William McKay

Nov 7, 1871

Born in Montreal, Quebec to Thomas and Ann (nee Stormont) McKay


Sep 25, 1893

Married to Elizabeth Ann Brown in Ottawa, Ontario

William McKay served with the Ottawa, Ontario Fire Department from 1896 to 1904.  He left the fire department after suffering a head injury in a fire when he found employment with the EB Eddy Company in Hull, Quebec


Nov 6, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59727 (temporary number 791)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. W.M. McKay, wife, 55 Preston St., Ottawa, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Plumber

o   Later noted as Stationary Engineer also as Steam Fitter

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø  Posted to “G” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “D” Company

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


Mar 16, 1915

To receive extra duty pay 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 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

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


May 22, 1916

Admitted to the 2nd Division Rest Station with defective vision.  He was diagnosed with Presbyopia and prescribed glasses


May 26, 1916

Discharged to duty from the rest station


Dec 31, 1916

Granted 10 days leave


Jan 11, 1917

Rejoined the battalion from leave


Dec 8, 1917

Granted 14 days leave


Dec 25, 1917

Rejoined the battalion from leave


Feb 13, 1918

Medical classification changed to B3, meaning he was only fit for non combat sedentary work as a clerk

William McKay had received a groin injury while at the front that had been treated by the 21st Battalion’s Medical Officer and had been doing light duty work with the battalion since.  This issue became worse over time and it was noted that he was advancing in age


Mar 17, 1918

Transferred to the Canadian Labour Pool


May 22, 1918

Attached to the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples, France for light duties


Jul 17, 1918

Transferred to the Canadian General Base Depot from the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital as being unfit for hospital duty


Jul 29, 1918

Proceeded to England and transferred to the General Depot in Bramshott


Sep 27, 1918

Attached to the CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) in Buxton pending return to Canada


Oct 21, 1918

Embarked the SS Aquitania in Southampton



Oct 28, 1918

Disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Kingston, Ontario where he was Taken On Strength Military District No. 3 Casualty Company


Oct 31, 1918

Granted leave until November 14, 1918


Nov 14, 1918

Medical report at Kingston notes

Ø  Man suffers from an old groin injury and advancing age

Ø  Suffers groin pain on exertion and it also causes disruption of his sleep

Ø  Suffers from shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Ø  Sometimes feels weak for a day or so at a time

Ø  He states his eyesight is poor but glasses help


Nov 25, 1918

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Rank on discharge Private

Ø  Entitled to War Service Badge Class “A”

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 819 Somerset St., Ottawa, Ontario

Following the end of the war, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at 819 Somerset St., Ottawa, Ontario

William McKay was employed as an engineer at the Kingston, Ontario Penitentiary from 1919 until his retirement in 1936


Dec 22, 1948

William McKay died while a patient of the Ottawa Civic Hospital Veterans Pavilion and was buried in the Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario




Return to Tribute list