William Henry Gay, MM



Dec 24, 1897

Born to William and Annie (nee McReynolds) Gay at Hampton Ontario


Jan 13, 1916

Attested into the 136th Battalion at Bowmanville Ontario 

Ø      Number 805272

Ø      Next of kin given as Mr William Gay (father) of Hampton Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Butcher

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Methodist


Sep 25, 1916

Embarked the RMS Corsican at Halifax Nova Scotia



Oct 6, 1916

Disembarked at Liverpool England and proceeded to the West Sandling Camp.  Upon arrival, the Battalion was absorbed into the 39th Reserve Battalion


Oct 14, 1916

He was determined to be underage and posted to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) but remained with the 39th Reserve Battalion under attachment and assigned to PBD (Permanent Base Duty)


Dec 25, 1916

Admitted to Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe diagnosed with Mumps.  This was later changed to read Tonsillitis, but that was later changed to read Parotitis (an inflammation of the Saliva Glands)


Jan 4, 1917

Attached to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford


Jan 16, 1917

Discharged from hospital


Jan 31, 1917

Attached to the COC (Canadian Ordnance Corps) at Ashford, Kent


Feb 28, 1917

Ceased to be attached to the COC and returned to the 6th Reserve Battalion


Mar 10, 1917

SOS (Struck Off Strength) the CCAC and posted to the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) and attached to the 6th Reserve Battalion for duty


Apr 22, 1917

On Command to the TWS (Trench Warfare School)


May 11, 1917

TOS the 6th Reserve Battalion on return from the TWS


Jun 19, 1917

Posted to the 21st Battalion


Jun 21, 1917

Arrived at 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) at Havre France and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Jun 26, 1917

Admitted to No 7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples diagnosed with ICT (Inter Connective Tissue) infection in his face


Jul 4, 1917

Transferred to No 6 Convalescent Depot at Etaples


Jul 6, 1917

Discharged from hospital to Base Details


Jul 7, 1917

Arrived at 2 CIBD and posted to “A” Company for those recovering from wounds and illness


Jul 27, 1917

Left 2 CIBD and joined the 2nd Entrenching Battalion at Hersin as part of a group of 5 soldiers


Aug 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field 

The Battalion moved into billets at Villers au Bois to begin training exercises on this date. 

He assigned to No 9 Platoon of “C” Company and employed as a Stretcher Bearer


Nov 9, 1917

On this date the Battalion supplied a work party of 200 Other Ranks to work with the Brigade at Passchendaele.  That work party suffered heavy casualties and Pte Gay was reported missing


Nov 13, 1917

He found his way back to his own lines and was admitted to No 11 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) diagnosed with Trench Feet.  He was then transferred to No 2 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station).  From there he was transferred to the No 7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples.


Nov 17, 1917

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Pieter de Conninck, embarking at Calais


Posted to the EORD while in hospital


He disembarked at Dover and was admitted to No 6 Canadian General Hospital at Orpington


Jan 22, 1918

Discharged from hospital and posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford


Mar 6, 1918

Awarded the Good Conduct Badge


Apr 11, 1918

Arrived at 2 CIBD in France and TOS the 21st Battalion


Apr 14, 1918

Left 2 CIBD for the CC Rein C (Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp)


Apr 16, 1918

Arrived at the CC Rein C at Calonne Ricouart with 9 other men destined to join the 21st Battalion


May 12, 1918

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field 

The Battalion was in the front line trenches in the Mercatel Section and he rejoined his old Platoon and Company


Jun 8, 1918       

The Battalion was in billets at Wailly and a letter he wrote on this date was published in the Bowmanville News on July 11, 1918



Aug 8, 1918

During an attack at Marcelcave, he tended to Lt Col Jones, the Commanding Officer of the 21st Battalion who had been shot by a German Machine Gun.  Lt Col Jones subsequently died of his wounds.  Pte Gay continued to tend to many wounded and even though he suffered from the affects of German Gas shells, he carried in many wounded soldiers.  For these actions, he was recommended for the Military Medal.  Below is part a letter that appeared in the Bowmanville News on October 11, 1918




Aug 26, 1918

He was wounded in the right arm by rifle bullet and admitted to No 5 CFA, and transferred the same day to the No 42 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station).  Later that night he was transferred to the No 12 Stationary Hospital.  X-Rays showed a complete fracture of the Ulna bone


Aug 27, 1918

Transferred to No 7 Canadian General Hospital, where surgery was performed to set his broken arm


Aug 29, 1918

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Ville de Liege


Posted to the EORD while in hospital 

Admitted to the 1st Western General Hospital at Liverpool


Oct 18, 1918

Transferred to the Woodcote Park Convalescent Hospital at Epsom


Nov 22, 1918

Posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford while in hospital


Jan 17, 1919

Discharged from hospital with leave until January 29, 1919 when his is to report to the EORD at Witley


Jan 24, 1919

Awarded the Military Medal per London Gazette #31142


This was for his acts of bravery on August 8, 1918 that were noted above


Feb 7, 1919

Detailed to the Depot Company of the EORD


Feb 12, 1919

Ceased to be attached to the Depot Company and admitted to No 11 Canadian General Hospital at Moore Barracks Shorncliffe


Jul 2, 1919

Transferred to No 5 Canadian General Hospital at Kirkdale


Aug 8, 1919

Invalided to Canada aboard the Hospital Ship Araguaya



Aug 17, 1919

Disembarked at Portland Maine USA and proceeded to Toronto Ontario


Aug 18, 1919

Admitted to St Andrews Hospital at Toronto Ontario


Aug 19, 1919

Granted leave with subsistence until September 2, 1919


Sep 4, 1919

He was referred to the Ophthalmology Dept at St Andrews Hospital because of soreness in both eyes as a result of being gassed in August of 1918. He was treated with cream in both eyes.


Oct 25, 1919

Discharged from hospital and posted to the Casualty Company


Oct 29, 1919

Discharged from the CEF at Toronto Ontario 

War Service Badge Class “A” issued, number 400366


Sep 2, 1922

The British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at 67 Gorly (spelling?) St, Toronto Ontario


Aug 3, 1926

Married to Myrtle Priscilla Gostlin at Toronto Ontario


Dec 4, 1927

On entry into the United States at Buffalo New York, he gave his home address as 72 Dawes Rd, Toronto Ontario, and his occupation as Restaurant Man


Nov, 1933

He was reported to be in the Bowmanville Hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the foot while hunting near his old home in Hampton Ontario.  The big toe on his right foot had to be amputated.


Aug, 1968

His death in Toronto Ontario was reported in the 21st Battalion Association newsletter, The Communiqué


Below is from The Communiqué dated January 1938

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