100 years ago the Wingham Advance published an article about returning soldiers.
In May 1919 just over a dozen veterans of the First World War from the Canadian and American Forces returned home. The articles that nearly all of them had been wounded but that they “…have recovered and are looking hale and hearty now.”
Lucknow’s soldier sons are coming in in bunches at present. No less than thirteen arrived last week and one nursing sister. Monday. Ptes Strothers and Murray of the 48th Highlanders; Tuesday Ptes Carter and Hedley; Wednesday, Pte Wellington McCoy also of the 48th Highlanders and Pte. Geo. Blue and Serg. Wm. Blue of Amberly; and on Saturday, nursing sister Walker, who has been overseas since 1914; Capt Finlayson (son of Mrs. Finlayson near the big church) who went with the American army; Corp. H.R. Allin, who went with the university reinforcements to the Princess Pats; Pte J.R. Graham who enlisted in the west; Pte Burk of the Siberian Force; Pte Hassall and Buchanan, who went with the Bruce Battalion. All were met by a brass band and reception committee and as the stores closed to meet the returning boys they were royally welcomed home. All have seen quite a lot of fighting, nearly all were wounded, but have recovered and are looking hale and hearty now.
Later on in the paper, on the same page, the paper includeds the return of a member of the 18th Battalion, Private Alfred Mortis, reg. no. 53647.
Since writing the above, another soldier arrived home in the person of Pte. Alf. Mortis who left here with the 18th Battalion[i]. Pte. Mortis spent many months in France before being wounded shortly before the armistice was signed[ii]. The stores closed, and the band met the train. A procession was formed and escorted him to his home, where his wife[iii] and two children awaited him.
Source: The Wingham Advance. May 22, 1919. Page 5.
[i] Private Mortis was one of he “originals” of the 18th Battalion, enlisting on October 26, 1914 in Clinton, Ontario. He was 35-years old, above average age for a soldier in the C.E.F. in that era.
[ii] He was not wounded near the end of the war. He suffered a wound and shell shock and a contusion to his left knee mid-May 1916.
[iii] He was married to Susan H. Mortis. There is no record of his children’s names in his service records.