Published at the Hespeler, Ontario Plant of Dominion Woollens and Worsteds, Limited
Concerning an Up-to-Date Victorian
Few scenes picturing life in and around the Mill have the ring of familiarity of the one below. There is no denying the fact that the Grand River Railway and the Mill have operated in close harmony for an unusual length of time.
It was during the last hectic years of Queen Victoria’s reign that Hespeler’s first trolley, dipping and swaying on its single truck, plunged from the swamps that line River Speed to pull up at our front door. And that was the end of the line for one summer while permission was being obtained to cross the Grand Trunk Railway tracks. Mr. C.A. Panabaker remembers it all very well for he, as a teenager hauled sand from the high hill, that once stood on the site of the Public Library to help make the roadbed for the last half mile to Guelph Street.
Largely responsible for the new line was Robert Forbes, then owner of the Mill, who was very anxious to obtain a siding. All freight was being teamed to and from the freight shed up-town. In fact, it kept one team busy hauling coal alone. Making connections with the C.P.R. at Galt, the Grand River Railway solved the freight problem for Mr. Forbes.
In the early days, the cars—puddle-jumpers they were called—weighed ten tons and carried twenty-five passengers. There were open cars for summer, and Idylwild, half way to Preston, was a popular picnic resort which drew Sunday School and industrial picnics from miles around. The cars of today weigh forty tons and seat eighty people.
The popular local agent, Frank Russ, has been with the line for thirty-eight years, all but the first two in Hespeler. It is his proud boast that with the G.R.R. has never let the town down. There have been snow-bound winter days when the line was the only contact with the outside, bringing in mail and essential goods. But for length of service, friendly Bob Wilford, the day motorman, tops them all. He has been with the G.R.R. for forty-two years, thirty-four of them with this Division.
Several weeks ago the hand-operated switch was removed from the Mill “diamond” and with it another familiar sight faded into the past. For years, the big car had paused while the conductor got out to preside at the crossing of the C.N.R. tracks. Now it is all done with wires and lights—yes, an electrical switch—and so a Victorian takes another step to keep pace with the times.
RECREATION CLUB NEWS
The musical Society’s first concert was a decided success and the members and all others responsible for the program are to be heartily congratulated for the very fine performance. Miss Leopoldine Pichler of Toronto, the guest artist, and Mr. and Mrs. Petersen of Kitchener ably assisted in rounding out the evening’s entertainment.
Now it is planned to start a Glee Club. The music will be of a lighter nature and not so difficult as the Choral Society music. Here is an opportunity for those of you who have been asking for glee club music.
Splendid use has been made of the rink this year, with heavy traffic on the weekend. So far there have been four skating parties in January with two more to go before the month is ended. We should have one big party before the season closes.
Dolph Little’s music made quite a hit at the first club dance this year. It is encouraging to hear so many favorable comments. Plans are now being made for a bingo, proceeds – cigarettes for the boys. We expect a packed house that night.
Sgt. Gordon Fisher of the R.C.A.F. is stationed at Clinton and visited the mill while home for the weekend.
Gnr. Bob Logan, home on leave from Kingston, where he is stationed at present, visited the mill last Saturday.
Members of the Winding Dept. (day shift) enjoyed a skating party at the mill rink. After an hour of skating, lunch was served at the Legion home.
Paul Wiechers, Ruth Foss, George Oliver, Gladys Shier, Isobel Guttin, William Stewart, Irene Mitchell, John Garside, Bernard Hollings, George McTavish, Ernest Connell, Fred Beasley, Isaac Wilson, Art Shepherd, Mary Inglis, Charles Smith, Gilbert Povey and Elsie Lietch have been successful in passing the St. John’s Ambulance first aid examinations.
In the short time I have been president I have learned a great deal. First, I did not realize how much the Union had accomplished throughout the mill. Secondly, the great work that your stewards have done. Get behind them and if you have any complaints don’t hesitate to see your steward. He can either assist you or contact the right people for you.
As a closing reminder to you in the armed forces, I, who experienced the horrors of the first Great War, can assure you that the Company plans a square deal for everyone when the battle is won and you return home.
IN THE LETTER BOX
R89950 LAC. John H. Reid,
“Just a few words to say ‘hello’ to the old gang at the mill. I want to thank you most sincerely for the paper and cigarettes which I have received regularly. The paper goes the rounds at the station as the lads in the hut all like to look at it. They all say we must have a good firm to work for. I have just returned from a visit to Scotland. It is a very beautiful place and the people are just like the folks back home, friendly and always trying to help make our stay a pleasant one.
LAC. Murray Seeley.
