Montreal Daily Star, 10 September 1914, page 18
Many Pitiful Cases Reported to Committee
Ladies investigate every case closely – death follows departure
Incidents emphasizing the burdens and sorrows that have to be borne by the dependents of soldiers left at home, are being brought to the attention of the relief committee of the Patriotic Fund. This morning another death was announced in the ranks of those left behind. A child of one of the soldiers passed away making the fourth death since the contingent left for Valcartier. Three children have died and the wife of a soldier has been taken.
At the office of the relief committee, the workers decline to give information regarding any of the families who have applied to them for assistance, considering this data as confidential. It has been learned, however, from other sources that Mrs Hawkins, of Cote St Paul, wife of Private Hawkins of the 3rd Victoria Rifles, now at Valcartier Camp, died on Saturday at the Western Hospital of pneumonia. Mrs Hawkins had been ill only a few days, and with her daughter, Mrs Cross, whose husband is also a member of the Victoria Rifles and a volunteer at Valcartier, had registered at the office of the Patriotic Fund. When the ladies investigating the case called at the home they found Mrs Hawkins ill with pneumonia and had her taken to the Western Hospital, where death occurred Saturday. The funeral was held on Monday.
The bereaved husband and son-in-law at Valcartier were unable to return to Montreal in time for the funeral.
A very sad case
What the investigating ladies describe as a terrible case of neglect and thoughtlessness by the father who left to the front, has been brought to light in Lachine. In this case, the man who enlisted left behind a family of eight children, 12 years old and under, and an infant. The mother is dead and a step-grandmother is caring for the baby, while the children were found at home in the care of the oldest child. They were almost in a starving condition and emergency relief had to be provided at once. Arrangement are being made to turn over the care of this family to the Lachine ladies’ committee, and is being considered whether a housekeeper should be found for them or try to secure a home with someone for the little ones. This was a case, say the ladies, where the soldier simply shifted his responsibility entirely on to the committee, apparently making no effort to ensure the children being cared for.
Up to the present there have been four cases of deserted wives, discovered by the investigators. In these cases the men enlisted and left the city without informing their wives of their intentions or making any provision whatever for their upkeep.
The “black list” in the committee rooms now contains the names of ten whom the investigators have found undeserving. In one case where application for relief was made, it was found that the woman’s husband instead of being at Valcartier, was in jail.