battalion at Rixensart, south-east of Brussels, on April 1. Five days later, the silver band travelled to Namur “to take part in a big Belgian military ceremony there.”

The 85th broke camp on April 25 and made its way by train to Le Havre, France, disembarking late the following evening. On April 28 and 29, personnel crossed the English Channel to Southampton in two groups and made their way to Bramshott Camp. On the month’s final day, the unit prepared for “the big parade in which 125 O. R.’s, the Silver Band and 16 Officers will take part.” In fact, the 85th’s silver band was one of only two Canadian bands to participate in the Great March of Triumph that wound its way through the streets of London on May 3.

The 85th Battalion departed England aboard the SS Adriatic on May 31and arrived at Halifax “to a tumultuous welcome” on June 10. The following day, the silver band led the battalion on a final march through the city to the Halifax Armouries, where CO Lt.-Col. Ralston issued “final dismissal” orders. After almost four years in uniform, Harry Murray was formally discharged from military service at Halifax on June 15, 1919, and returned home to Stellarton.

The 85th's Homecoming - Halifax, June 1919

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Harry's Journey: England and France

Harry Murray wrote his last diary entry on October 16, 1916, the same day on which torpedo boat destroyers met the majestic Olympic and provided an escort for the remainder of its voyage. The vessel entered Liverpool harbour in the late evening hours of October 18, its passengers disembarking the following morning and travelling by train to Witley Camp, Surrey, England.

While the Highland Brigade’s soldiers resumed training in anticipation of crossing the English Channel to France, the 85th’s band once again found itself in demand, playing concerts for the thousands of soldiers gathered at Witley. The quality of its performances drew the attention of the British Army’s Director of Musical Services, who described the group as “the best band that has come overseas from Canada,” praising “its precision in attack, its unanimity, its dynamic qualities and nuancing, and its brilliancy.”

Sadly, before year’s end, the Highland Brigade was dissolved, two of its units—the 193rd and 219th Battalions—immediately disbanded and reassigned to existing units in England and France. While the 185th (Cape Breton Highlanders) remained in England—it was eventually disbanded in early 1918—the 85th became only the second Nova Scotian unit to cross the Channel, departing Folkestone in the early morning hours of February 10, 1917 and arriving at Boulogne, France shortly after midday.
First World War 85th Battalion post card.
At the time of the crossing, the band itself was “not [officially] on [the battalion’s] establishment,” its members making the passage as “fighting men,” assigned to stretcher-bearer duty with each of its Companies. Their instruments, however, “mysteriously” arrived amongst the Quartermaster’s stores, smuggled on board prior to departure. Once on French soil, they were quickly unpacked and the band led the way as the 85th marched to nearby St. Martin’s Camp.

While band members’ presence in France did not itself pose a problem, as all were enlisted men, their role within the battalion quickly became a matter of official discussion. Were they to resume their previous role, playing on ceremonial occasions and providing entertainment when appropriate? Or were they to be assigned to military tasks, in keeping with their status as soldiers? Lt. Col. Hayes, the 85th’s chronicler, summarized their circumstances in these words: “Until authorization could be obtained[,] the bandsmen were treated as ordinary fighting soldiers and played their part as such.”

85th's Officers in France, February 1917
While the battalion made its way from Boulogne to Gouy Servins, France for training at mid-month, military authorities took the matter of the band’s status under advisement, for the time being. As a result, its fate remained unclear for several weeks. On March 10, the 85th’s Adjutant recorded the following information in the unit’s daily war diary:

“Divisional authorities do not feel justified in allowing [the] Band to remain as such without some authorization. Advised that [they] would allow us 10 days in which might be received some authorization, otherwise Band should be absorbed in the ranks for regular duty.”