R.C.A.F. – S.H.Q.,
Here I am again to write you a few more lines and thank you for the cigarettes which I just recently received. I receive the mill paper every month and enjoy reading it very much. I guess Hespeler will have lots of snow now. We had a bad snow storm here and the roads were nearly blocked but the weather has turned mild again and the snow is nearly all gone.
It will be nice when this war is over. It shouldn’t be long now. I haven’t decided what to do when I get back but don’t be surprised if I drop into the office some day soon and ask for a job.
I must close now. Hoping this letter finds everyone in the very best of health. Cheerio and good luck.
A106697 Pte. Randall Clulow,
“B” Coy., Lincoln & Welland Regt.,
Canadian Army Overseas.
“Thanks for the cigarettes received three weeks ago. This is the first opportunity I have had to get a place to write a letter. I am on the verge of returning to the front and have another crack at old Jerry. I have been to the fair city of Paris which I enjoyed very much. It is not very badly damaged in comparison with other towns such as Caen. It certainly took a terrific beating. On account of moving so rapidly I have not had much chance to look at other towns. I suppose by now the fair community is growing rapidly with the finer or feminine sex. I would like to return in time to see some of these fair gals, etc. Well folks, as news is scarce, I will close for now.”
A105843 Pte. J.K. Dunford,
No. 1 C.I.B., Bde. H.Q.,
“I guess I had better write and let you know that I am still alive. I am a little late this month but really this country gets a fellow down. Good old Fred, still on the winders. Yes, I remember him, and we always worked swell together. I still think I could beat any of the winders you have there, folks. If you don’t believe me, write and get me home for one month’s trial. If I fail I’ll come back to Italy. If I win, well, that’s your tough luck. Put Maurice Bruce and me on the Cheese Winder and if we make $1.50 bonus one night we’ll double it the next. I showed the boys here the pictures of Hespeler and they said a “hick town” and turned away. Then I showed them the ladies on the opposite page and now they want their addresses. Oh for the life of Fred Hutchings, wow—and here we are in Italy, with moldy aqua (water) between us. Is Milt Baker still on the job? Also May Pearce whom I used to work beside, and Nell Murray, the pride of the weavers? Well folks, I really appreciate the paper, so I will close with ‘carry on Hespeler’—the finest town I have ever lived in. Don’t forget, ‘good weaving’ means ‘good knees’ for us over here.”
A214780 F/Sgt. J.M. Welsh,
“For several months now I have been receiving regularly your most welcome cigarettes and news about the mill in the form of the D. W. & W. News. I have decided it is time that I wrote this very much belated letter to express my appreciation.
You will probably be interested to know that after a decidedly lengthy period of training I have at last reached an operational squadron. I can tell you that I am really getting a ‘kick’ out of dumping explosive presents on Germany. I am in a crew that is almost a ‘League of Nations’. We have two Englishmen, one Irishman, one Australian, and last but not least three Canadians, and I can tell you that we have some darn good times together.
Please say ‘hello’ to the Winding Room staff for me, and especially the night winders, although there are not many left that I know.
W3526 L/W Pauline Dugmore,
“Sorry I’m so late in doing this but I thought I’d like to drop you a line telling you how much I appreciated your Christmas gift. It was really wonderful to know that at Christmas time all those at home were thinking about the rest of us no matter where we were.
I enjoy the mill paper very much, in fact the boys in the hospital do too, and after seeing some of the shots your photographer has taken. I used to get teased about coming from such a small town, but not any more, I pass the paper on to them and they have also seen our ship, so Hespeler is the “Biggest Little Town in Canada” now.
We had a very nice Christmas down here. As usual the officers served us our Christmas dinner which included soup, turkey and all the trimmings even to a glass of beer. The hospital was all decorated. Each ward had their own Christmas tree and on Christmas morning Santa Claus came to see them and deliver his gifts. Everyone did have a good time and kept that blue homesick feeling away. Here’s hoping I get back to leave this summer. I haven’t been home in warm weather yet, so when I do I’ll be down to visit you all at the mill.”
A Merry Christmas?
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM A BOY IN THE ARMED FORCES
The old guns are silent tonight. Only the echo of machine guns can be heard. For tonight is Christmas Eve and the boys are not home with their families.
Outside on the dyke a heavy rain is falling. The night air is wet and cold. A heavy mist hangs around the friendly slit-trench windows and the gentle curses of someone in two feet of water reach our ears. Nearer comes the roar of that grand old thing, “The Flying Bomb.” Do we remember the first time we heard it? “We wished for the old homestead, and the faces we love.” Could any other tune be better on Christmas Eve for those away from home? Yes!
