|Date of Birth||January 11, 1895|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Eunice MacLeod (grandmother), 3 Coulregrein, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland|
|Battalion||9th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders|
|Address at Enlistment||3 Coulregrein, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland|
|Date of Enlistment|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||06/06/1917|
|Age at Death||22|
|Buried At||St. Nicolas British Cemetery near Arras, France|
|Plot||I. L. 21.|
Private William George MacLeod was born in Canada and living in Scotland when the war started. He served in the British Army with the Seaforth Highlanders and died of wounds in June 1917. His father and all three of his brother also served in the war.
William was the son of Duncan McLeod and Mary Munro of Keewatin, Ontario. Duncan was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in northern Scotland. Mary was also from Scotland and they both immigrated to Canada in the 1880s. They settled in the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario where Duncan worked as a labourer, lumberman and carpenter. Duncan and Mary had seven children, all born in Keewatin: John Murdo (1888), Maggie (1890), Alexander (1892), Eunice (1893), William George (11 January 1895), Duncan (1897) and Mary Christina (1899). William’s mother died the day Mary Christina was born. He was four years old at the time and along with his brothers John and Duncan Jr. and his sister Maggie he was sent to Scotland to live with his grandparents, John and Eunice MacLeod. When the 1901 Scotland census was taken they were living in the parish of Stornoway, where their father grew up. Their grandfather worked as a crofter and mason.
William and Duncan Jr. were still living in Scotland when the war started but John and Maggie had returned to Canada. Duncan Sr., John Murdo and Alexander all served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. William and Duncan Jr. both enlisted in the British Army. William joined the 9th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders and by 1916 he was serving in France. He was wounded on 5 June 1917 and he died in the hospital the next day. The following letter was written to his grandmother by his platoon officer:
‘It is with the deepest regret and sympathy that I have to write to you of the death of your grandson. He was wounded in action on the 5th June and passed away in hospital the following day. We buried him with full military honours in the British cemetery here on the evening of the 7th. He has died a soldier’s death, the grandest death of all. His battalion mourns the loss of an excellent soldier; his company that of a dear friend. That God be with you in this your great bereavement is the wish of the officers and men of Company, who join with me in offering to you their sincerest and most heartfelt sympathy’.
William’s funeral was held on 7 June and he’s buried at St. Nicolas British Cemetery near Arras in France. He is commemorated on the Lewis War Memorial in Stornoway and on the Loyal Lewis Roll of Honour.
His brother Alexander died in the war in August 1917 but Duncan Jr., John Murdo and their father Duncan all survived and returned to Canada.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the Lewis War Memorial, Stornoway, Scotland. Excerpt from letter courtesy of S. Coombs