Reunion – 23/1/44

- 23/Jan/44, p.1 – The Beaver Club Reunion holds the spotlight at the moment. We have had frantic phone calls from half the mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts wanting to know if their particular boy friend was in attendance. All we could say was, “I dunno.”
The whole town is agog waiting for the sound picture to arrive. We have been besieged with requests for reserve seats. The sound pictures are the property of the Powell River Company and will be available for future Ex-Service Mens’ “stags” or public occasions. We can drag them out anytime. They were made possible by some long distance wires, cables and telephone talks between our President Harold Foley and moving picture owners. News that a number of our girls were present at the Reunion lent an additional touch of interest and color to the proceedings. By the time our next issue comes out, we will have seen the movies, and promise a special description of local reaction. (The odd wife is wondering just what condition Hubby would be in for the official “do” on Sunday, after the unofficial parties on Saturday night.) Any sidelights on the show will be welcome, and the boys out in Italy, the Middle and Far East, will be glad to have this information. So give us the low down in your next letter!”
- Feb/44, p.1 – “News of the Reunion is just percolating over the wires and through the Underground. The films have arrived in Canada, but there is some editing, etc. to be done before we show them in Powell River. By the way, if any of you fellows have any private snaps of groups or reunion scenes, we could use them in our business. And that goes for any non-censorable ones you have of camp scenes etc. anywhere. We did hear that sixteen of the troops took Doris Humphrey to a show. We told that to a few of the local lassies, and Doris is now about as popular as a hive of bees at a picnic.”
Feb/44, p.4 – “The first pictures of the Beaver Club Reunion have just come in. Splattered all over the front page of the Sun and in the Province. Pretty snazzy too! We liked that 16 men and a girl one, with Doris Humphry [sic] surrounded by local wolves. And that one in front of Trafalgar Square (not so clear, but we will make a better job in the Digester) was smart, by gad! Mrs. Mollie Parkin and Mrs. Margaret Messmer were strutting around the office like pouter pigeons after looking at that photo of their husbands grinning like a couple of cream licking cats. Also rather taken with the one of Corp. Zella Stade gazing soulfully into Albert Mitchell’s large brown eyes (what ho! Lieut. Rorke!) Liked the group with Bat MacIntyre, Walt Vandervoort, Lionel Rorke, Martin Naylor, Roy Lund, Gene Messmer, all in dignified relaxation. And Cpl. Jack Leclair and Sgt. Gord. Smith, natty lads, what, what! We thought we detected Camille Perry in the mob on the steps, but will have to wait for the actual pictures. These newspaper cuts are not so hot. And we didn’t see Corp. Earl Dore or Squad. Leader Jock Kyles in any of the pictures. They may turn up later. Quite a number of new faces – and you chaps got a break when we wrote the girls to rag along to watch and correct your erring footsteps. (What about it, Doris, did you keep them in order?)
This is only a snatch preview. The sound pictures will be along in a few days so we will probably devote all of our March issue to telling you the home folks’ reaction, who was there, and what Bill’s wife said to Jack’s sister, as the boys passed down Piccadilly.”
- Vol.20/1944/No.3-Mar. p.1 – “On Sunday, January 23, 1944, over one hundred Powell River boys and girls held the second Powell River Overseas Reunion at the Beaver Club, London. By the time this issue is out, our local readers will have viewed the Powell River Company’s sound film, “Reunion in London”, which covers scenes at the gathering. From scores of letters received, this reunion was a real old home town day for these boys and girls of ours. They converged on London from all corners of the United Kingdom, and from all branches of the Service. Powell River was the first district in Canada to officially organize reunions of their sons and daughters overseas; and few will question the effect on morale of such gatherings. It is doubtful if there could be found anywhere in the Canadian Army Overseas, a group of men and women as well knit and as home-town conscious as these youngsters from Powell River. The Powell River Company is proud to have been associated in the maintenance of this link between the home front and our men overseas, and hope that the motion pictures of theReunion will have forged the link even closer.”