Perhaps you will read this while rising quietly on a chesterfield, close to a nice warm fire, where the silence is broken only by soft music from the radio. Perhaps you are in action at the dinner table or stationed in a lovely bedroom in Ontario or British Columbia. Or you may be in a Buick or Ford ploughing along the highway with toys for the kids. We know you are thinking of us even as we are thinking of you. We hope that next Christmas will find us at our own firesides, and at least the whole of Europe at peace. So, to all of you at home, this tank crew wishes you all the safe return of your loved ones from Holland. The country about which we grumble the most and yet – we grumbled in Belgium, France and England.
Apologies to D. W. & W. News for this distortion of their most appropriate Christmas message.
Written by Sgt. Robt. J.A. Craig.
Here, There and Everywhere
Our best wishes to Cpl. Annie Stoddart, R.C.A.F. (W.D.), who became the bride of LAC. Clarence Ogilvie on Dec.28th. The marriage was solemnized in the station chapel at No. 15 S.F.T.S., Claresholm, Alberta, where Annie is stationed. The young couple spent their honeymoon in Banff.
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Allan Sellers who are the proud parents of a son. Lloyd Allan, born on Jan. 12th.
Flying Officer Gordon Dalgleish and Mrs. Dalgleish (nee Mildred Featherstone) are the proud parents of a daughter, Donna Marie, born on Dec. 21st.
The girls in the Burling & Mending Dept. send their best wishes to Eileen Watson who underwent an operation at the Galt Hospital recently.
Cpl. Donald Morlock visited the mill while home on furlough from Dafoe, Sask., where he has been stationed with the R.C.A.F.
Gordon McIntosh has been honorably discharged from the Air Force and is now working in the Dyehouse Office.
Gnr. Tommy Richardson who is serving with the R.C.A. in Italy has been honored with official “Mentioned in Despatches” for “gallant and distinguished service” in a recent announcement from Defence Headquarters. Congratulations, Tommy!
Our sincere sympathy is extended to Carl Matthies in the death of his father. Herman Matthies, who was well known around the plant. He was on the staff here for some thirty-seven years. Ill health forced him to retire almost three years ago.
We are pleased to hear that May Henyr of the Payroll Dept. is making favorable progress after her recent operation.
The D. W. & W. News arrives quite regularly for Gnr. Atchison L. G., who is the driver for my tank. Any paper or reading material is instantly read by all members of the crew and of course comments are passed on the contents. Anything from Canada is treated as “news from home.”
In a moment of humor we changed your Christmas message to suit the occasion here, and in a spasm of romance, or something, we picked out the girls we liked in your pictures. Each fellow numbered his “girl” and each one would be very pleased of his number would write to him. How about it, girls!!! Your corresponding numbers are:
1. Gnr. Atchison L.G. A64778.
2. Bdr. Elliott R.D. M3783.
3. Gnr. Dawson E.C.
4. Gnr. Conroy R.L. G50964
5. L/Bdr. Hosick G.
6. Sgt. Craig R.J.A. K9050
7. Gnr. Gauvreau W.
We do sincerely hope to get these letters.
K9050 Sgt. R.J.A. Craig,
55th Bty., 19 Cdn. Fld Regt. (S.P.) R.C.A.
Canadian Army Overseas. B.L.A.
(Gnr. Lawrence Atchison enlisted from the Woollen Spinning Dept.—Ed.)
LAC Bill Turner, R.C.A.F., Toronto, and his wife were recent visitors at the mill.
Dolph Little has been honorably discharged from the Air Force and is back to work in the Cost Office.
We welcome back Shirley Harlock, who has received her discharge from the Air Force and is now working in the Burling and Mending dept.
We are glad to hear that Ida Wildman (Worsted Spinning Dept.) who underwent an operation recently is well on the way to recovery.
Good luck to Tressa Shute and Jean Nichol of the Burling and Mending Dept. who left to join the C.W.A.C.’s. Tressa was presented with a pen and pencil set and Jean with a pen and wallet on behalf of the girls of the department.
Rex Brent of the Dyehouse enlisted in the Army and is at present stationed in London.
Tpr. Donald Bruce called in at the mill on his arrival home after two years overseas. Don was wounded in action in Italy. He was a member of the Cloth Examining & Shipping Dept. prior to his enlistment.
Robin Low, who was severely wounded in action in Belgium on Oct. 22, has returned home from overseas. Robin enlisted just one year ago and has been overseas since last July. He spent a few days at his home here before returning to Chorley Park Hospital, Toronto, to undergo an operation.
The members of the night shift of the Winding Dept. Also enjoyed as skating party at the mill rink. After a full evening of skating they adjourned to Butler’s Hotel, Puslinch Lake, for refreshments.
The Burling & Mending Dept., the Cloth Examining & Shipping Dept. and the Finishing Depts. got together for a skating party over at the mill rink. After an hour of skating lunch was served at the Legion Home.
D. W. & W. ENLISTMENTS
Air force ………………. 75
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