Frith, Joseph Coulthirst: Service no. 53072 (Military Medal)

Digitized Service Record

Source: Per Sgt. Beadle promotion per his service record.


Served in the Boer War.


Earned Military Medal at the Somme, September, 1916.

Source: The London Advertiser. December 21 1916. Contributed by Allan Miller of the 149th Battalion (Lambtons) Facebook Group.

Pte. Fred Young Announces This in Letter.
—–Soldier Poet Now Again Engaged in Active Duty With Army.

Hastings, Sussex, England.

Dec. 2, 1916.

Dear Friend,– Our first direct information that the 142nd Canadian (London’s Own) had reached the Shorncliffe training area, was received when we met a bunch of the boys from the old home town in a seacoast hamlet on the shores of the English Channel: Over our coffee and cookies in the Y.M.C.A. recreation dining-room, we listed with eager interest to their up-to-date news from the land of the Maple Leaf.

Their disgust with the Ethiopian darkness of English towns after nightfall, caused by zepp [Zeppelin] visits, was decidedly pronounces, as they contrasted them with the brightly-illuminated cities of Canada. We assured them that their feelings were shared by the inhabitants although just at that time, the official news that two more zepps and a Hun aeroplane had been hurled into oblivion, had created a feeling of jubilation.

Another pleasant feature of the week was our meeting with Sergt. Or, to be correct, Sergt.-Major Joe Firth of the Fighting 18th. We draw no salary as press agent for anyone, but we confess to a thrill of pride in again shaking hands with an old pal, whose main characteristics on the battlefield, utter fearlessness, and the welfare of the men of his platoon, had one him well-deserved promotion. And it was not until we had parted from him that we learned that he had won the Military Medal and had been recommended for a commission in his majesty’s forces. Bon sante and bon chance old pal.

Pessimists and Optimists

Rather disquieting news from Rumania is giving chronic pessimists a brief inning, but healthy optimists know that the temporary setback will have no effect on the final issue of the war. We came across a verse the other day, describing an optimist, and we think it worth while to pass it on. It runs:

“The round a lot of COURAGE that simmered in the sun,

They blended it with patience and just a spice of fun,

They poured in hope and laughter, and then a sudden twist,

The mixed it altogether and made an Optimist.”

You will note by the date [line] that we have again hit the trail and we are please to report that an “official” interview with our esteemed friend and comrade, Dr. Major Hale, from the old home town, resulted in rescinding our “Has been” sentence, and posted us to “light duty” connected with military affairs at Hastings. It sure is a source of pleasure to realize how firmly the officers and men of the old Fighting 18th believe in our favorite passage of scripture: “A fellow isn’t beaten until his shoulders hit the mat.”

Perhaps you have heard that the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre has been transferred from Shoreham to Hastings. We have spent nearly a week here, and evidence of the welcome from the townspeople abounds everywhere.

Difficulty With “Eats.”

In moving such a large body of troops on such short notice, it was hardly possible to provide the “eats” as promptly as per usual. An exaggerated report of conditions must have reached the ears of the major, for that worthy is reported to have said that if the military authorities were in any difficulties, they could turn the boys loose on the town, and he would see that they were well fed until the military “eats” factory was running again with its usual precision. Although it was not necessary to accept his generous offer, such incidents leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.

A rather amusing incident occurred on the street the other day, when a bunch of the boys were lined up n “fours” awaiting the opening of the cookhouse door. An old lady, whose face beamed admiration on the boys, stopped and inquired what “regiment” it was. One of the cooks jocularly remarked that he thought it was the “Mulligan Battery of the Cookhouse Artillery.” Whether the dear old soul was lacking the sense of humor, or whether the long line of traveling field kitchens drawn up by the curb on “active service” overawed her, we do not know, but with a pleasant smile that seemed to convey a mother’s blessing to every man present, she passed down the street evidently satisfied with her information.

English history books in their genealogy of kings commence with William the First, 1066. And there is a linking up of the past with the present, as one realized that the ancient hills around Hastings, that 850 years ago resounded with the tramp of the “Conqueror’s” troops. Are today re-echoing with the martial tread of Canadian soldiers, as the march in squads to orderly room and headquarters to be dispatched to their various destinations. As soon as opportunity presents itself to visit our historic environments, we will write you again.

Yours as ever,

London Advertiser. December 21, 1916.


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