Soldier Spotlight: William Baird

Image: Golden red pheasant, July 1979 (SPRA

Branch: Royal Field Artillery

William was born in Yorkshire, England on January 27, 1894, though spent most of his boyhood in Ireland. During the first world war, he served in the Royal Field Artillery for four years, in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. William’s brother Reginald served in the Canadian Army. In 1920 he came to Canada and homesteaded at 30-71-10-W6 and 31-71-10-W6 near Beaverlodge. William raised pheasants on his farm and over the years was able to release hundreds of pheasants about the district. In 1937 he married Sadie Martin. The couple had three sons. On July 20, 1969 William and Sadie’s son Sydney was coming back from Texas with a new helicopter and stopped to pick up William and Sadie for a visit to Watson Lake. A mechanical failure in the helicopter forced a crash landing near Fort Nelson. Sydney crawled out to the nearest highway, nearly two miles away, to get help in spite of his injured back, but William was pronounced dead before help arrived.

Sources: Beaverlodge to the Rockies Supplement p. 13; obituary notes

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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