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At Valcartier, Quebec, the soldiers received rigorous training before continuing on to the battle front. It was there also, that they were introduced to mother earth as a bed!
Women contributed much during the war years too. Housewives made as many sugarless recipes as possible and every cent that could be saved went toward the war effort. There wasn't an orga nization in Portage la Prairie that ignored the needs of comforts and necessities for the boys overseas. The work done by the Salvation Army, Red Cross and I.O.D.E. is well known.
Four Portage ladies who deserve special mention here are:
Mrs. M. B. Snider, Miss Younghusband, Miss Bertha Barnes and Miss Mary Panton, the latter two being graduates of the Portage General Hospital. After war was declared they immedia tely offered their services to go to the front in the capacity of Red Cross nurses.
On November 7, 1918, the Daily Graphic carried big headlines - "VICTORY IS OURS" and in only slightly smaller letters "GERMANY SURRENDERS".
At twelve minutes to twelve the city bells announced to the people of Portage la Prairie that the Allied armies had been successful and that the war was virtually at an end. The ringing of the city bells was followed by those of churches and with the din of whistles from the railway yards it was not long before people knew that the terrible war had at last come to an end, that right had triumphed over might and that all sacrifices had not been in vain.
Mayor Marlatt got out a proclamation declaring the rest of the day a half holiday, asking the business places to close and for stores and homes to be decorated and illuminated that night. "Make all the noise you want to," he said. "Make it a day long to be remem bered".
The celebration was a little premature but the handwriting was on the wall by that time anyway. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and fled to Holland on November 9; World War I Armistice was signed at Senlis on November 11, 1918; and on June 28, 1919, a Peace Trea ty was signed at Versailles.
Sixty thousand Canadians never lived to rejoice in the victory.
Some of them were boys from Portage la Prairie and surrounding districts.
Two hundred thousand Canadians came home wounded. Some of them were from Portage la Prairie and surrounding districts too.