As a result, in Hayes’ words: “Even the band had to do its duty in the line.” Three days later, “Lieutenant Mooney and 41 OR [“other ranks”] (Band) left as [a] working party for 3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery.” According to Hayes’ recollection, its personnel were “under heavy shell fire day and night for ten consecutive days”:

“They showed themselves to be of the real Pictou Scotch brand, and completed their arduous tasks with credit to themselves and honour to the Battalion. This is doubly to their credit, as they had all been enlisted and brought overseas as bandsmen and only about a quarter of them were physically fit for front line work.”


On March 24, a “Staff Officer from GHQ [General Headquarters] called and discussed the matter of the Band with the C. O. [Lt.-Col. Allison Hart Borden].” While the 85th’s war diary recorded no details, apparently the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. Two days later, the “Band —1 Officer—41 OR returned to Battalion HQ from working party under 3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery.”

On March 26, Lt. Mooney and his charges travelled to Coupingy “to go before ADMS [Assistant Director of Medical Services] re: board,” presumably completing medical examinations to determine their fitness for service in the forward area. According to Hayes: “About this time[,] the matter was adjusted and from then on the band became a great source of pleasure and pride to the Battalion and had more time to devote to music and entertainment.”

All appeared in order on April 4, when the war diary entry reported: “Band played outside all day and gave a concert in the Y. M. C. A. [tent] in the evening.” The band and its members were to remain in France, in their accustomed role.

On the night of April 7/8, the 85th’s soldiers marched out under cover of darkness, preparing for their support role in the Canadian Corps’ historic attack on German positions at Vimy Ridge, France. While their colleagues made their military debut on the now-famous battleground, the band’s personnel remained in camp. When the tired but victorious soldiers returned to billets at Bouvigny Huts in the early morning hours of April 14, much to their delight, they discovered that band personnel had made their bunks, lit fires and prepared hot rations, in anticipation of their return.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Monday, October 16, 1916

Passed a tramp steamer this a. m.. Played from 10.30 to 11.30. Again from 2 p. m. - 4 p. m. Much calmer today or we are getting used to the roll. No excitement except about 9.30 p.m. The engines started to pop and “Pat” jumped and grabbed his pants, thinking we were hit.

SS Olympic with wartime camouflage

Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday, October 15, 1916

Fairly rough. A great many sick. No band concert today. Nothing in sight. The day passed quietly. Little rougher tonight.

SS Olympic in rough seas

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Saturday, October 14, 1916

Still calm. Played band concert at 2.15 p.m. Getting a good deal rougher tonight quite a few sick. Very few toilet accomadations [sic]. We played at Officers’ mess tonight. It looks pretty rotten to see the Officers eating in such luxuary [sic] and the privates down in the hold like rats. Some army.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Friday, October 13, 1916

We left the wharf at 10.45 today and anchored in Bedford Basin until 5 o’clock. Then we set sail for old England. Very smooth sea tonight and nothing of any event. Slept in hammock tonight. Played band concert at 10 this morning.

Halifax Harbour Lighthouse

Friday, 25 March 2016

Thursday, October 12, 1916

This is a fine calm day. We are located in the old music room on “A” deck. The 188th, 185th are with us. In the next room is the 219th and 193rd. Played a band concert this morning. The 219th came on board today. The 85th and 185th were all allowed on the warf [sic—wharf] shed to meet their friends. Some crowd. The 193rd came on this eveing [sic].

SS Olympic



Thursday, 24 March 2016

Wednesday, October 11, 1916

The long looked for day has arrived. At 2 o’clock this am we line up for our boat checks for overseas. At 5 a.m. we left Aldershot for Halifax arriveing [sic] at 8.15 a.m. Marched through Hollis and Barrington and then back to ship. Thousands of people disappointed because we did not get to the Commons. Spent a very quite [sic—quiet] night on board the Olympic.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Harry's Journey: March 23 to October 11, 1916

Harry’s diary entries during the 85th’s tour of the Nova Scotian mainland make no mention of one special item. Prior to the band’s departure, Harry penned a set of lyrics, “The Eighty-Fifth Feather,” set to the tune of a popular song, “When you wore a tulip.” Throughout the tour, Harry performed the selection, with band accompaniment, at their various recruitment stops.

