William Joseph McGee

Jul 27, 1868

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick to Robert and Annie McGee


Nov 7, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59717 (temporary number 897)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. Mary Brown, sister, 9 Ferrier Ave., Toronto, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Painter

o   Later noted as a Sign Writer

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Roman Catholic

Ø  Posted to “F” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “C” Company

He lied about his age, stating that he had been born July 27, 1876, not his actual birth date of July 27, 1868 as he was overage for enlistment

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


Jan 1, 1915

To receive extra duty pay as a Cook


Mar 18, 1915

Fined $2.00 for being drunk


Mar 30, 1915

Employed as a Company Cook


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 2, 1915

Appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

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


Nov 17, 1915

Reduced to the rank of Private for Insolence to an Officer


Dec 25, 1915

Placed under close arrest after he intentionally tried to shoot 3 men in the Orderly Room


Jan 29, 1916

Tried by Field General Court Martial charged with

Ø  Being drunk

Ø  Shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm

o   This wording had been changed from the original charge laid by Lieut Col WSP Hughes.

Testimony was given that he was drunk and fired his rifle at 3 men in the Orderly Room when he was refused more alcohol.  The bullet passed through one man’s Great Coat without wounding him.

He was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to 1 year imprisonment with Hard Labour.  This sentence was reduced to 5 months imprisonment.


Feb 6, 1916

After it was disclosed that there were improprieties in the way the 2nd charge was changed at the Court Martial, the guilty verdict on the 2nd charge was quashed and the sentence was reduced to 3 months Field Punishment No. 1 on the 1st charge.


Apr 6, 1916

Admitted to the Northampton Field Ambulance with bruised and broken ribs that were reported to have been accidental when he claimed to have fallen.  He was transferred the same day to the No. 1 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)

An accident report filed by the 21st Battalion’s Commanding Officer clearly stated that the accident did not happen and there was no further explanation given.  Private McGee later told doctors that his broken ribs were the result of the explosion of an enemy artillery shell, but there is no evidence to back up that story either.


Apr 7, 1916

Transferred via the No. 15 AT (Ambulance Train) and admitted to the No. 22 General Hospital in Camiers, France


Apr 28, 1916

Transferred to the No. 6 Convalescent Camp in Etaples to continue his recovery


May 9, 1916

Discharged to the base details in Etaples and classified TB (Temporary Base) meaning he was temporarily unfit for front line duty


May 12, 1916

Reported to the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre


Jun 30, 1916

His true age was discovered and he was declared to be over age for service


Jul 2, 1916

Classified as Permanent Base meaning he was permanently unfit for front line duty


Jul 3, 1916

Invalided to England because he was over age

On arrival in England, he was transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) in Folkestone


Jul 6, 1916

Attached to the CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) in Prior Park, Bath pending return to Canada


Jul 7, 1916

Medical exam notes that he is over age and suffers from Senile Debility


Aug 1, 1916

Embarked the SS Empress of Britain



Aug 9, 1916

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


Sep 10, 1916

Discharged from the CEF in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ø  Rank on discharge Private

Ø  Entitled to War Service Badge Class “A”

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 9 Ferrier Ave., Toronto, Ontario

Following the end of the war, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at 107 West 160th Street, Los Angeles, California, USA


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