William Norman Legge - Lest We Forget

William Norman Legge was born January 31, 1888 in England. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William and Alice (Knowles) Legge of England. William, his father, mother, brothers Arthur and Edwin, and sister Mrs. J.S. (Gertrude) Field were living in Revelstoke in 1914. The brothers built a home on a 40 acre ranch at the base of Mount Revelstoke. 

William was working as a Locomotive Fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railroad out of the Revelstoke Division. William and Arthur both signed up with the First Contingent of Canadian Volunteers.  William Legge signed his enlistment papers September 19, 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec, the assembly point for Canada’s First Contingent of volunteer soldiers. His regimental number was 880. He was 26 years old, single, 5’ 7” tall with fair hair and blue eyes. He had tattoos on both forearms. His religious affiliation was Anglican.

William’s brother Arthur was one of the first persons mentioned in the local newspaper as suffering from shell shock.A.D. Legge had a nasty shock, a shell burst quite close to him, but after a day or so of rest he returned to his company looking pretty bad but now he is back to his usual high spirits.” After the war Arthur worked as a janitor at Selkirk School.

William Legge earned a Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1915. He had this to say about that incident in a letter back home.  “I did not get the D.C.M. at Plug St. Wood, but at Festubert on July 1st being hit in the hip, head, and arm; about 5 in the hip, one in the right arm, a very lucky one in the head; when I say lucky I mean it pierced the rim of my cap and came out right in the centre of the flat top of it just cutting my scalp lightly. I also had one that just missed my spine by a hairs breadth, the remainder were scattered over my back but they were awful small ones. There were about five of us hit by the same shell; two died. I got a trip to England and the others were just slight wounds. I was only in the hospital about seven weeks at first but was only out a few days when I had to return for a couple of months because I was rather more damaged than was first supposed.”

William Legge died July 6, 1917 in an accidental death at Shorncliffe, England. The report indicates that he died of bomb wounds during a practice. He was 29 years old. At the time of his death he was a Corporal in “C” Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons. He is buried at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, Kent, UK.

The name of William Legge is inscribed on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques. His name is inscribed on the Chancel Screen at St. Peter’s Anglican Church and is on the YMCA Honor Roll.

In August of 1919, the family home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.