Colonel John Angus Gillies V.D.

Colonel John Angus Gillies served in the Canadian Army Reserve Force before, during and after WW1 with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders (154th battalion – CEF). He is entitled to the British War Medal, the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal and the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officer’s Decoration

Born on August 10th, 1877 in Lochiel Township Glengarry County

His year of birth is 1876 according to the 1901 census, 1877 on his gravestone and in the book of St Andrews Society of Ottawa and 1878 on his WW1 enlistment paper

No trace of him and his family in the 1881 Canadian census

Before 1897 : Lived and educated in Alexandria, Ontario

1897 : Probable year on enlistment in the 59 th regiment. From the information on his WW1 enlistment papers, he joined the 59th regiment in 1900. According to the official history book of the regiment, he joined the regiment on October 3rd, 1905 and according to his obituary he enlisted in 1897. The 1897 date would be consistent with the qualyfing period for his first long service medal, the Colonial Forces Long Service medal.

1901 Canadian census taken in Lochiel Township, Glengarry County, Ontario

John Angus Gillies born on August 10th, 1876 (farmer)   Sister : Mary M born April 2nd, 1881

Father : John born February 12th 1840 (farmer and widowed) Brother : Laurence born May 23rd, 1891

Brother : Hugh born April 26th, 1879 (farmer)     Sister : Janet C born January 5th 1886

July 1st, 1907 : Transferred from the rank to officer and promoted captain.

1911 Canadian census taken in Lochiel Township, Glengarry county, Ontario (he did the census in his district)

John Angus Gillies born on August 10th, 1877 (33) in Ontario. Listed as farmer

Father : John born March 1841 (70) (farmer and widowed)   Sister : Janet C born on January 1885 (28)

1913 : Received from colonel Sam Hughes the Efficiency Trophy for his battalion.

Married to Katherine Isabelle McGillis.

June 16th : He enlisted Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney V.C., D.C.M. and M.M.


August 7th, 1914 : He left with the first group of the 59th battalion for Valcartier, Quebec. He was in charge of the recruiting for the city of Alexandria, Ontario. In October 1915, he recruited 120 men, 60 of those joined the 38th  battalion.

January 27th, 1916 : Enlisted in the 154th battalion in Alexandria, Ontario.

Trade : farmer       Religion : Roman Catholic      Status : married

Height : 6′       Weight : 163 lbs      Eyes : grey         Hair : dark

October 25th : Sailed from Halifax on board HMT Mauretamia, arrived in Liverpool, England on October 31st. They walked to Bramshott camp under the rain and they arrived late at night.

June 1st : His cardiac problem was diagnosed for the first time on June. After many medical evaluations, he was declared medically unfit for military service because of physical inaptitude .

August 27th, 1917: Sailed from England on board HMS Megantic on August 14th. Arrived in Canada.

During the same year he received the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal.(G.O.122).

1918 : February 19th : Demobilised (medically unfit).

Picture of John Angus Gillies (captain) wearing his ribbons

Although he does have the ribbon of the Victory medal, he is not entitled to the medal

1919 : Started working for the Canadian Government with Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment. Sometime between 1919 and 1932, he transferred to the Immigration Department

June 15th, 1920 : Promoted to major of the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders Regiment.

He was the commanding officer of the guard of honour present at the unveiling of the memorial of the Glengarry’s soldier who died during World War One by the Governor-General the Right Honourable Baron Byng of Vimy

1924 : Received the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers’ Decoration (G.O. 56).

June 15th : Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the SDGH regiment and became the commanding officer of the regiment.

August 1st, 1926 :He was part of the group who deposited the regimental colour of the 154th battalion in the Trinity Church in Cornwall.

November 13th, 1928 : He was formally accepted as member of the St Andrew’s Society of Ottawa.

January 31st, 1929 : Left the regiment and he was transferred to the 2nd Reserve Battalion.

September 1st : He became the commanding officer of the 8th Brigade was composed of : Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Scottish regiment, Grenville regiment, Regiment de Hull and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. He commanded the Brigade for 3 years until 1932

Picture of John Angus Gillies (colonel)

Again wearing the Victory medal ribbon but not entitled to the medal

1930-31 : 2nd vice-president of the St-Andrew’s Society of Ottawa

1931 : February 9th : Became the vice-president of the St-Andrew’s Society of Ottawa.

1932 : Became the president of the St Andrew’s Society (until 1934).

November 27th : Headed the St-Andrew’s Society parade in Ottawa.

Retired from the army

November 30th 1933 : Headed the St-Andrew’s Society parade in Ottawa

October 2nd, 1934 : Deposited boxes no 1 to 3 of the minutes and records of the Society at the National Archives

From 1936 until 1946 he was the chairman of the charitable committee of the Society although he did not seem to be active on the board of past presidents.

1937 : Retired as a civil servant, he was a travelling immigration inspector for Immigration Department.

December 29th, 1945 : He was on the comity that welcomed the regiment on his return from Europe to Cornwall.

1946 : Still a member of the St Andrew’s Society of Ottawa

End of June 1948 : He was a bearer at the funeral of Colonel Alexander George Fraser MacDonald who died on the 24th in Montreal.

1951 : He was on the historical comity of the regiment.

February 15th, 1955 : Died at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa after suffering from a stroke two days earlier. His funeral service was held on Thursday February 17th, in Saint Margaret Mary Church in Ottawa. He is buried in Saint Finnan’s Cathedral, cemetery in Alexandria, Ontario. He left one son Hugh (Ottawa), his daughters Anita (Vancouver) and Camillia (Ottawa), his brother Lawrence (Kamloops) and his sister Mary (Glen Norman) and Janet (Grand Forks, British Columbia), he also had a grand-daughter. He was a Knight of Columbus 4th degree, president of the Gaelic Society of Ottawa, director of the Ottawa Boy’s Club, president of the infantry association of Eastern Ontario, president of the Scots club of Canada and treasurer of the St Vincent Paul society of Ottawa

Names on the family gravestone

Father : John (1841-1925)     Mother: Margaret McMillan (1850-1892)

Wife : Katharine Isabel Gillies (McGillis) (1883-1959)   Son: Hugh John (August 1914-????)

Daughter: Mary Camilla   (1924 – 2006)           Daughter: Anita

He had three children who died at a very young age Lawrence (1918), Angus et Janet (1922)

If you know more information on this gentleman, please leave me message so I can add it to his small biography

John Angus Gillies obituary

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • James Allan McDonald  On 2014/06/27 at 12:50

    My great grand uncle I have some additional military photos of the Colonel that I can share… contact me at

  • James Allan McDonald  On 2018/07/20 at 21:57

    In 1880 the Gillies family can be found enumerated in the Leadville Colorado US Census. John Angus is enumerated as 2 years of age and born in Colorado?

  • Ralph Billings, Guelph, Ontario I was born in Ottawa  On 2018/11/28 at 16:38

    My Grandmother, Marinda Billings,b1880, d1966, was employed as a domestic in the Colonel’s household. I assume when he lived in Ottawa. I recall her and my uncle James mentioning it as a source of pride. He was a prominent person in his day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: