Finding veteran burials requires detective work

You may remember last summer a small committee of volunteers placed poppy rocks on the veteran graves, which Clarence Keiffer located in Walkerton Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery. Kyle Potts, the municipality’s GIS clerk, will tag veteran burials throughout the 28 active cemeteries within Brockton if we provide the names and cemeteries.

It’s easiest to start with veterans from the First World War, as those records are online at Library and Archives Canada:

But you need a name, and a good place to find a list of local veterans was to consult the histories of the Township of Brant and the Township of Greenock. Fortunately, I’ve been introduced to Jim Kelly, who used to write military profiles for the Cargill Area News and he generously shared scans of the relevant pages. One of those First World War veterans was William Edward Bailey, and I was able to find his attestation number, 652124, from

When Edward signed up in Walkerton on March 31, 1916, he said he was born June 1, 1874 in Brant Township, and his next of kin was his brother Henry of Eden Grove. His online service record showed he was 5’6”, weighed 155 lbs, with brown eyes and dark hair, single, a farmer, Church of England, and that he was discharged on Oct. 21, 1916 as being over age.

But if he wasn’t 41, how old was he?

I couldn’t find him or his brother in any of the census on Library and Archives Canada, but I did find his brother’s death record, which provided the names of the parents as Thomas Bailey and Anna Belle Thompson. Using variations of the spelling of the last name, I finally found the family transcribed as Baily and Bayley in the 1871 and 1881 census. And it turns out that William Edward Bailey was born in 1863, not 1874! His death record shows he died in Walkerton on Oct. 12, 1939, and is buried at Douglas Hill Cemetery.

There’s no headstone, but if the municipality can confirm he is buried there, we can get a military headstone placed on his grave through the Last Post Fund.


Jan Brigss-McGowan is a member of the Walkerton Legion. Her column appears here weekly.


Jan Briggs-McGowan