A Queen's South Africa & Militia Group to Canadian Field Hospital
A Queen's South Africa & Militia Group to the Canadian Field Hospital - Nine to Capt.McKee - Canadian Militia & CFA - Queen's South Africa Medal, 3 Clasps - CAPE COLONY, TRANSVAAL, SOUTH AFRICA 1902 (19 SERJT: W.A. McKEE. CAN: FIELD HOSP:); 1914-15 Star (CAPT. W.A. McKEE.); British War Medal (CAPT. W.A. MC KEE.); Victory Medal (CAPT. W.A. MC KEE.); Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (unnamed); War Medal 1939-1945 (unnamed); Coronation Medal 1911 (unnamed); Colonial Auxiliary Forces Decoration, GVR (Major W.A. McKEE 12th. Bde. C.F.A.); and Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, GVR (Capt. W.A. McKEE12th. Bde. C.F.A.). Naming is officially impressed on the QSA, BWM, VM, CAFD, CAFLSM, engraved on the Star. Unmounted, toned, very fine. Accompanied by a CD containing twenty-two pages with copies of his CEF Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records, Discharge Certificate and Certificate of Service. Also included are assorted extensive research papers regarding his participation in both the Boer War and World War I, photocopies of pertinent newspaper articles, along with citations in the Canada Gazette, a colour photograph of his grave marker and a King George V Coronation Procession Postcard (dated June 22nd 1911). Footnote: William Alexander McKee was born on June 14, 1881 at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the son of James Robert McKee and Charlotte Tennant. of United Empire Loyalist descent. He was educated at Prince of Wales College and School of Music. His began his military career with the Charlottetown Company of Engineers when he volunteered for service in the Boer War in South Africa with the 10th Canadian Field Ambulance. His unit left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the S.S. Victorian on January 28, 1902, arriving in Durban, South Africa on February 25th. Upon arrival, the unit was placed in quarantine due to an outbreak of smallpox onboard the troop transport while it was at sea, with a final disembarking date of March 8th. The unit was then sent to the front in Transvaal and the Orange Free State until the end of the war in May 1902. The unit returned to Durban where they embarked on June 28, 1902 aboard the S.S. Winnifredian, arriving at Halifax on July 22nd. McKee was appointed Provisional Second Lieutenant with No. 1 Company, 82nd Regiment, Queen's County Regiment in Charlottetown on June 24, 1903, and later saw a promotion to Provisional Lieutenant on June 16, 1904. In January 1905, he was attached to the Staff for Special Duties, likely for training purposes and became a qualified and commissioned Lieutenant on July 1st. He is documented as having suffered from a bout of pneumonia in 1909. In his civilian life, he was a Clerk with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce before moving to Moncton, New Brunswick and taking a job as a as General Clerk, in the District Engineer's Office with the Intercolonial Railway, the predecessor of the Canadian National Railway. He was transferred to 19th Battery, 4th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery based at Moncton, later seeing a promotion to Captain on April 21, 1910. McKee was one of the militia officers selected to be part of the Canadian Contingent to the Coronation of King George V in London. He sailed from Quebec City aboard the Empress of Ireland on June 2, 1911, arriving at Liverpool on the 9th. He was part of the coronation procession on June 24th and was Adjutant to the Field Artillery. The Contingent paraded before the King at Buckingham Palace to receive their medals, before embarking Liverpool on June 27th and arriving in Canada on July 9th. Three years later, he was appointed Adjutant of the 4th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery on March 28, 1914, then seconded to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1914, enlisting at Moncton. McKee signed his Attestation Paper on September 24, 1914 at Camp Valcartier, Quebec, naming his next-of-kin as his James McKee of St. John, New Brunswick, stating that he had sixteen years' previous service with the Canadian Militia and one years' service in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Accountant with the Intercolonial Railway (CNR). He went overseas with the 6th Battery, 4th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. He embarked Quebec City aboard the S.S. Ivernia on October 3, 1914, disembarked in England on the 20th and saw a promotion to Captain on October 6th. Immediately upon the outbreak of war, he took command of the 8th Field Artillery, was mobilized for service with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, CEF and formed Adjutant, 4th Field Artillery, Military District No. 6 at Woodstock. In addition to his training at Valcartier, he was trained at West Down Camp, Salisbury Plain. In January 1915, he was appointed to command the 3rd Artillery Brigade, Ammunition Column. He and his battery embarked Avonmouth, England and