Harry's "The 85th Feather" Lyrics
On March 23, 1916, Harry ceased writing his daily entries. One reason may have been the band’s increasingly busy schedule. As the 185th, 193rd and 219th Battalions continued their recruitment campaigns throughout April, the band was in constant demand throughout the province. The arrival of spring also heralded another season of outdoor drill, the 85th’s personnel relocating to Camp Aldershot in May 1916.

Camp Aldershot, NS
Throughout the summer months, Harry and his musical colleagues played at various recruitment functions and ceremonies, in addition to following a daily rehearsal and training schedule. Military authorities organized two major events in which the band no doubt participated. On August 25, Camp Aldershot opened its doors to the public for two days. Over 8000 Nova Scotians flocked to the camp, HRH the Duke of Connaught, Governor-General of Canada, reviewing the Brigade’s troops in a March Past held on the second day. In late September, the Brigade staged a “grand gymkhana,” consisting of “interesting and amusing sporting events” traditionally referred to as “Scotch Games,” according to Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Hayes, the 85th’s Medical Officer and post-war chronicler.

With the arrival of autumn, the Highland Brigade’s four battalions completed final preparations for departure. The 85th Battalion travelled from Kentville to Halifax by train on October 11. Upon disembarking, personnel marched through the streets to the docks and boarded SS Olympic, anchored in Bedford Basin. The 185th joined them before day’s end, while the 193rd and 219th made their way to the city and boarded the vessel the following day.

As Harry settled in for his first night of sleep on the Titanic’s sister ship, he made his first diary entry since March 22, 1916.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Tuesday, March 21, 1916

Left at 2 for home. Out to Westville in eveing [sic] at McKean’s. Stick with Isabella. Decided to play Sweet Clover.

Main St., Westville, NS (no date)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Monday, March 20, 1916

Left this morning for Antigonish. Played concert in afternoon in Celtic hall and for meeting in eveing [sic]. Had a good sing here in Royal George hotel. Allie, Stick Tom Mason and I at Mac boarding house. Myers went home from meeting in eveing [sic] physcialy [physically] unfit. The piper also made great speech here. Finish of our trip.

Royal George Hotel, Antigonish, NS (no date)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Sunday, March 19, 1916

Morning off. Played in church N. G. [New Glasgow] at 2.30 then Academy at 3.30 . Big meeting men only at church in eveing [sic]. Stellarton meeting after church in theatre after church [sic].

New Glasgow, NS (no date)

Friday, 18 March 2016

Saturday, March 18, 1916

Left this morning at 6 o’clock for River John. Left Drum here, but got it on afternoon train, in R. John. Meeting afternoon. Stayed at Mrs. Mitchell’s with Stick [sic]. Lander [?] home for the day. Left at 4 o’clock for Pictou. Played for meeting in theatre in eveing [sic] and left by special for Stellarton at 11.30 .

River John, NS (no date)
 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Friday, March 17, 1916

Left at 2.30 for Pugwash. Marched to church. Played concert for childern [sic]. Bill Borden’s [William McLean, 223392, Amherst, wounded at Cambrai on September 27, 1918, died of wounds on September 28, 1918] home here. Stayed at Miss Jean McDonald’s here with Kelley. Meeting at church in eveing [sic]. The ladies served supper in Oddfellows hall at 6 o’clock. Small party at Mrs. Daiken’s [?] after meeting.
Pugwash harbour (no date)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Thursday, March 16, 1916

Left at 9 o’clock for Oxford. Very heavy snow, and hard time getting up to Jct. [junction]. Had dinner at Springhill Jct. Left here at 2 o’clock for Oxford. Played concert on arrival in church. Then meeting in church in eveing [sic]. Met Mary McIntosh and old friend here.

