WALLAY, William

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Clinton, Ontario
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
22 years 5 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:         4th Canadian Infantry Division
                                             10th Infantry Brigade
                                             46th Battalion  -  Saskatchewan
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   127467
DATE OF BIRTH:            May 5, 1895 
                                             Clinton – Township of Goderich/Hullet – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           October 26, 1917                 22 years     5 months
MEMORIAL:                    Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres –
                                             West Vlaanderen – Belgium
                                             Panel 18 – 26 - 28 
KIN:                                    Mrs. W. Wright – Galt - Ontario
Occupation:                        Farmer                                  Religion:     Roman Catholic
Enlistment:                         October 29, 1915 – Clinton – into 71st Battalion
Enlistment Age:                 20 years     6 months

The 1911 Canadian Census showed him as living as a servant with William and Martha Taylor in Hullett Township.
Private Wallay left Canada on the S.S. Olympic bound for Liverpool and arrived on May 7, 1916. He transferred to the 51st Battalion in the early part of June and then near the end of the month transferred to the 46th Battalion. He goes into France on August 11th. He then is attached to the 10th Field Company of the Canadian Engineers on May 15, 1917 and then rejoins his unit. He is tried and convicted of desertion while on active service on May 30, 1917 and his sentence is the death penalty. His sentence is then commuted to 10 years penal servitude but this is suspended by The Commander of the First Army.
He rejoins his unit in the field on August 23, 1917. The 10th Infantry Brigade took over the front lines on October 22nd with the 50th on the front lines, the 46th in reserve and the 44th/47th further back.
“A & B” Companies on the high ground near Tyne Cottage and “C & D” Companies were south of Beecham.
Zero hour was 5:40 am and the barrage began then, the infantry advanced and some shells were falling short and casualties were being taken. The enemy artillery replied and fell at Heine House, Hillside Farm and the Ypres Roulers Railway.
The Brigade barrage lifted and then again fell short onto the advancing infantry causing many more casualties.
“A” Company advanced on Decline Copse and the small tree enclosed field just north. This Company quickly secured and consolidated their positions. They had begun with 135 men but now had 74 men with losses at 45%. “C” Company with the support of “B” Company won the high ground along the Passchendaele Road. “C” Company was down to 40 men with a loss rate of 70%. “D” Company took extreme casualties and as they advanced came upon a strong point and heavy machine gun fire, pressed forward and took the position.and they too suffered losses of 70%. The attack on the Bellevue Spu failed and the 50th was back at their jumping off point. This resulted in a gap in the lines and “C” Company had to reach to the left and establish a post north of the Passchendaele Road in order to relieve the left Company.
From mid-day onward there seemed to be much enemy activity in their trenches around Haalen Copse, Crest Farm, about the Passchendaele Church and in the area of Tiber and the order was passed to keep Haalen Copse and Crest Farm under constant machine gun fire. Then other guns were brought to bear on the trench around Crest Farm and onto the Passchendaele Road to cover the Tiber and Vienna Cottages areas.
Shortly after 4 pm the enemy laid down a heavy barrage on the Battalions new front and back as far as Namburg and Tyne Cottages and heavy casualties were taken. The enemy began a counter attack with strength. The attack was coming from Crest Farm, Passchendaele Church and the Tiber and Vienna Cottage areas.
The Brigade machine guns opened up in volume but the artillery was slow and their fire became less and less as did the rifle fire.
The Battalion moved back to the ridge because of the heavy casualties and because the line was now very weak and when this move took place the enemy did not come close. There was enough men from the 46th, 47th & 50th Battalions to re-establish the front line 
At the end of the day “A” Company took losses of 58%; “B” had losses of close to 70%; “C” had losses of 82% and “D” Company had losses of 82%.
The Battalion was relieved and moved back to Levi Cottage and the men were distributed into shell holes but during the night the enemy artillery shelled the area with gas shells and other shells and more casualties were taken.
It was during this day of horrific fighting when Private Wallay fell in action performing his military duties.
The 46th Battalion during its 27 months in the field became known by the name the “Suicide Battalion” and also was awarded 16 battle honours. Their casualty rate was 91/5% with 1,433 men being killed and 3,484 men being wounded.