The Granite Creek Machine Gun Fund

Life in remote Granite Creek in 1915 was not blind to the battles on far-off shores. Stories of war had reached the residents. Those who couldn’t join the fight did what they could to help the cause. A meeting in Princeton organized by Lieutenant-Colonel William Norman Winsby roused the locals and it was decided that Princeton and the surrounding towns would begin a “Machine Gun Fund” for the 47th Battalion. Two weeks would be allowed for subscriptions to be collected.

Lieutenant-Colonel Winsby was the commander of the 47th which was mobilized in New Westminster with recruitments made in New Westminster, Victoria and Vancouver. The 47th Battalion which was formed in February, 1915 served in France and Flanders. The Battalion was disbanded in 1920.

Foxcrowle Percival Cook was in charge of collecting money in Granite Creek and Louis Napoleon Marcotte canvassed nearby Coalmont. Men, women, teens, shopkeepers, Chinese, and prospectors gave what they could. Donations ranged from 50¢ to a whopping $30 (about $697 today) by F.P. Cook. Even Madam Hattie McBride donated $5 (about $116 today). An Ice Cream Social held at the Granite Creek Hotel raised $12.30 and a “lucky dollar” was thrown into the pot. In all, $116.30 was raised by the locals in Granite Creek and Coalmont. To put this amount in perspective, in 2014 dollars that would be approximately $2,704.00!

During WW1, 620,000 Canadian troops were mobilized. 58,990 were killed and missing (9.5%). 149,710 were injured (24.1%). 2,820 were taken as prisoners of war (.5%).

Story submitted by Diane Sterne. For more Granite Creek history see the Granite Creek Preservation Society web site.

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