Railroad Station, Oxford, NS (no date)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Wednesday, March 15, 1916

Left Amherst at 2 o’clock for Parrasborgh [Parrsboro]. Arriving here at 4.30. Played few marches on the street. Meeting in church in eveing [sic]. Entertained at church here after meeting. Snowing again pretty heavy. Here we saw a horse make about five turns without upsetting sleigh.

Parrsboro Lighthouse (no date)


Monday, 14 March 2016

Tuesday, March 14, 1916

Left Truro at 9.30 for Amherst, arriving at 12.30 . Had short march to court house. Played concert in afternoon at church. Largest church yet. Sang “Perfect Day.” Monroe sore also ? [illegible]. At Harry Smith’s for supper. Meeting in church in eveing [sic]. J. Logan [probably Sgt. John David, 223479, Halifax, a band member] A. Foster [Sgt. Archie W., 223356, Amherst, wounded at Lens May 26, 1917] with us after meeting. Slick had shower bath tonight. Still fine weather. Saw Jean McDonald here, also Webb Fraser & wife, Aunt Minn [?], also Annie Stewart from N. Glasgow.

Victoria St., Amherst, NS (1907)

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Monday, March 13, 1916

Left at 7.15 for Truro, arriving at 9.25. The Colonel [A. H. Borden] comeing [sic] on later train. We had a small route march here in morning. Played a concert in old church in afternoon and the meeting in New Church in eveing [sic]. Met Mrs. Gill and went home with her after meeting. Very fine. Capt. Cutter left us here. “Bravo Billie” also Jones [possibly Charles Hubert, 223366, Amherst, wounded at Lens on June 20, 1916, rejoined on July 5, 1917, wounded at Passchendaele on October 30, 1917; or William R., 223022, Lower Ohio, killed in action at Lens on March 30, 1918].

Inglis St., Truro, NS (no date)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Sunday, March 12, 1916

Paraded the boys to church this morning. Some choir. Met Phil Hudson here, also Miss Jones. Had some swell singing in the parlour. Concert in church after dinner. Sang “Perfect Day.” Meeting in eveing [sic]. Monroe and Myers arrived by poney [sic] Express in morning. Here we made the acquaintance of “Sherlock” the head waiter. Here also the room was very unsteady. Very fine day.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Saturday, March 11, 1916

Left Berwick at 10.30 for Kentville. Arrived at 11.30. Marched short march, then stopped at Aberdeen. Concert in theatre in afternoon. Had supper at Gillingham’s. Meeting in eveing [sic], left a little early and made call. Left by special train for Wolfville at 11.30. Jack Munroe and A. [Alex] Myers missed train. Here the boys made a lot of home runs with the ladies.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Friday, March 10, 1916

Played concert this morning. Then left at 1 o’clock for Berwick. On arrival gave concert at hall. Then Mr. Mooney [Lt. Dan Mooney, bandmaster] and I stayed at Dr. McNallays [sic—Nally?]. Meeting at church in eveing [sic]. Very fine. A barrall [sic] of apples was given to us at Bridgetown on our way through. Jack [John Robert, 223062, Stellarton, NS] Munroe also got a white rat.

Berwick, NS

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Thursday, March 9, 1916

Played a concert in church in morning. Left at 12 o’clock for station. From here to Annapolis on arrival very stormy. Slick and I got split up here. Some of the boys at great hotel. “Farmers” Angus very mad here. Called on Mrs. Merriam whome [sic] I met 6 years ago. Meeting in eveing [sic] at Church for lunch after then at Merriam’s for awhile. Met Miss Crouse here. Storm has passed away. Slick broke his keg [sic].

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Wednesday, March 8, 1916

Left Digby at 12.25 for Bear River. Here we drove 4 miles in sleigh to town. This town is the Switzerland of N. S., very beautiful. Had a great time wasting this afternoon. Met a Mrs. O’Brien [?] who visited the Raynolds [sic—Reynolds?] at one time. Also a Miss Jones, Miss Harris and Miss Nash. Recruiting meeting in church in eveing [sic]. Entertained at Masonic Hall after. Stayed at Comercial [sic] house Peck [not listed in Hayes’ index] and I until 1.30 a.m. Snowing again tonight.

