William John Gillespie



Oct 31, 1875

Born in Hastings County, Ontario to John and Christina Gillespie


May 10, 1916

Attested into the CASC (Canadian Army Service Corps) Reinforcements in Kingston, Ontario 

Ø      Number 514916

Ø      Next of kin given as Christina Gillespie, mother, Plainfield, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Baker

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Church of England


Jul 15, 1916

Embarked the SS Empress of Britain in Halifax, Nova Scotia


Jul 25, 1916

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and proceeded to Shorncliffe where he was TOS (Taken On Strength) the CASC TD (Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot) in Shorncliffe


Aug 8, 1916

Transferred to the CASC in Bramshott


Sep 7, 1916

Admitted to the Military Hospital in Bramshott with a diagnosis that reads Cramps


Sep 12, 1916

Discharged to duty from hospital


May 30, 1917

Transferred to the CASC District Depot in Shorncliffe


Aug 3, 1917

Transferred to the CASC Regimental Depot in Shorncliffe


Aug 15, 1917

Transferred to the 6th Reserve Battalion in Seaford


Oct 17, 1917

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Oct 18, 1917

Arrived at the No. 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) in Etaples, France as part of a draft of 19 reinforcements from England and TOS the 21st Battalion


Oct 22, 1917

Left the base depot and joined the CC Rein C (Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp) in Calonne Ricouart


Nov 6, 1917

Left Calonne Ricouart to join the battalion, traveling via train to Poperinghe, Belgium.  The battalion had been fighting at Passchendaele, but by the time he arrived, the battalion had moved south.  He then travelled by bus and foot to join the 21st Battalion


Nov 20, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in billets in Camblain L’Abbe, France


Apr 2, 1918

While in the front line trench northwest of Neuville Vitasse, the battalion came under a heavy artillery barrage overnight April 1-2 and Private Gillespie was killed.  His body was never recovered from the battlefield and as such, he is commemorated on the walls of the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France



Following the war the British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny), Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to his mother, Mrs. C. Gillespie, Plainfield, Ontario



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