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Leonard Vivian Drummond-Hay


Drummond-Hay, Leonard Vivian, Souris, Manitoba, originally of Belmont, Manitoba. Medals/Honours: Military Cross (MC), twice Mentioned in Dispatches (MID). Occupation: Secretary. Military Service: Lieutenant & Adjutant, Major, 79th Overseas Bn. transferred to PPCLI. Attestation Papers. Diary Reference: “I took a horse and went down to Villers au Bois. Interviewed the adjutant [Capt. Leonard Drummond-Hay] regarding a commission. He informed me that already there was an application of sort in for me. Expect that this is from Major [H.W.] Niven. Lt. Col. [A.S.] Adamson at present away but am to see him on his return in about a week. Adjutant gave me the tip that if I want a commission I had better add a little hair on my upper lip to my other qualifications,” 5:24 May ’17; “In the fight for the village and wood of Parvillers Major Drummond-Hay was killed,” 6:14 Aug ’18.

Additional Biographical Information:

Major Leonard V. Drummond-Hay was a son of Edward Drummond-Hay and Jessie Elsden. According to the 1901 and 1906 Canadian Census, Edward was born in South Africa and his wife Jessie in Peru, certainly unusual places of origin for emigrants to Western Canada at that time. He was described as a farmer in 1901 and as a salesman in 1911, certainly not the kind of occupations one would expect of the son of a British aristocrat and diplomat. Indeed, it is puzzling that Edward should have ended up in a remote village in south-western Manitoba, unless he had an adventurous streak and desire for freedom that was not possible in the restricted circumstances of upper class British life at the time.

Edward had two sons, Leonard and Eric. The elder, Major L. V. Drummond Hay was born 21 Jan 1894 [or 1896] at Belmont, Manitoba, and enlisted at Brandon, 7 August 1915, with the 79th Overseas Bn. He transferred to the PPCLI, and initially served as an administrative officer, but went into the front lines in 1918 and was killed in action on 14 August 1918 at Parvillers-le-Quesnoy, France. His younger brother, Lt. Eric Drummond-Hay, enlisted at Moose Jaw on 7 August 1915 with the 46th Bn. and served with the Canadian forces in France (Attestation Papers). He was killed in action 2 September 1918 three weeks after his older brother.[1] Their parents, Edward Drummond-Hay and Jessie Elsden, of Souris, Manitoba, had no other children. At the time of his sons’ deaths in 1918, Edward Drummond-Hay, a widower, was living at Kitscoty, Alberta, which is about 227 km east of Edmonton.

Besides Leonard and Eric, there were two other Drummond-Hays who served in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War I. A second cousin, Major Harold Sandford Drummond-Hay, served in both world wars (Attestation Papers). He was the younger son of Charles Drummond-Hay, who immigrated to Canada in 1882, probably with his first cousin, Edward Drummond-Hay, who immigrated in the same year. Charles married Alena Cropley and like his cousin Edward settled down at Belmont, where they raised four children. Their elder son was Humphrey Ringler Drummond-Hay, who became a lawyer in a Winnipeg with the firm Pitblado, Hoskin, Bennest & Drummond-Hay.

Another second cousin, John Tudor Drummond-Hay,(Attestation Papers), was from a third branch of this family. He was the son of the Rev. Frederic Drummond-Hay, a first cousin of Charles and Edward. John, who described himself as a sailor, enlisted in Vancouver with the 231st Seaforth Highlanders in October 1916.


Major L. V. Drummond-Hay, Military References, 1916-1918:

8 October 1916: Message No. 5, to Major Sulivan, O.C. No 2 Co., from PPCLI, Understand last Companies of R.C.R. and 49th have gone into assault. Should you be required to go forward you will leave a garrison in ‘jumping off’ trench of at least two platoons per Co. In the event of your going into the assault word must be sent back at once to Bn.HQ and reinforcements from 1 and 3 Coys will be sent up to strengthen garrison of ‘jumping off’ trench, sgd L. V. Drummond Hay Lieut. & Asst. Adjt. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Narrative of Operations, 7 to 9th October 1916, PPCLI War Diary, October 1916. Lt. Drummond-Hay also wrote Messages No. 6, No. 11, No. 16, No. 20, and 23, which contained instructions for the deployment of troops on the field.

24 January 1917: In a letter dated Crater line, 24 January 1917, Lieutenant-Colonel Agar Adamson, C.O. of the PPCLI, wrote, “I am changing my adjutant, Carvell being rather too senior and taking Drummond-Hay, who has acted on several occasions besides having had one year’s experience in the job at the Depot.” See N. M. Christie, ed., Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919: Lieutenant Colonel, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (Nepean, Ontario: CEF Books, 1997), 257.