- Vol.20/1944/No.3-Mar. p.16 – “This month most of us were privileged to see the Powell River Company’s film, “Reunion in London”. It was a very intimate film. It was a family film. Many Powell River fathers and mothers, wives and sisters, saw well-loved members of their family speaking and talking to us. They were a fine clean-cut body of men and women. Officials of the Beaver Club describe the Powell River Reunion as the most orderly and well conducted affair of their experience. We expect that kind of a report, because we know the fine crowd of youngsters who have left here to fight our fight on the war fronts of the world. It was a heartening spectacle, the picture of that “Old Gang of Ours”. What a swell bunch of kids they are, and how they appreciate the little kindnesses and thoughts of the folks in the old home town.”
- Mar/44, p.5 – “Guess you have heard all about the Reunion pictures in letters from home. We showed them on Sunday, March 5
th. And over 1100 people came out. Quite a number of relatives came up from Vancouver and way points for the day. Johnny Lawson’s mother and father were there; and Frank O’Neill’s mother; and Norman Hill’s old mentor Mr. Lang left his Courtenay drug business for four days just to see Norm. And Pete Holborne’s mother and sister were beaming with honest pride as Pete did his stuff in approved style.
It was certainly a treat to see so many of the old crowd face to face and to hear the old Powell River line still going strong. And by the way, despite rationing, we can’t honestly say any of you fellows looked underfed. On the contrary, men! Batt MacIntyre, in his usual vein, drew gasps of admiration from the spectators (female) and beams of pride from his mother and other relatives. Mrs. Jean Foote told everyone within hearing “that’s my cousin, you know”. And you should have listened to the girls under twenty five and over twenty discussing that moustache of Martin Naylor’s. There were many sighs of envy as Doris Humphrey and Zella Stade, appeared and reappeared surrounded by hopeful swains. And Johnnie Lawson was doing all right for himself – in fact, everybody seemed to be in here pitching.
We showed the pictures to four separate audiences, and at every performance we caught Mollie Parkin, Maragret Messmer and quite a number of others, coming back for more.
These sound pictures are the permanent property of the Powell River Company and will be available for special showings now and after the war. It is a unique record, and we believe Powell River is the only spot in Canada that has a personal film record of its men and women overseas. Arrangements were made by Mr. H.S. Foley with Canadian Public Relations (Army) to film the Reunion, which constitutes a record we are all proud of. You’ll enjoy seeing them.”
- Apr/44, p.5 – “We showed the Reunion pictures in the Stanley Theatre, Vancouver recently. Special showing by invitation to all ex-Powell Riverites in Vancouver. About six hundred people turned out and it was a second home town reunion. Almost everybody was there, and they had to call in the cops to clear the street. A lot of improptu parties took place later and the old Powell River spirit was much in evidence.”
- Vol.20/1944/No.4-Apr. p.8 – “On Saturday, January 23
rd, 1944, the Second Annual Reunion of Powell River Service Men and Women was held at the Beaver Club in London. For the home folks this Reunion held more than ordinary signifigance, since the Powell River Conpany, through the initiative of President Harold S. Foley, had arranged for a special sound movie to be taken of the proceedings. On Sunday, March 5th, through the courtesy of Myron C. McLeod, Patricia Theatre, and his staff, the Reunion pictures were shown for the first time in Powell River. Over 1100 residents turned out and three consecutive showings were made to crowded houses. The film is the permanent property of, and all rights were purchased by, the Powell River Company. We believe this film record is unique among the industrial firms of this, and perhaps, any continent. The Company, by special arrangement with the Canadian Army Public Relations Department had the film record made of over 100 of their former employees, collected at one time and at one spot, in the Empire’s capital. Parents and wives saw the film several times, and hundreds of local residents were grateful for this opportunity to see and hear their old friends on the screen. “We are happy that we were able to obtain these films and to bring our people these intimate picture of their boys and girls,” stated Mr. Foley. “The expressions of appreciation which I have personally received from Powell River mothers and wives have more than repaid us for our efforts,”
- Jul/46, p.5 – (photo caption) “The second Powell River reunion, January 23, 1944, of which the Powell River Company made a 20-minute sound film which has been shown to over 2,000 residents to date. These reunions earned a high reputation for Powell River in the Canadian Armed Forces.”
- Jul/46, p16 – “Doris (Humphrey) has the honor of being the sole feminine representative of Powell River at the Overseas Reunion in January, 1944.”