136th Battalion collar tabThe Canadian Patriotic Fund
Port Hope Branch


War was declared against Germany on August 4th, 1914 by the British Government. Sixteen days later, the first enlistment of Infantry from Port Hope entrained for the mobilization camp at Valcartier. These men were followed in a few days by a number of men who had joined the Cobourg Heavy Battery.

It was a splendidly prompt response to the call of the Empire. In quick succession important contributions were made to the 21st Battalion, mobilized in Kingston in 1914, and to the 39th Battalion, mobilized in Belleville in the winter of 1914-'15. As the War progressed, large contributions of men were made from this town to the 59th, 93rd, 136th, 139th, 235th and to several artillery units until, in all, four hundred and seventy-six (476) men calling Port Hope their home actually crossed the Atlantic to participate in the Great War.

For the adequate support and comfort of the wives and dependents of the men who had given their services to the Country, the Canadian Patriotic Fund, with the governor-General as President and the Minister of Finance as Treasurer, was founded at Ottawa by the Canadian Government. Branches were soon established in every important centre of enlistment throughout the country, and men and women of the highest standing in the various communities gave their services freely for the carrying on of the work of distributing the money and supervising the needs of the soldier's dependents.

While this Fund was founded by the Government, it was entirely supported from beginning to end by the free offerings of the citizens or by grants by municipal bodies. While the pay of the soldier was deemed sufficient for the man who had no dependents, it was felt that this pay had to be supplemented in accordance with the number of dependents.

A definite schedule of payments was issued, allowing adminstrators of the Fund to grant each wife or dependent mother $10.00 per month; each child between 10-15 years, $7.50; between 5-10 years, $4.50; and under 5 years, $3.00 per month. This schedule was, as the War progressed, modified and increased with the result that dependent families were well cared for and the soldier relieved of financial anxiety.

In September, 1914, after some correspondence with headquarters at Ottawa, the Clergy of the Town, consisting of the Revs. Messrs. Laflair, McCullough, Going, McElroy, Elliott and O'Sullivan and Messrs. Bush, Helm, Roper, Hume, Hayden and Fulford were called together, and a temporary organization was formed and the first payment of about $350.00 to dependents was made early in October.

On October 29th, 1914, a public meeting of citizens was called in the assembly room of the Town Hall by the Mayor, Mr. HT Bush, and a permanent Organization was completed and the following Officers elected:-
     Hon. President, HT Bush, Mayor
     President, JH Helm
     Vice-President, Rev. Jas. A. Elliott
     Treasurer, RA Mulholland
     Secretary, WH Roper
     Executive Committee: Officers and Judge Ward, Rev. TD McCullough, EE Snider, Lt.Col. Wm. McLean and EJ Baird

For one year Rev. Jas. A. Elliott, and for three years and a half, Mr. EJ Baird acted as chairman of the relief committee, a work that required much attention. They were ably assisted for nearly four years by Mrs. Wallace, who kept them informed of the conditions in the homes and assisted in making equitable payments.

The operations of the Fund in Port Hope were regarded at Ottawa and by the citizens of the Town as highly satisfactory, and the beneficiaries gratefully acknowledged its benefit and comfort.

Campaigns for funds were inaugurated in 1915 and 1916 from which were realized the sum of about fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00). In 1917 it was decided that the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham should raise all the funds required within their borders by means of taxation, and the Counties Council voted the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) per month which was continued until the end of the War.

The number of beneficiaries on the Fund started at fifteen and gradually rose as the War progressed until the maximum reached was one hundred and fifteen with a monthly payment of about one thousand, eight hundred dollars ($1,800.00). The highest payment in any one year of the War was in 1917-'18 when the sum of nineteen thousand, eight hundred and twenty-eight dollars and fifty cents ($19,828.50) was disbursed. In other years the amount varied with the enlistment and discharge of the men from active service. In June 1919 the Fund was practically closed.

Officers, 1915-1916
     Hon. President, JH Helm
     President, Henry White
     Vice-President, Rev. Jas. A. Elliott
     Secretary, WH Roper
     Treasurer, RA Mulholland
     Executive: The Officers and Rev. TD McCullough, EE Snider, EJ Baird, H. Fulford, R. Gray, Judge Ward and Lt.Col. Wm. McLean

Officers, 1916-1917
     President, H. White
     Vice-President, JH Helm
     Secretary, WH Roper
     Treasurer, RA Mulholland
     Executive: The Officers, the Clergy of the Town, and Messrs. EJ Baird, R. Gray, DW Galbraith, Mrs. Haultain, Mrs. C. Mann and Mrs. H. Hume

Officers, 1917-1919
     The same as the preceeding years, with the exception of Treasurer. Mr. RA Mulholland asked to be relieved and Mr. EJW Burton was elected.

Later, owing to the illness of Mr. Burton, WH Roper was appointed both Secretary and Treasurer. It will be noted that Mr. Roper was the only Officer who retained his position without interruption from the beginning to the end of the War.




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