1919 was a watershed year for Timmins – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – August 16, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Can you believe that summer is almost over – and if you are wondering “what summer?” I concur completely. In just a scant few weeks, everyone will be returning to school, be it for the first time or for the last, or for somewhere in between.

The rest of us will just “get on with it,” and enjoy the fall and the return to busy days. However, today is still mid-August, we have a few weeks of lollygagging left to us, so I will not spoil things just yet.

In keeping with the last lazy days of the season, I give you a totally irreverent article focusing on small town happenings back in 1919.

As always, a little context – the Great War to End All Wars came to an end on Nov. 11, 1918, so slowly but surely the armies were standing down and the young men and women who survived the conflict were finally on their way home.

Your heart has to go out to Pte. Manley Cole, a resident of Timmins. He served in all four years of the war, was wounded in battle not once but twice, each time recuperating quickly. 

He received a hero’s welcome when he finally arrived in Timmins – having crawled out of a train wreck in New Brunswick on his way home. The man obviously had a surplus of luck – not sure if it was good or bad, but luck he had.

Needless to say, a branch of the Great War Veterans Association was soon created. The Goldfields Branch started out with a membership of 35 – not bad considering it was formed a scant three months after the war was declared over.

George Smith from Timmins was elected president, while D. Briden of Schumacher took on the role of vice-president.

Digby Salkeld of Schumacher was put in as the secretary-treasurer. The association was created to assist returning soldiers – “no soldier or any dependent should be the object of common charity. After previous wars, soldiers had been forgotten, neglected and abused. Now the purpose was to make the soldier a helpful member of civil life as he had been in the service of his country in the war.”

One of the first events organized by the group was a “Welcome Home” dance, to be held at the Masonic Lodge on March 3, 1919. Tickets could be had for $2 per gentleman, while ladies were admitted for free. The event was well attended (it was the largest gathering of its sort ever in the short history of the town).

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/08/16/1919-was-a-watershed-year-for-timmins