William James Reid signature

On this day in 1915 William James Reid enlisted for the first time in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was born on May 26th, probably in 1866, in Shannonville, the son of James Reid and Nancy (née Crothers), who were both Irish. Both his parents had died by 1915 and William was 49 when he tried to sign up, though he claimed to be 44.

His first enlistment was short-lived: his attestation paper notes that he was discharged on November 18th as “not likely to become efficient”.


William James Reid discharged


William was not discouraged, however. On November 22nd, 1915 he enlisted again, at St. Boniface. He was given the regimental number 291767 and was described on this form as five feet eight inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and grey hair. He had “Tattooage on left arm” of “English flag, guns, carriage, heart, women, head, hope”.

William Reid enlisted for a third time on April 17th, 1917. On this form he said that he had served in the 53rd Battalion for four months. His regimental number on this form was 2184307. His service record shows that he went overseas on September 5th, 1917 on the SS Megantic.  He served in England with the 1st Reserve Battalion until February 1918. He was sent back to Canada in March 1918 and was discharged in Winnipeg as medically unfit on April 8th. A note on his file states that he died on September 13th, 1919.