William Gillespie

May 24, 1887

Born in Cornwall, Ontario to Daniel and Mary (nee Ward) Gillespie


Nov 4, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59367 (temporary number 524)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. Joe Rowe, sister, Cornwall, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Engineer

o   Later noted as Stationary Engineer

Ø  Previous military experience given as 59th Stormont and Glengarry Regiment, Cornwall, Ontario

Ø  Religion given as Roman Catholic

Ø  Posted to “E” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “C” Company

The 21st Battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area through the winter of 1914-15.


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec


May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Sep 25, 1915

While in the front line “C” Trenches near Messines, Belgium, Private Gillespie was buried by the explosion of an artillery shell.  He was unconscious when he was dug out with shrapnel wounds to his neck, arms and hand.  He was evacuated to a field ambulance for first aid before being transported to the No. 8 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)


Sep 28, 1915

Transported to the No. 8 Stationary Hospital in Rouen, France and immediately invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Egypt


On arrival in England, he was admitted to the London General Hospital in Wandsworth.  Surgery was not required, but it was noted that he was now deaf in his left ear

Transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion for pay purposes while in hospital


Nov 6, 1915

Transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bromley


Nov 25, 1915

Transferred to the Moore Barracks Hospital in Shorncliffe


Feb 15, 1916

Transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) for pay purposes while in hospital


Feb 17, 1916

Transferred to the CCDD (Canadian Casualty Discharge Depot) in Bath pending return to Canada


Feb 25, 1916

Embarked the SS Metagama in Liverpool



Mar 6, 1916

Disembarked in Saint John, New Brunswick and proceeded to Kingston, Ontario where he was posted to the Military District #3 Casualty Company


Jul 2, 1916

Medical Board in Kingston, Ontario notes that he has completely recovered and fit for duty


Aug 23, 1916

Transferred to the Special Service Company in Kingston


Oct 7, 1916

Transferred to the 155th Battalion in Kingston


Oct 17, 1916

Embarked the SS Northland in Halifax, Nova Scotia



Oct 28, 1916

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and the battalion proceeded to Bramshott


Dec 5, 1916

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Dec 6, 1916

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France as part of a draft of 147 reinforcements from England and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Dec 8, 1916

After leaving the base depot, Private Gillespie rejoined the 21st Battalion in billets in Bully Grenay, France


Apr 21, 1917

Attached to the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) for duty


Jun 30, 1917

Rejoined the battalion from duty with the YMCA


Aug 1, 1917

Attached to the 2nd Division Burial Party for duty


Sep 2, 1917

Rejoined the battalion from duty with the burial party


Sep 20, 1917

Granted 10 days leave


Sep 28, 1917

Rejoined the battalion early from leave


Sep 30, 1917

Admitted to the No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance with a diagnosis that reads VDG (Venereal Disease Gonorrhea).  He was transferred the same day to the No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulance


Oct 10, 1917

Transferred to the No. 22 Casualty Clearing Station


Oct 11, 1917

Transferred via the No. 6 AT (Ambulance Train) and admitted to the No. 51 General Hospital in Etaples


Nov 16, 1917

Transferred to the No. 4 Stationary Hospital in Arques, France


Dec 13, 1917

Discharged from hospital for duty with camp details in St. Omer, France and classified TB (Temporary Base) meaning that he was unfit for combat duty


Dec 15, 1917

Arrived at the No. 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) in Etaples


Dec 19, 1917

Transferred to the Canadian Labour Pool for duty


Jan 5, 1918

Transferred to the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion


Jan 6, 1918

Joined the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion in La Targette, France as part of a draft of 49 reinforcements


Mar 18, 1918

Granted 14 days leave


Apr 5, 1918

Rejoined the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion from leave


Jun 15, 1918

Admitted to the 1 / 2 Lowland British Field Ambulance with a diagnosis that reads PUO (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin), that is a fever without a known cause


Jun 16, 1918

Transferred to the No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station


Jun 19, 1918

Transferred via the No. 15 Ambulance Train and admitted to the No. 20 General Hospital in Camiers, France where the diagnosis was changed to read Lymphangitis and Trench Fever


Jun 26, 1918

Transferred to the No. 6 Convalescent Depot in Etaples


Jun 28, 1918

Transferred to the No. 15 Convalescent Depot Trouville


Jul, 12, 1918

After being discharged from the convalescent depot, Private Gillespie reported to the Canadian Infantry Base Depot in Etaples


Jul 31, 1918

After leaving the base depot, Private Gillespie joined the 1st Canadian Infantry Works Company


Sep 13, 1918

The 1st Canadian Labour Battalion was disbanded and Private Gillespie was transferred to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Works Company at Cherisy, France


Sep 28, 1918

Forfeited total of 13 days pay for being absent from camp for 3 days


Dec 16, 1918

Sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No. 1 for failing to comply with an order from a superior


Jan 11, 1919

Transferred to the General Depot and attached to the 12th Reserve Battalion in Witley, England


Feb 18, 1919

Transferred to the Military District 4 & 5 Wing at Kinmel Park pending return to Canada


Mar 13, 1919

Embarked the SS Cretic in Liverpool



Mar 22, 1919

Disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Montreal, Quebec


Mar 26, 1919

Discharged from the CEF in Montreal, Quebec

Ø  Rank on discharge Private

Ø  War Service Badge Class “A” issued number 92359

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge General Delivery, Cornwall, Ontario

Following his discharge, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at First St., Cornwall, Ontario


Jan 19, 1920

Married to Mary Ann Fyke in Mara Township, Ontario

Following the war, William Gillespie was employed as a Lockman for Lock 19 on the Cornwall Canal


Apr 23, 1936

William Gillespie died of a broken neck while a patient of the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Cornwall, Ontario.  This was the result of a car crash that had occurred 2 days earlier.  He was buried in the St Columbian’s Church Cemetery, Cornwall, Ontario


 Ottawa Citizen, April 23, 1936


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