Bear River, NS (c. 1910)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Tuesday, March 7, 1916

Left Yarmouth at 9.30 a.m. for Digby. Arrived at 12.30 in very bad storm. We were to have a parade but oweing [sic] to storm could not. Played concert in afternoon in hall. Bandmaster sick. Played for meeting in hall again in eveing [sic]. Very stormy and nothing doing. Col. down country from Weymouth. Capt. Cutten [not listed in Hayes’ index] spoke here. First growl among the band since leaving.

The Pines Hotel, Digby, NS

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Monday March 6, 1916

Left Clark’s Harbour this 11 a.m. But [sic] played concert in hall at 9.30 first. Played in Barrington Passage this afternoon. Had dinner at Mrs. Hopkins. Left here by special train for Yarmouth arriving at 6.20 p.m.[;] had lunch served by the ladies at Khakie [sic] club. Biggest meeting yet here. Stoped [sic] at the Grand overnight. Swell house. Colonel Borden made his best speech yet.

Yarmouth, NS (1910)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Sunday, March 5, 1916

Left Shelburn [sic] this a.m. at 8.30 arrived in Barrington Passage 10 o’clock. Took ferry for Clark’s Harbour[,] arriving at 12 o’clock. Played for recruiting meeting in church afternoon also for services in eveing [sic] at which Dr. Cutter & Col. B. [Borden] both spoke. Stayed at Mr. Nickerson’s here. Young Adams [possibly Company Sgt. Major Thomas G., 222722, Brookfield, DSM Cambrai] bo [sic—born?] in this town. Fine thro [sic] day but much colder in eveing [sic]. Attal [?] got lost here.

Clark's Harbour, NS

Friday, 4 March 2016

Saturday, March 4, 1916

Were to play this morning but very bad storm, which kept us here all day. Loafed around hotel all day. Capt. Churchill in charge of troops here arranged a smoker for us in eveing [sic] at which I recited. Speeches by Col. Borden [Lt.-Col. Allison Hart, Halifax, 85th’s Commanding Officer, DSO Passchendaele, sick April 25, 1918], Mr. Crowell, Dr. Cutter [?], Mayor and two other gentlemen. We were to be in Port Greville today but on acct. of storm could not make it.


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Friday, March 3, 1916

Left Lockport [sic] at 2 o’clock for Shelburn [sic], arrived here at 5 o’clock. Stopping at Mrs. Jim Bowers. Meeting held in drill shed. Meet [sic] Miss Jean McKay here and walked 2 miles with her and Miss Holten. PS: Played concert for school childern [sic] in Lockport [sic] this morning.

Train Station, Lockeport, NS

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Thursday, March 2, 1916

Played a concert in school house Bridgewater this morning. Left at 1.10 train wreck made train late for Lockport. Here we travel part way by boat. Stopping at Hillcrest hotel. Fine eats. Meeting in church in eveing [sic]. Met Mr. Budd a[n] old friend here. Cold. Beatiful [sic] beach here.

Bridgewater, NS

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Wednesday, March 1, 1916

Up at 5 o’clock to catch train for Mahone Bay. Had breakfast at Mahone. Played a concert at Hall in  morning. Had swell dinner supplied by the ladies of the different churches. Recruiting meeting in church in afternoon. Left at 3.45 for Bridgewater. Had a swell hotel here. Big meeting in drill shed. Caught a bad cold here. Bridgewater band entertained us after meeting. Cold.

