Lemay, Joseph



Private Joseph Lemay – 195130 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)

On September 15, 1915 Joseph Lemay completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was 44 years, 6 months old when, as a married man with one son (21-year old Cephas Melville Lemay), he enlisted for the duration of the War. Joseph Lemay was born in Douro Township, Ontario and gave his birth-date as March 26, 1871. Joseph indicated ”he did not presently belong to an Active Militia, and that he had never served in any Military Force”. There is nothing on his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Labourer. Joseph Lemay was 5′ 11½” tall with a 38¼” chest (expanded). His weight is listed as 141 pounds. He had a dark complexion, with brown eyes, and gray hair. His Medical Examination was completed September 15, 1915 in Peterborough. He had no medical issues or physical limitations, and in-spite of his age he was deemed fit for Overseas duty with the CEF. His next-of-kin was listed as his wife, Mrs. Martha Helena Lemay, of Lakefield, Ontario. Joseph Lemay signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on September 15, 1915 in Peterborough, Ontario. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed by the Justice on September 21, 1915. Joseph Lemay was taken-on-strength with the 57th Battalion (Bn), as a Private (Pte) and was assigned Service Number 195130. Pte Lemay was promoted to Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) December 4, 1915. L/Cpl Joseph Lemay was transferred to the 93rd Bn (Peterborough) when it was authorized and formed up on December 22, 1915. On January 31, 1916 L/Cpl Lemay was promoted to Corporal (Cpl).
The 93rd Bn, through the winter of 1915 and spring of 1916, trained at 5 different area Centres. The 93rd Bn departed by train from Peterborough on May 29, 1916. The 93rd Bn made a short stop at Barriefield Camp located at Kingston, Ontario before moving on to the main CEF Training Centre located at Valcartier, Québec to complete Basic Infantry training before being transported overseas, to the UK. The 93rd Bn embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 15, 1916 aboard the SS Empress of Britain.


Cpl Lemay disembarked in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916. There is an entry indicating: ”to be A/Cpl (Acting Corporal) on arrival in England”. Upon arrival he was transported to Otterpool, England. On August 23, 1916 A/Cpl Lemay ”reverted to Ranks (became a Private) at own request”. On October 6, 1916 Pte Lemay was transferred to the 39th Battalion (Bn), stationed at West Sandling, England. On the same day, he was taken-on-strength with the 39th Bn. Over the next 3 months Pte Lemay would be engaged in a lot of Advanced Training.
On January 4, 1917 Pte Lemay was struck-off-strength from the 39th Bn to the 6th Reserve Battalion (Res Bn) and was taken-on-strength with the 6th Res Bn, stationed at Shorncliffe. January 31, 1917 Pte Lemay was attached to the Canadian Ordnance Corps (COC), stationed at Ashford, from the 6th Res Bn. On February 28th he ceases to be attached to the COC on returning to 6th Res Bn. On March 2, 1917 he was attached to Headquarters, Canadian Training Depot (HQ CTD) for duty and pay, from the 6th Res Bn at Shorncliffe. On the same day Pte Lemay was attached to the Headquarters, Canadian Training Depot (HQ CTD) for duty and pay. During the next 2 months he would be involved in training and duties.

On March 2, 1917 he was attached to the Headquarters, Canadian Training Depot (HQ CTD) for duty and pay from the 6th Res Bn at Shorncliffe.

May 8, 1917 Private Joseph Lemay, having been transferred from the 6th Res Bn to EORD (Eastern Ontario Reinforcement Depot), is now attached to the Headquarters, EORD from the 6th Res Bn. On the same day, he was taken-on-strength with the EORD at Seaford, England. On July 7, 1917 Pte Lemay was taken-on-strength from EORD and on command Headquarters, Signals School (HQ SS) at Shorncliffe. On the same day, Pte Lemay ceased to be on command to HQ SS and is struck-off-strength to the 1st CORD (Central Ontario Reinforcement Depot). The Eastern Ontario Reinforcement Depot (EORD) and Central Ontario Reinforcement Depot (CORD) were used to assemble men and to store & administer equipment & materials.

