1066154 Pte. William Blake Gregory was born on November 16th, 1893, in London, England. Listing W.E. Bradley as his guardian, it appears George was a "Home Boy". Home Children was a term to identify those children forced to migrate through a social program that hoped to give orphaned and destitute children a chance at a better life in the Empire"s Dominions.

Records show an eighteen year old William Gregory arriving aboard the Virginian in 1911. In all likelihood this was when William arrived in Canada, given his age at the time he enlisted with the C.E.F.

Whatever the circumstances of his arrival in Canada, twenty-three year old William was working as a farmhand for Mr. Bradley when he attested into the 248th Battalion, in Owen Sound, on January 19th, 1917. Billeted locally, William would have been put up in the Town of Markdale for the remainder of the winter. Sailing with the unit in May of that year, the 248th Battalion was absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion upon its arrival in England.

William was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. in the field on October 19th, 1917, days before the attack at Passchendaele. Still considered green, William was sent to the Canadian Corps Reserve Company to undergo further training, from whence he returned on November 1st, 1917.

Serving with the unit into January, William began to contract many of the infestations and diseases that plagued the soldiers. Hospitalized with scabies, then developing diphtheria while in hospital, he did not rejoin the unit until April 1918. Then, in July he was hospitalized again with tonsillitis for a couple of days.

Rejoining the unit in time for the battles of Amiens, Arras and Cambrai, William missed the Pursuit to Mons as he was granted 14 days leave to England. He should have rejoined the unit in time to take part in the liberation of Mons, except he was hospitalized for a third time having come down with the Spanish Flu, while in London, laying him up in bed for a month.

If William was indeed a Home Boy, his life was now in Canada, for 1066154 Private William Blake Gregory returned to Canada aboard the Carmania and was struck off strength from the C.E.F. on February 25th, 1919.

Credit and many thanks go George Auer for the above biography.