Mahone Bay, NS

Monday, 29 February 2016

Tuesday, February 29, 1916

Left for Lunenburg this morning. The start of our recruiting trip. Left Halifax at 7.25 arrived at 11.45 . Played concert afternoon in Theatre. “Remix No. 16”, “Bullfinches”, Home Sweet Home”, etc. Played for meeting in eveing [sic] at drill shed. Played until 11.45 p.m. Had lunch at restruant [sic]. Stopped at Kings hotel splendid service. Myers missed playing this evening. 18 recruits signed on. Fine and cold. Traveling in Private car. Cold.

Lunenburg, NS (1909)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Monday, February 28, 1916

Rode all around city in Town Car this morning. Recruiting. Had lunch at Khakie [sic] club. Played outside recruiting station for few minutes. Then through for day. T. Davidson [Truman B., 223060, Stellarton, NS, died of broncho-pneumonia at Rouen, France on August 1, 1917], A. McDougall, Chas. Appelton [sic] back tonight.
Pte. Truman Bishop Davidson, 223060

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Sunday, February 27, 1916

Marched to St. Mark’s in morning. Played at Academy of Music afternoon at opening of Recruiting campaign of Highland Brigade. Had supper at Bessie Shaw’s also J. W. Henderson. Sang at st. Mathews [sic] church in eveing [sic].


St. Mark's Anglican Church, Halifax, NS

Friday, 26 February 2016

Saturday, February 26, 1916

Foot inspect.. Playing in recreation room in morning at Strand in afternoon. Supper at Maders. Bath at Y. M. C. A. Down town in eve. Raining. Allie McDonald back tonight. Angie [Angus Duncan, Stellarton] McDougall went home tonight.
Pte. Angus Duncan McDougall, 223077

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Friday, February 25, 1916

Half the batt. home recruiting. Not much doing. Out to Mrs. Fraser’s in eveing [sic]. Chud [Charles Angus] McDonald, B Roy and myself. Fine time. On fatigue today. Played at Academy School. Alex Myers back.

Pte. Charles Angus "Chud" McDonald, 223123

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Thursday, February 24, 1916

Out to Miss Jessie Munroe’s for eveing [sic]. Cold. Allie [Allister Robert, Stellarton] McDonald and S. Davidson [not listed in Hayes’ index - possible Truman B. Davidson, Stellarton, who was a band member] went home tonight.

Pte. Allister Robert McDonald, 223061


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Wednesday, February 23, 1916

Peck discharged this afternoon. Route march and O. C. inspection. Frank Burgess transfered [sic] today to the 106th Rgt. as Lt. [Not listed in Hayes’ index - later served in France and Belgium with 25th Battalion; gassed on May 3, 1917 & July 20, 1917; slight gunshot wound (head) October 9, 1918; gunshot wound (shoulder) November 7, 1918]. Frank Freeman feeling very blue girl in trouble. Very stormy but warm.

Lieutenant Frank Victor Burgess, 106th Battalion

Monday, 22 February 2016

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Monday, February 21, 1916

Usual drill except 11 - 12. Alex Myers went home on pass. Slick going to kill somebody for stealing his cream puffs. But he ate some bread and cheese and felt better. Peck [possibly George B., 283085, Hillsboro, NB, killed in action at Passchendaele on October 30, 1917, awarded Military Medal for bravery at Vimy] in clink tonight for—enough said. Bowling. Very cold. Big fire on Water St..

Pte. Alexander Myers, 223075


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sunday, February 20, 1916

Batt. at Dartmouth to church this morning. At Bessie Shaw’s for supper. Sang a solo at St. Matthews after church. Very cold.

St. Matthew's Church, Halifax, NS

Friday, 19 February 2016

Saturday, February 19, 1916

Barrack Room inspec., singing in recreation room in morning. At Strand. Bath at Y. M. C. A. Supper at Madder’s. Acquires in eveing [sic]. Bowling. Cold. Roy Boys arrived back at noon today.

Pte. James Roy, 223066

Pte. Robert Hugh Roy, 223072

Pte. Thomas Redpath Roy, 223065