838973 Sgt. John Gillesby was born in Sydenham Township, Ontario, on December 6th, 1892, to William and Elizabeth Gillesby.

John and his brother Bernard attended S.S. No. 5, a one room school house located at Bothwell's Corner. At some point the family moved into the port town of Owen Sound. John was living at home and working as a sailor, when he attested to the 147th (Grey) Battalion, in Owen Sound, on March 15th, 1916. Taken on strength as a Private he was assigned to "D" Company under the command of Captain Pollock.

As the Battalion was billeted locally over the remainder of the winter, John was probably living at home until the unit departed for Camp Niagara in May of 1916. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting, the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. John was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on January 21st, 1917.

In March of 1917, John was hospitalized with a too common an affliction among the soldiers of the Canadian Corps. The Corps as it turned out would have one of the highest rates of STDs amongst the Imperial forces and John became part of that statistic that March. As this was considered a self-inflected wound, John's pay was stopped at 50 cents per diem while he was in hospital.

Although discharged within the month, John was sent to the 3rd Entrenchment Battalion where he was employed on building and maintaining the infrastructure supporting the assault on Vimy Ridge. Returning to the 4th C.M.R. on April 12th, John made it through Passchendaele unscathed and began to quickly rise through the ranks. By July of 1917, a month before the battles that made up the final hundred days of the war, John was a Sergeant. Fighting through the Battles of Amiens, Arras, and Cambrai, John was gas on the outskirts of Mons on November 10th, 1918.

On account of the effects of the mustard gas, John was medically evacuated to England and was unable to sail home with the 4th C.M.R. However, whilst awaiting his return home John celebrated Queen Victoria's birthday in good fashion as he forfeited 28 days' pay for being drunk.

838973 Sergeant John Gillesby was struck off strength of the C.E.F. on July 4th, 1919, but alas passed away three years later on April 22nd, 1922, at thirty years of age.

Credit and thanks go George Auer for the above biography.