COLUMN:Doukhobors protest military call-up orders in 1943

A look at what was making headlines in Nelson 70 years ago.

Dateline:

December 16, 1943

 

Explosion and fire — weapons of protest in British Columbia’s Doukhobor district for 20 years — have left scars on the countryside in the wake of an intimation that war regulations are to be more strongly invoked where members of the Russian religious sect are concerned.

Less than 12 hours after a Selective Service official told a mass meeting of Doukhobors that they must comply with call-up orders and undertake alternate service if conscientious objectors, an explosion rocked the little town of Brilliant near Nelson, BC.

In the ensuing fire a jam factory, general stores, warehouse and smaller buildings were burned to the ground.

Replacement value of the destroyed buildings is estimated at close to $400,000.

It was reported that the jam plant cost $300,000 when built and the other buildings, particularly the packing shed were substantial structures.

Glow of the fire was visible 10 miles away.

 

Dateline:

December 21, 1943

 

“Everything” seems to be the range of Nelson Christmas shoppers.

This is the consensus along Baker Street. Many shoppers in Nelson have heeded the “shop early” slogans, last week having been very busy. Drygoods departments report heavy days spaced by slower periods.

On the women’s side, lingerie, that old favourite, is selling fast. Sweaters and any other woolen goods are snapped up as soon as they reach the sales counters, and are practically things of the past by now.

Stocks of cosmetics, perfumes and other luxury items have gone down considerably.

For men, gowns are popular this season, as are gift certificate hats. Gloves, neckwear, belts and other favourite gifts are not moving much faster than they did last year.

People will do more reading, if book sales are any indication. Small items for the home are popular, and stocks are very hard to replace, so early shoppers will be well paid for their efforts.

Although stores have different stocks of furniture this year, they seem to be moving about the same speed as last year.

Stand lamps and woolen blankets are scarce, and many comforters have been sold.

Rye, beer and a few bottles of wine comprise the present stock at the Government Liquor Store but additional supplies, including Scotch, rum and wines will be on the shelves Friday morning.

At the present time many persons were using their December coupons for rye or beer when they actually preferred other kinds of liquor, fearing that this would be all they could obtain.

 

Dateline:

Christmas Eve, 1943

 

“This is the night — the night I’ve always lived for, year in and year out. This one is sure different, though.

Instead of sleighbells, I’ve got tank tracks clanking over the rocks.

Instead of stockings over the fireplace, we’ve got Army socks drying on the bushes.

Instead of a tree full of presents, Jerry lobs over 155’s.

See that star over there? It’s shining down on our house right now, I bet … on Dad and Mom and the kids and Mary.

They’ll be singing carols and it’ll sound wonderful. And there will be a big fire in the fireplace and the stuff on the tree will be sparkling like diamonds.

And after a while they will hang up the stockings. And finally they will all go to bed and the kids will dream of Santa Claus all night long, like I used to.

Merry Christmas, Dad and Mom! Merry Christmas Kids! Merry Christmas Mary! Don’t worry about me. I’m all right. And if everything goes okay, I’ll be home for next Christmas.”

Let us not fail the boy who waits tonight on a wind-swept hill. Let us try to match his job with ours.

Let us work harder in mine and field and factory. Let us buy more and more Victory Bonds and War Savings Certificates.

Let us resolve now to bring him home before another Christmas.

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