Apparently whirlwind romances happen just before a soldier leaves for the battlefield. “The London Advertiser” has a piece dated November 12, 1914 on a wedding in London, Ontario of Private Sydney Wetherell Bryant to Elizabeth Drouillard. Both were from Windsor.
‘About 1000 people went to the barracks this morning to see a military wedding, in which the 1,100 soldiers of the Eighteenth Battalion participated, when Re. Arthur Carlisle, chaplain of the battalion, in his fall [full] Episcopal robes, married Miss Elizabeth Drouillard and Private Sydney Wetherell Bryant, of “D” Company.
Lieut.-Col. E.S. Wigle and his full provisional staff of officers of the first militia division headquarters, were present at the ceremony. The soldiers were drawn up in an open square on the parade ground just outside the fence around the barrack’s building. This arrangement was largely due to the fact that a moving picture man from Detroit had to have the sun at his back to get a good picture of the affair[ii].
…The boys of “D” and “C” Companies all of Windsor, under the command of Captain A.B. Lang[iii], left nothing undone to see that Private Sidney Wetherell Randall did not forget the day of his wedding. Hardley [sic] had he reached the fence, through which he made his exit with his bride to reach the officers’ mess, when a detail of men showered them with rice.
The boys also turned over to Captain Laing the sum of $47.42[iv], which was given to the bride as the donation of the fellow soldiers of Private Bryant. Another gift from the battalion contained a check, but the amount of it was not given out.
As quartermaster of the battalion Captain Parkinson[v] took a long blank form over to the bridegroom after the ceremony, and he was compelled to sign his name beneath a line, which read: “Issued, One Bride”’
The mystery is there is NO Sydney Wetherell Bryant in the nominal roll of April 1915, not has any search on the LAC database turned out a soldier of this name or any variation that I can think of.
Did Sydney Wetherell Bryant enlist and then was mustered out of the military later before the nominal roll was created? If so, there should still be a record of his attestation papers and service record at the LAC.
The London Advertiser article is full of rich imagery:
“[The parade square formation] arrangement was largely due to the fact that a moving picture man from Detroit had to have the sun at his back to get a good picture of the affair.”
“The boys of “D” and “C” Companies all of Windsor… left nothing undone to see that Private Sidney Wetherell Randall did not forget the day of his wedding… when a detail of men showered them with rice.”
This event was recorded and was all but lost. Thanks to the Veterans of Southwestern Ontario blog and happenstance it is rediscovered and perhaps this mystery will be solved.
[i] Veterans of southwestern Ontario is an inactive blog. The last was January 26, 2014. There are some good articles in the blog.
[ii] This is an interesting detail. Perhaps a copy of this film exists. A Battalion wedding was news enough that a cinematographer from Detroit, Michigan, a trip of 200 km/124 miles expended some effort to get there to film this event.
[iii] Captain Alfred Benson LAING.
[iv] Using the Canadian dollar at parity this value equates to $1,045.38 in 2016 dollars. Quite a princely sum.
[v] There is no officer by the name Parkinson on the Nominal Roll of April 1915.