The holidays are a time to celebrate, be joyous, and be with family. However, during the war years, the village was filled with the tensions of local boys preparing for battle and heading overseas.

During the early days of World War I, parents, friends, and relatives watched the youth of Westport pack up their belongings and head off to an unknown future. The following entries from Nell’s Diary recorded the December happenings of 1915.

“We have about 20 Soldiers billeted here for the winter drilling under Capt. Bert Adams. Went to Kingston on 13th Dec & got Kakia Suits returned & is drilling under Liutenant”

Captain Bert Adams would die only a few months after Nell’s diary entry, when he drowned in The Rideau while fishing in July of 1916. Bert Adams is shown here in a baseball photo from the pages of The Westport Mirror in the early part of the 1900s.

“Died on the Battle Fields of France Dec 12/1915 R.A. Kane Son of Thomas & Ellen Kane after being C. Engineer on the B. F. for over 18 months”

Corporal Robert A. Kane was Westport’s first Casualty in The Great War. His mother sent a copy of the above photo to be a part of the Queen’s University archives.

The obituary of Corporal Kane was seen in newspapers across the province. The above was from the pages of The Globe, Toronto, Saturday January 1, 1916

“Deming McCann home to spend Christmas in his Military Uniform R.C.H.A. looks fine Just 18 years”

Deming McCann is shown in the front row of this class photo. Deming was wounded in France by gunshot to his left shoulder in November of 1917. Also shown in the front row is Theodore Charbonneau who died from injuries sustained in November of 1917. In this photo: Front Row: Earl McNally, Arthur McCann, Deming McCann, Wilfred Tobin, Christopher McNally, and Theodore Charbonneau. Centre Row: Frances McNally, Kathleen O’Hara, Anne O’Hara, Sephronia McCann, Eva Coburn, Bertha Martin, Carmel Grennon, Marcella Carty, Lottie Bennett, Lucy Kearney, Mary Mulville, and Anne Bower. Back Row: Reg Martin, Tom Garvin, Edward Ryan, Norbert McNally, Jerome Adams, Edward Mulville, Ambrose Garvin, and Ambrose Mulville.