Roy Richard Hawkey

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada

General information

Last known residence:
106 Alexander Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Student applied science

Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 —  Canadian Field Artillery, 3rd Bde.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Railway Dump, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Roy was born in Grimsby, Ontario, on 28 March 1894, the son of Charles and Mary Hawkey. His father Charles was a farmer. His older brother Louis worked on the farm. Roy went on to study Applied Science at the University of Toronto. In February 1916, Roy enlisted in Toronto, Ontario. He arrived in England on 22 September 1916. Roy became a bombardier in the 11th Battery, of the Canadian Field Artillery 3rd Brigade, of the 3rd Canadian Division. In April 1917, Roy sent two letters to his mother, which were published in a local newspaper. He wrote to her rather optimistically about his experiences at Vimy:

"I only wish you could look into my pretty little house, which is dug into the side of a large crater [...]. The owners of this palatial mansion are Ernest Buck and Roy Hawkey.".

Canadians were deployed at the Battle of Passchendaele in October 1917, almost three months after the initial attacks. Roy and his battery were stationed at Devil's crossing, on the western edge of the village of Zonnebeke. All roads and battery positions in the Yper Salient were regularly shelled. On 26 October 1917, the 3rd Division launched a series of limited attacks to gain a foothold on the Passchendaele ridge. On 28 October, the 3rd Division sent out patrols to Meetcheele and Furst Farm. However, the troops fell back under heavy artillery. They sent out an SOS signal, to shell the area after they had withdrawn. The SOS calls did not stop. The Canadian Field Artillery 3rd Brigade responded and its 18-pounders, stationed at Devil's Crossing, began shelling to cover the retreat. The 3rd Brigade's response was to fire two rounds per minute at the SOS line for 15 minutes and then cease firing unless the SOS signal was repeated.

Roy was in charge of his gun when a shell exploded nearby, killing three and seriously wounding him and James R. Chapman. James R. Chapman, was a college friend of Roy, who had been with him the whole time in the 11th Battery. He was mortally wounded and died three days later at No.44 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, a mile west of Poperinge. James was buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery. Roy did not make it to the hinterland and succumbed to his injuries at No.2 Australian Field Ambulance, near Railway Dump, in the evening of 28 October. Roy has no known grave to this date and is commemorated at the Menin Gate. He is also commemorated in his birthplace on the Grimsby war memorial.

Sources 4

Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4165 - 990).
Sources used
War diaries: 3th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4966, Microfilm reel number: T-10787--T-10788, File number: 533).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 190).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 77).
Sources used