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Ayr Boy Writes Home (17 September 1914)

Lance Corporal Kendall of the Canadian Engineers wrote home to his family in Ayr from the Valcartier training camp. The Ayr native discussed the strenuous training that he and his fellow comrades were undergoing, as they prepared for deployment in Europe. Kendall discussed the division’s eagerness to “get where the bullets are flying.” He also briefly described how his group constructed a bridge across the Jacques Cartier River, Quebec, in order to transport their artillery pieces. This article demonstrates how proud people were of the work and service that men from the region were offering Canada and the British Empire.

(“An Ayr Boy Writes,“ Elmira Signet, 17 September 1914)



Committees on Finance and Relief Work (17 September 1914)

Waterloo County Council met to discuss the rising concern over the funding of the war and international aid. Canada’s Patriotic Fund appointed several members to create the Waterloo division. This group headed the campaign over the next several months to collect donations for the war effort and international aid. A Berlin Daily Telegraph article reported that the only significant individual who was missing from the appointments was Waterloo’s Mayor Kauffman which made this primarily a meeting of Berliners.

(Picture courtesy of the Canadian War Museum; “Committees on Finance and Work Relief,“ Berlin Daily Telegraph, 17 September 1914)

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Soaring Prices (17 September 1914)

Concern over the increasing price of produce and dairy items was addressed in this issue. Locals feared that cheese would continue to skyrocket, as Labrador (an independent colony of the British Empire) could not afford to ship mass quantities of cheese to Ontario with the looming threat of war in the Canada. Internationally, several products were also looking bleak. Liquor from Spain was drying up after heavy rainfall damaged the grape harvest and restricted sea trade. Servia’s herbal exports to Canada also started to dry up as the war effort continued to take its toll on Canadian imports. Another important topic being addressed was the fact that 1914 was a poor harvest year for numerous countries.

(“Soaring Prices,” Ayr News, 17 September 1914)



Unemployed Girls (17 September 1914)

In September, the Provincial Industrial Association convened in Toronto to discuss the recurrent issue of unemployed women. The Berlin Daily Telegraph reported that hundreds of women had been pushed out of factory work over the last several years. Mr. McNaught, head of the committee, was concerned over the possibility of women being forced to walk the streets, begging for employment.

The possibility of reducing minimum wage was also discussed during this meeting. A member of Toronto city council feared that this would only stir up “class antagonism.” Ontario’s concern over unemployment was a crucial issue for industrial centers at the outbreak of the war. The agricultural sector had the opposite problem, as it lacked manpower to bring in the crops and feared that there would be a crop failure in 1915.

(“Unemployed Girls Need Protection,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 17 September 1914)



Red Cross Society is Organized (23 September 1914)

Much like the Patriotic Fund branch, the Berlin Red Cross Society branch appointed its first members on 23 September. The group’s new president was Mrs. C. Kompf. The Red Cross would become a vital outlet providing aid for the soldiers on the front. Elmira also contributed to the group by providing forty-five volunteers on November 19th 1914. At the time, it took twenty-five cents as a start up fee for each volunteer. The women of Waterloo were eager to help the war effort, which they were able to do through their work for the Red Cross.

(Picture courtesy of the Red Cross of Canada; “Red Cross Work,“ Berlin Daily Telegraph, 23 September 1914)

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Waterloo Volunteerism (24 September 1914)

Almost two months after the declaration of war, enlistment rates continued to increase in the Waterloo Region. Those who enlisted in the Second Contingent left Waterloo Region with a magnificent parade much like the parades that occurred when the region sent off men for the First Contingent.

The Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph proudly stated that the twelve Canadian volunteers and five British reservists would embark for the front with the Canadian Second Contingent. The Breithaupt family insured these individuals for $1,000 each in the case of death while serving. This is a sample of the commitment the family displayed for Canada in the first months of the war.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian War Museum, “Waterloo Volunteerism,“ Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 24 September 1914)



German Strength (24 September 1914)

In September 1914 there were numerous reports of German retreats in many areas of Europe. The Elmira Signet suggested that this was a ploy by German commanders and not necessarily a sign of the war coming to a close. The Elmira Signet reported that Western Germany offered an ideal defensive position for the Kaiser’s army. With multiple transportation networks, over two million men in the Landwehr, along with geographic advantages such as the Rhine, the conclusion was made that the First World War was going to last longer than current official pronouncements were suggesting. With this article, the Elmira Signet was indicating that the region should be prepared for a long war.

(Germany’s Strength,” Elmira Signet, 24 September 1914)



Elmira and Woolwich Fall Fair (24 September 1914)

The annual Elmira fair was held on 24 September 1914. Numerous people attended the event regardless of the deplorable weather conditions. Farm animals were displayed, along with fruits, vegetables and meats from the surrounding area. Local companies were also allowed to display new equipment. Elmira Machinery and Transmission Co. exhibited a number of their new innovative farming tools.

The fair was concluded with multiple horse races. Prizes were handed out at the conclusion of the festivities. Although Waterloo Region strove to support the war effort, the war did not interfere with annual cultural events in Waterloo Region during 1914.

(“The Elmira and Woolwich Fall Fair,” Elmira Signet, 24 September 1914)

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Ontario’s Intensive Farming (24 September 1914)

With the demand for food supplies increasing drastically for both national and international markets, Canada turned to Ontario. Located near the Great Lakes, and with CNR railway access in Guelph, the rich fields of this province were chosen to bear the burden of supplying food rations for the war effort.

A Berlin Daily Telegraph article demonstrated the skepticism that farmers had for the cause. With labour dwindling, the Federal Government was pushing for new scientific methods to be introduced on Canadian farms to increase agricultural production. These alterations to farming methods and techniques were to be introduced in early 1915 to replicate European intensive farming. The Canadian Government wanted to ensure that Canada could supply the war effort as fully as possible.

(Photo courtesy of Canadian War Museum, “Ontario’s Intensive Farming,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 24 September 1914)



Demand for the News (24 September 1914)

With war raging in Europe on an unprecedented scale, Waterloo Region newspapers saw a chance for exponential monetary gains. The result was a consistent push to purchase a year subscription for the news. To ensure that readers purchased a year subscription, the newspapers offered early-bird specials. For example, subscribers could obtain the Berlin Daily Telegraph for $2.00 until January 1916. This is a consistent theme among the region’s several newspapers.

(“Demand for the News,“ Berlin Daily Telegraph, 24 September 1914)