|Date of Birth||May 7, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Norman, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Steamfitter|
|Branch||Royal Air Force (Canada)|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Date of Enlistment||August 16, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 21, 1958|
|Age at Death||68|
William Henry Healey joined the Royal Flying Corps in August 1917, at age 22, and served in Canada for one year as an Aircraft Mechanic 3rd Class.
William Henry Healey was the son of William and Mary Healey of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. William Sr., a blacksmith, was born in Ontario and his wife in Wisconsin. They had at least four children: Juanita (Nettie), Maude, William Henry and Pearl. Nettie was born in Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) in November 1885. By the time Maude was born in the spring of 1887 the family was living in the Keewatin area in northwestern Ontario. William was born on 7 May 1890 in the neighbouring village of Norman. Keewatin and Norman are now part of the city of Kenora. The family moved to Wisconsin when William was still a baby and the youngest daughter Pearl was born there in 1895.
At the time of the 1910 U.S. census William was 19, living at home in Milwaukee and working as a steamfitter. The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and he completed his draft registration card on 5 June. He was employed as a steamfitter, single and 27 years old with his birth listed as 7 May 1890 in Norman, Ontario. He was described as slender with blue eyes and dark brown hair. William was not accepted in the U.S. army due to flat feet so he returned to Canada to enlist. He joined the Royal Flying Corps on 16 August 1917 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A few days later he was sent to Toronto, Ontario for his training.
William was married in Madoc, Ontario on 18 March 1918. His occupation was soldier and his residence at the time was Toronto. His wife, Marie Lillian Howard, was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1897, the daughter of Thomas Alfred Howard, a farmer, and Florence McCaffrey. On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force and Gerald was transferred to RAF (Canada). His rank was Aircraft Mechanic 3rd Class and he served for one year in all, getting discharged on 9 August 1918.
By the time of the 1921 census William and Marie had two children, William (age 3) and Gordon Henry (born in July 1920 in Toronto). William was living and working in Toronto and the two kids were staying with their grandparents, Thomas and Florence Howard, in Wolford Township, Ontario. Thomas and Florence also had eight children of their own at home, between the ages of 8 months and 18 years.
Sometime after that William and Marie returned to the U.S. and settled in Detroit, Michigan. They had at last three more children: Mary Margaret (1925), Lorraine Maude (1928) and John James (1933). Marie’s parents also moved to Detroit and her mother died in 1930 followed by her father in 1936. During the Second World War Gordon enlisted in the U.S. army and served from 1942 to 1947. Online Healey family trees record William’s death as 21 November 1958 in Dearborn, Michigan. Marie died in Wayne County, Michigan in July 1973, at age 76.
By Becky Johnson
Photos courtesy of William’s grandson Fritz.