Major John Kay, MC
SAC 1901-1909

Major John Kay was born on July 29, 1892, the son of John B. and Annie Kay, of 65 George St., Toronto, Ontario and attended St. Andrew's College from 1901 to 1909. He then studied Applied Science at the University of Toronto from 1909 to 1914, receiving his Batchelor of Science (Civil Engineering). While at U of T Kay also played rugby, was a member of Zeta Psi, and a Lieutenant with the 48th Highlanders.

In August 1914 Kay was appointed to the 15th Battalion and reached France the following May. He served with the battalion until January 1916, when he transferred to the 13th Machine Gun Company, which later became part of the 1st Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

During three years at the front, he served in the battle of Festubert, the winter campaign on the Messines front 1915-1916; then through the battles of Sanctuary Wood, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passchendaele, and in the first part of 1918 on the Arras front till he was invalided. He was mentioned in Despatches in April 1917 and awarded the Military Cross for his work at Vimy Ridge (see below).

Not long after returning to Canada for duty, he died in Ottawa of pneumonia on December 15th, 1918 at the age of 26 years. He is buried in Toronto (Mount Pleasant) Cemetery, Ontario, Canada (Grave: 12. Lot 116.)

  • Attestation Papers (National Archives) Front - Back
  • Canadian Virtual War Memorial Page for John Kay. This page also includes a link to his commemoration on Page 439 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.
Military Cross
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the attack his untiring energy and foresight enabled the guns of his company to be handled to the utmost advantage. They contributed very largely to the success of the operations on his front."
Awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 July 1917
and the Canada Gazette dated 22 September, 1917, P907

At St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Regimental Church of the 48th Highlanders of Canada