There is note in the Military File indicating that on July 14, 1917 Pte Lemay was examined by a doctor at Shorncliffe. The proceedings of the Medical Board states: ”Pte Joseph Lemay of HQ SS 1st CORD – Disordered Action of the Heart (D.A.H.), Double Hernia; present condition can stand no severe exertion. Hernia since last fall. Should be discharged in fall – Dated July 15, 1917 – Board recommends C 111 permanently”. As far as the Double Hernia is concerned, Pte Lemay reported that ”the fall of 1916 while he was unloading heavy boxes from a freight car he accidentally slipped. A few minutes later he noticed swelling on both sides of his groin”. He was fitted with a Truss to control the Hernias.

September 18, 1917 Pte Lemay ceases attachment to HQ SS and on reporting is posted to Depot Company’. October 20, 1917 he is on command to the Canadian Discharge Depot (CDD) at Buxton, England. On November 6, 1917 Pte Lemay ceases on command to CDD and struck-off-strength to Canada for Disposal by the Adjutant General (AG). Pte Lemay embarked from Liverpool on November 6, 1917. Although, Private Joseph Lemay would have arrived in Halifax around November 16, 1917, there is no indication in the File of the ship he sailed on.

The next entry indicates that on November 14, 1917 he was at a Convalescent Home at No 3 District Depot Kingston, Ontario. On December 4, 1917 he was admitted to the Queen’s Military Hospital Kingston, Ontario.
He was examined on February 16, 1918 at the Queen’s Medical Hospital. The results were as follows: Over Age, Double Inguinal Hernia, Valvular Disease of the Heart and Defective Vision. Recommendation: that this man be discharged as unfit for service.

Private Joseph Lemay was discharged on March 19, 1918 as ”unfit Front-Line service”.

There is no mention in the File with regards to what Military Medals Private Joseph Lemay was eligible to receive or was awarded. Based on his Military Service, he was awarded the:
British War Medal; and
Victory Medal.
He would have also received the CEF Class “A” War service Badge.

Based on his Military File, Private Joseph Lemay served a total of 2 years, 6 months and 4 days with the Canadian Expeditionary Force: 1 year, 2 months and 3 days in Canada, 1 year, 3 months and 12 days in England plus 19 days travel time.

An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:

The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable.



Joseph Lemay was born about, 1870 in Douro Township, Peterborough County, Ontario to Francis Lemay and Elizabeth Tates. He was educated in the Rural Public School System.

Joseph Lemay, 22, married Martha Helena Jory, 26, at Warsaw, Ontario on February 23, 1892. In 1911, Joseph and his family were living in the Village of Lakefield and he was employed at the Canada Cement factory. Later Joseph and Martha moved to Smith Township where Joseph took up farming. After retirement Joseph and Martha moved to Toronto to be near their son, Cephas and his wife Florence and their family. Joseph died in Toronto on May 5, 1940 and is buried in the Lakefield Cemetery.


Joseph’s parents are Francis Lemay, born about 1794 and Mary Elizabeth Tates, born about 1830. Francis and Mary Elizabeth had seven children: John, born about 1860; Elizabeth, born about 1861; Harriette, born about 1863; Agnes, born about 1865; Francis (Jr), born about 1867, Joseph, born about 1870 and Margaret, born about 1872.
Joseph Lemay, 22 years old and Martha Helena Jory, 26 years old married in Warsaw, Ontario on February 23, 1892. John and Mary had one child: Cephas Melville, born August 20, 1894 in Lakefield, Ontario. Martha Helena’s parents are James Jory and Mary Smith.

Joseph Lemay and his son, Cephas Melville, went to Peterborough and enlisted with the Military on the same day, September 15, 1915. Joseph is an uncle to Percy Melville and his half-brother, William John Lemay.