Wilfred "Wilf" Stanley L. Day


The following is from the Windsor Star, May 7, 1976


For Wilf Day the memory lingers 

            There are long pauses while Wilf Day lies staring at the antiseptic sterility of the hospital room. 

            The dates are a bit muddled, the history incomplete. 

            At 87, Wilf Day is hard of hearing and his memory doesn’t always serve him. 

            But there are some things that are etched permanently in his mind, early years in his life that he will always remember. 

            The First World War.  Cold facts in a history text or tales passed down through generations for most of us, stories of biplanes and trench warfare. 

            Wilf Day was with the 21st Battalion.  He speaks haltingly about the war, but his voice is strong and the words are cloaked with modesty. 

            He mentions fighting at Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Ypres. 

            “We had our ups and downs,” Wilf says, smiling faintly as though no one but those who were there can really understand. 

            “I was wounded at Vimy Ridge.” 

            Wilf was a young man of 28 when he fought at Vimy, the battle in April, 1917 that killed more than 3,000 Canadians. 

            It is a slow process for him to recall those years, but what he tells is thick with realism. 

            “On our way to the Somme, we stopped at a farm for three or four days,   “Wilf says, his eyes brightening. 

            “The lady who owned the property was a bit upset.  She told us that every time soldiers occupied the farm her hens didn’t lay any eggs.”  It is a good anecdote, and Wilf chuckles as he relates it. 

            “We had been raiding the nests and filling our packs with fresh eggs.  They were hard to come by.” 

            That kind of larceny is forgivable. 

            Wilf joined the army in 1915, three years after he came to Canada with his wife Laura.  He was born in 1888 in Bridgewater, England, and learned carpentry as a youngster. 

            Wilf settled in Preston, where his first son Stanley was born, and when the war started he signed up and took his wife and son back to England with him in 1915. 

            After the war he returned to Canada and took an 18 month training course in Toronto to become a shop teacher.  Sometime around the early part of 1920, Wilf settled in Windsor and signed up with the Windsor Board of Education. 

            He also joined the Great War Veterans Association, the group that preceded the Royal Canadian Legion. 

            “The boys had nothing when we came back,” Wilf says, recalling the absence of camaraderie found in the trenches that helped unite the soldiers and make war thousands of miles from home more bearable. 

            “We asked ourselves ‘why not have something’ when we came back.  That’s how the legion started.  We got together and had something to share.” 

            Wilf was a charter member of Branch 12, the city’s oldest legion group. 

            He served on the executive of the branch from its first year and was chairman of Poppy Day for many years. 

            Wilf fitted in the legion work with a career in Windsor’s schools. 

            From 1920 to 1925 he taught shop and manual training at Walkerville Collegiate.  Board records are sparse, but they show that in 1932, Wilf moved to John Campbell School for five years and then taught at the Harry E Guppy School (now the High School of Commerce) from 1937 on. 

            He retired in 1955 but remained on staff as a supply teacher. 

            Times have caught up with Wilf Day.  He says he doesn’t do much active work with the legion any more except on Poppy Day.  And he remembers times when a dollar was worth more than a few cups of coffee. 

            “Can you imagine,” he says, incredulously, “when I first started teaching school they paid me $1.10 a day.” 

            Not much, really, for men who fought a cause today’s youth takes for granted.  But those men, like Wilf Day, were humble and didn’t ask for more. 

            They can look around today and be proud.




Feb 19, 1915

Attested into the 39th Battalion at Cobourg Ontario 

Ø      Number A12358 (later changed to 412358)

Ø      Next of kin given as Mrs Laura Day (wife) of Cobourg Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Cabinet Maker

Ø      Previous military experience given as 2 years in Bridgewater Rifle Association.

Ø      Religion given as Church of England

Ø      Assigned to “B” Company


Jun 24, 1915

Embarked the SS Missanabie at Montreal Quebec



Jul 3, 1915

Disembarked at Plymouth England and proceeded to the Shorncliffe Camp


Oct 6, 1915

Appointed to rank of Acting Lance Corporal


Feb 17, 1916

Embarked for France and arrived at CBD (Canadian Base Depot) Etaples


Feb 19, 1916

Reverts to rank of Pte on being transferred to the 21st Battalion


Feb 21, 1916

TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Mar 11, 1916

Left CBD to join unit


Mar 12, 1916

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field


Jul 19, 1916

Admitted to No 5 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) with PUO (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin), essentially a fever, later became known as “Trench Fever”, then transferred to the No 4 CFA


Jul 22, 1916

Transferred to No 2 DRS (Division Rest Station)


Jul 24, 1916

Discharged from DRS No 2 to Casualty Company, then sent on to the 21st Battalion in the field


Oct 16, 1916

Admitted to No 4 CFA then transferred to No 22 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) with a sprained right knee as a result of being buried in a dug-out by a shell explosion.


Oct 18, 1916

Admitted to No 1 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples


Oct 29, 1916

Transferred to CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) 

The invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Stad Antwerpen



Oct 30, 1916

Transferred to Bethnal Green Military Hospital, Cambridge Heath, London 

TOS the CCAC at Shoreham


Nov 10, 1916

Transferred to Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Bromley, Kent


Nov 15, 1916

Transferred to Granville Canadian Special Hospital at Ramsgate


Dec 27, 1916

Granted a 2 day pass from hospital


Mar 10, 1917

TOS the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) at Seaford


May 29, 1917

Discharged from Granville Hospital and sent to St Leonard’s Hospital for PT (Physical Training)


Mar 9, 1918

Granted leave until March 13, 1918


May 22, 1918

TOS 3rd CCD (Canadian Command Depot) Permanent Establishment, for employment at Seaford


Sep 6, 1918

SOS (Struck Off Strength) to EORD and attached to the 3rd CCD for employment


Oct 18, 1918

TOS the EORD and ceases to be attached to 3rd CCD and is On Command to 1st CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) at Buxton


Nov 20, 1918

Ceases to be On Command to CDD Buxton and is SOS to CEF in Canada


Nov 22, 1918

Embarked the RMS Metagama


TOS No 2 DD (#2 District Depot) Toronto Ontario


Nov 30, 1918

Disembarked at St John New Brunswick 

Posted to #2 DD Casualty Company


Dec 2, 1918

Granted leave with subsistence until December 16, 1918


Dec 17, 1918

Medical Board at Park School Barracks Toronto noted: 

Ø      Home address – 139 Pape Avenue, Toronto Ontario

Ø      Injury noted as a “crushing injury of right knee”

Ø      Caused by shell explosion in trenches

Ø      Knee swells when marching

Ø      Surgery in England removed damaged ligaments

Ø      Disability is determined to be permanent

Ø      Board recommends he be placed in Category “E” and discharged


Dec 26, 1918

Discharged from the CEF at Toronto Ontario 

Ø      Given 91 days pay and allowances


Dec 19, 1922

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to 317 Lincoln Rd, Walkerville Ontario


Sep 23, 1980

Deceased at Windsor Ontario



Note:  There were several address changes for his wife, Laura Day.  She lived at the following addresses, and as best as I could sort through them, in the following order: 

Ø      Cobourg Ontario

Ø      33 Argus Rd, Bristol England

Ø      139 Pape Avenue Toronto Ontario

Ø      253 Rhodes Avenue, Toronto (March 17, 1919)

Ø      317 Lincoln Road, Walkerville Ontario

Ø      Windsor Ontario (street address not recorded) 


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