crossed to France on February 11, 1915, taken on strength on March 31st and saw action right away. He is documented as having been in action at numerous battles including: Neuve Chappelle, Ypres, Festubert, Givenchy, Loos, Messines, St. Eloi, the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. While in battle at Ypres in May 1915, he was struck by shrapnel, as he and his horse were blown over by a shell. His arm was partially paralyzed for about two months but he remained on duty. In the other conflicts, he did not suffer physical wounds but did experience several severe gassings. He was transferred to No. 1 Canadian Divisional Ammunition Centre on May 19, 1916, then to the 3rd Brigade, Ammunition Column, Canadian Field Artillery on May 30th. He later served with the No. 1 C.D.A.C. until the second half of 1916, when he was struck off strength to 4th Canadian Divisional Ammunition Centre on June 24th. In the summer of 1917, he was transferred to the 8th "Army" Brigade in France on July 8, 1917. While in battle at Passchendaele, he was blown up by a shell on an embankment, resulting in a case of "shell shock". He was with the 8th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, when he was admitted to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station on November 12, 1917, then transferred to the to New Zealand Stationary Hospital at St.Omer the following day with "N.Y.D." (not yet determined). He was suffering from severe nervousness, experiencing loss of sleep and weight loss and was later transferred to No. 32 Stationary Hospital at Boulogne on the 21st. In his records, it was noted that he was "sick" in January 1917 and that he had been suffering from recurring influenza since. He "was asked to go sick a month ago. Had to go sick this time as (he) could not carry on." He was classified with "Neurasthenia" (mechanical weakness of the actual nerves) and was evacuated on November 28th by Ambulance Train and invalided to the Canadian Army Reserve Depot at Witley, England, taken on strength at hospital on December 7th at No. 11 Palace Green General Hospital. After four days, he was discharged on February 11th. In his Medical Board Report on a Disabled Officer, dated February 8, 1918 at London, it describes his condition as Neurasthenia, with the "origin of disability" as being in France in January 1917. It stated that "This Officer was evacuated on 12-11-18 & reports from Special Hosp. for Officers where he was sent on 6-12-17. He has had 35 mos. continuous service in France. The start of his trouble seems to date from Trench Fever & influenza a year ago. M.C.S. states he was depressed and worried about his work; concentration poor, memory bad. He was irritable, & had loss of nerve, was easily fatigued, & speech showed hesitation, & was tremulous under stress." He was struck off strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, on April 26, 1918, returning home to become Officer Commanding of the 65th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. He was transferred as Officer Commanding of "A" Company, 2nd Canadian Tank Battalion at Petawawa, Ontario on October 1, 1918 and saw an appointment to Captain on October 6, 1918. He was struck off strength of the 2nd Tank Battalion upon return to the United Kingdom, in charge of discipline quarters and rations at Military Depot No. 2, Concentration Camp at Kinmel Park in Wales. McKee was admitted to No. 9 Canadian General Hospital at Kinmel Park Camp on December 16, 1918, suffering a fractured right lower fibula and tibia on April 8, 1919. In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated June 14, 1919 at Kinmel Park, it stated that he incurred the injury as the result of an "accident while jumping a ditch going from Camp 13 to Camp 14 Kinmel Park". It also went on to state that "his (right) ankle turned on him and he fell", that he had "pain on walking 1/2 mile" and that it was observed that he had "oblique fractures of (the) lower end of Fibula, extending upwards and backwards". McKee was designated Category "B" (service abroad, not general service) and discharged from hospital on May 15th, returning to Canada on June 26, 1919. He embarked Liverpool, England aboard the S.S. Baltic, disembarking in Halifax, Nova Scotia on July 4th. He was taken on strength at Dispersal Station "C" and discharged upon demobilization on July 24, 1919. After the war, he returned to the 12th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery (Militia) as a Captain in May 1920. He saw a promotion to Major on May 30, 1922 and was transferred to the Corps Reserve in Moncton. Three years later, he retired from the Canadian Militia on June 5, 1925. During World War II, he served as a Canadian Legion War Services Supervisor at Camp Debert, Nova Scotia from 1944 to 1945. McKee was also an accomplished organist, a Mason, was in the Independent Order of Foresters, the Moncton Club and the Kildare Chevron Club, as well as being a member of the Canadian Legion. He died at Lancaster, New Brunswick on March 4, 1949, at the age of 68.