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WELCOME SPEECH TO THREE SOLDIERS

Speech by James Hands, Mayor of Perth (circa 1917?)

This undated original typescript from the research files of the Perth Museum. Transcribed by Charles Dobie.


To Privates Everett Doyle, Wilfred Charlton and Herbert White :
           The people of Perth are gathered here today to give you all a hearty welcome home, and are delighted to have the opportunity of expressing our full appreciation of the splendid service you gave to the Empire in the great war-struggle overseas. What you have done, in conjunction with the many others from these parts, in fighting for liberty to opressed nations and for the right to live and work out proper ideals, has called forth the admiration of the whole country and it is fitting that recognition be made in this way of your valor and patriotic devotion.
           This is the first occasion on which we have had the privilege of receiving at one time more than one of our brave fellows on their return from the battlefields of France and Flanders, and will be regarded as a notable day in the annals of this County. The fact that it is St. Patrick's Day only accentuates our desire to make it in reality a "Hundred Thousand Welcomes" to your home firesides and your native haunts, where we hope the familiar scenes and familiar friends and the rejuvenating native air may soon restore you to as full a measure of health and strength as is possible under the circumstances.
           Private Everett Doyle, first of Perth's sons to win the Military Medal for bravery on the battle-line, you have set your fellows a fine example, and are worthy of the congratulations that are being showered upon you. Going overseas in April of 1916 with Vancouver's Seaforth Highlanders, and being in the trenches three months when you received the wounds which have made you an invalid since that time, we rejoice to know that you have good prospects for soon regaining your former health and vigor, and we trust you may still be able for service to your country that will add increased prestige to the excellent record you have so worthily won.
           Private Wilfred Charlton, you have had a long and trying experience since you enlisted with the 10th Battalion of Lethbridge on 10th August, 1914, immediately after war was declared. You accompanied your unit to France in April of 1915, and had your place in the Battles of Festubert and Givenchy, showing mettle that proved you to have the stern kind of stuff requisite for the model soldier. Being severely wounded while on duty in Belgium, it fell to you to spend long terms in several of the hospitals in France and England before being invalided home to Canada, and we are all pleased to note that in spite of your great sufferings you are making gradual progress toward recovery, and the hope of all your fellow citizens is that you may soon be fully restored.
           Private Herbert White, as one of our near neighbours, we are glad to have the privilege of welcoming you home with the other boys from the county town who have "done their bit" for the Empire and have paid the price so many others have had to pay. Like your fellows to whom reference has already been made, you were far from home when you heard the call of King and Country, but, like them, you saw your duty and you did it, nobly and well. Enlisting with the 28th Battalion of Winnipeg on October 25th, 1914, you went overseas in May of 1915 and to the trenches in France the same autumn. After undergoing bombardment and trench fighting for some time at Kemmel, south of Ypres, you were wounded there on January 4th, 1916, and, like your fellows, you have had to undergo hospital treatment since that time in France and England. Now that you are back to your home at Balderson, we trust you may speedily recover your former excellent health and strength, and be again fitted for the activities that lie ahead.
           To all of you, returned heroes of the strife abroad, let us say that your wounds are regarded by us as badges of bravery and evidences of devotion to the cause we all have at heart that will ever make you out as worthy of the heartfelt appreciation and good wishes of all our citizens, and let me assure you that these you have to the fullest extent.
           On behalf of the citizens' committee and the citizens of Perth.
JAS. J. HANDS
Mayor.

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