A Twice Wounded Vimy Ridge Military Medal
A Great War Vimy Ridge M.M. pair awarded to Sergeant A. McLay, 5th (Western Cavalry) Battalion, Canadian Infantry, who was twice wounded - Military Medal, G.V.R. (A-40542 Pte., A. McLay, 5/Can. Inf.); 1914-15 Star (A/40542 Pte. A. McLay, 5/Can. Inf.), extremely fine. Footnote: M.M. London Gazette 9 July 1917. The original recommendation states: ‘During the whole operations on Vimy Ridge commencing 9 April 1917, this N.C.O., regardless of personal safety, worked unceasingly in dressing and caring for the wounded. His example has always been a splendid incentive for courage to the rest of the Medical Detail. Acting Sergeant McLay has been recommended twice previously.’ - Alexander McLay was born in Glasgow on 26 November 1884. Emigrating to Canada, he settled in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and was employed as a Carpenter. Enlisting in the 53rd (Northern Saskatchewan) Battalion in December 1914, he sailed for England aboard the S.S. Empress of Britain in March 1915 and was posted to the 5th (Western Cavalry) Battalion in France. As part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division, the unit was involved in heavy trench fighting on the Douve River near Messines on 17 November 1915, the desperate fighting around Ypres ,and the advance to the Hindenburg Line during 1917, including the battle of Vimy Ridge that April, for which McLay was awarded the M.M. Promoted to Corporal in September 1917, he next participated in the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele, where he was among 1094 Canadian casualties, himself the victim of wounds from a gas shell. In March 1918, he was promoted to Acting Sergeant, but during the Battle of Amiens, 8-11 August 1918, when the 5th Battalion was on loan to the 3rd Brigade as a reserve unit, he was again wounded, suffering shrapnel wounds to his right leg and foot and left arm. He was invalided to England and returned to Canada in March 1919, where he was discharged as being medically unfit. McLay died at Glasgow in July 1962; sold with copied service papers and an original photograph of the recipient, the former revealing that McLay was entitled to wear four Blue Service Chevrons and Two Gold Casualty Chevrons.