The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

July 11th, 2013

May 25, 1937 Springhill RecordMen Return To Work

     The strike that tied up highway work last week seems to have been settled, at least for the time being.  While wet weather delayed return of the men to their jobs for a few days, everything is going along smoothly again.

     An agreement was reached whereby the men would return to work on the basis of a five day week and ten hours per day, at 27c per hour.  Saturday would be an idle day on the road.  The contractors preferred the ten hour day, in order that the truck drivers might make a satisfactory day’s pay.  The drivers work on a yardage basis.  About the end of next week it is expected gravelling will start, when it is anticipated two shifts will be used, the trucks working fifteen hours.

     The question of wages has not been settled, as yet.  The men at first asked 30c per hour.  Later they demanded 45C, but finally compromised at 36c.  At the moment the Superintendent here is awaiting instructions from the head office in Toronto.

     In a effort to settle the controversy, Earl Paul, Deputy Minister of Labor, was sent here by the Government on Friday.  He met the men, along with Mayor Wilson and others.  Mr. Paul was said to be in favour of an 8- hour day.  In the matter of transporting the men to work, he made an agreement with the Town to pay the transportation, whereby the Government would take care of two-thirds of the cost and the Town one-third.  Formerly the men were taken to their work by the trucks employed on the road at no cost to the Town or Government.

June 3, 1937 Private Peter Robertson, V.C.

     We were pleased to publish recently an account of the opening of a public park on Coronation Day, in memory of Pte. Peter Robertson, V.C., in his home town of Medicine Hat.  The article was read with much interest and many were pleased that so gracious an honour had been paid to Peter Robertson who is so well remembered here, and where so many of his relatives still reside.  As mentioned, he was a Springhill boy, a son of the late Mr. And Mrs. Alex Robertson, early settlers in the town, who moved to Medicine Hat many years ago, not long after the Springhill Explosion; at which time their 14 year old son Danny, proved himself a hero in the roar and flame of the devastated mine.  Terribly burned and in the dark, he found and rescued the trapper-boy, Judson Terris, and carried him on his back to safety.  There was no V.C. for Dannie, but his story will live while brave deeds are remembered.  (He was the recipient, however, of a lovely gift – a gold watch from the children of Nova Scotia).  He died a few years ago.  The little younger brother, Peter, proved himself in later years and in sacrifice of his own life at Passchendaele, to be of the same fine spirit.

     Although many of the older members of the family have gone on, there remain in town Peter’s two aunts; his mother’s sister, Mrs. M.A. McLeod, and his father’s sister, Mrs. J.R. Hatherly; and also a number of cousins.

     Recalling the older days, we are reminded of a group of boys at the Junction Road School, who were inseparable friends.  Peter was one of the group.  In later years, and especially up and down the lines “Over There” he was known affectionately as “Singing Pete” for his lovely voice.  Even in these early days his talent was apparent, for he led the boys in singing the old ballads.  Although a number of the boys had good voices, (as boy singers they would be appreciated today), no one was ever left out for lack of a voice.  Some of the boys remain, but strangely the greater number live in memory only, being called to leave their work while their sun was still high.  Let us name them over, some with their little marks - *Peter Robertson, V.C.; *Charlie and *Jack O’Rourke; Jack McLeod; *Gard Fraser; Tom and *Jack Scott; *Ray Scott, Sam Russell; *Charlie Kent; *Alex McAuley; *Alex MacKenzie; * Jimmy Richmond; and *Jim McInnes.

     They played hard at their games and in time took their places in a more or less placid pre-war world.  If it were only for the friends of his boyhood, Peter Robertson belongs definitely to Springhill.