26 Feb 1917: In a letter to his wife Mabel, dated Bruay, 27 Feb. 1917, Lieut.-Col. Agar Adamson wrote, “In the evening [Feb 26] dined with the Sergeants. The menu is enclosed. Besides Gray, the Adjutant and the four Company Commanders and myself, they asked seven old members of their mess who are now officers in the Regiment and they sat with their old Company Sergeants. It was a pleasant evening and a very good spirit of comradeship which was very much in evidence.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 266.

12 April 1917: Lieut. L. V. Drummond-Hay appointed Adjutant (27.12.16). PPCLI War Diary, 12 April 1917.

21 April 1917: In a letter dated Gouy Servins, 21 April 1917, Lieut.-Col. Adamson wrote, “We have just got a sudden order to move at this weird hour and make a forced march. Good little Drummond-Hay and Friday [Martin] are out getting the Battn. together. We are moving light, without the men’s packs and no baggage, so something must be up.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 277.

27 July 1917: In a letter, dated Lapugnoy, 27 July 1917, Lt. Col. Adamson wrote, “Our billets are very scattered [regiment was at rest, but had been warned “to be ready to reinforce, at the shortest possible notice”] and not particularly good. I found a woman living in a really fine house, but was exempt from turning it into billet quarters owing to being alone. We stampeded her and eventually got her to give us one day’s trial and promised, if she said so, we would leave at once. She dined with us last night and now we are great friends. Stewart, Drummond-Hay and I sleep in beautiful rooms with sheets, the Servants and Rooms in the Servants’ quarters. We have a large dining-room and drawing-room, electric light, also a swimming pool. Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 299.

15 August 1917: Lt. L. V. Drummond-Hay promoted A/Capt 10/5/17. PPCLI War Diary, 15 August 1917.

18 October 1917: A/g Capt. L. V. Drummond-Hay to be Temp. Capt. PPCLI War Diary, 18 October 1917. During the Battle of Passchendaele, Capt. Drummond-Hay was Adjutant to Lieut.-Colonel Agar Adamson, Commander of the P.P.C.L.I. His administrative responsibility was to ensure that orders were coordinated, communicated, and carried out.

28 Oct-1 Nov 1917: Appendix A: Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Secret. Instructions for the [Passchendaele] Offensive. Signed L. V. Drummond-Hay, Captain and Adjutant. Appendix B: Instructions for the [Passchendaele] Offensive No. 2. Signed L. V. Drummond-Hay, Capt & Adjt. Appendix N: Two messages, dated 31 October 1917, one to Lieut. J. A. Haslam and the other to Major Niven, from L. V. Drummond-Hay, Captain & Adjutant. PPCLI War Diary, October 1917.

3 Nov 1917: In a letter to his wife Mabel, dated Watou, 3 Nov. 1917, Lieut.-Col. Adamson wrote, “One Clarkson Jones, unknown to me though a brother of Wallace Jones (Toronto), commands a Railway Battn. and knows you and Bertie very well, seems to have lived either in England or South America for years, turned up asking for me. He brought with him (19 miles) in a petrol lorrie, 6 tents, wood, straw, canvas for beds, 6 stoves, 200 tins of water and two whole corries futt of straw, all of which helped the men out very much. I asked him why he had picked us out for charity. He told me Wallace Jones “years ago” told him to find me and feed me, “which was the only thing he did not do.” So much so that Drummond-Hay and the Pay Master had to go hungry as in his car he brought three other Railway Majors who I had to feed and push off.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 310.

7 Nov. 1917: In a letter to Mabel, dated Watou, 6 Nov. 1917, Adamson wrote, “Drummond-Hay is off on leave today, I want you to see him when he telephones.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 310.

11 Nov. 1917: In a letter to his wife Mabel, dated Watou, 11 Nov. 1917, Adamson wrote, “The Sergeant you refer to [Mullin] I am putting in for a Victoria Cross though I don’t mention it to anybody, Niven for a bar to his D.S.O., also Tenbroeke, Puley and Drummond-Hay, for Military Crosses, and MacPherson for Distinguished Service Order, also the Parson and the Doctor and about 16 other ranks. I only hope they will all be passed, if not it is because I have failed in language.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 312.

16 Nov. 1917: In a letter to his wife Mabel, dated Poperinghe, 16 Nov 1917, Adamson wrote, “I am glad there is to be a Memorial Service [for those killed at Passchendaele] and am sure if George MacDonald and Drummond-Hay have the management of details, they will be well attended to.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 313.

27 Nov. 1917: In a letter to his wife Mabel, dated St. Hilaire, 28 Nov. 1917, Adamson wrote, “Drummond-Hay arrived last night. I am very fond of him and I feel the affection is mutual. Saw him last night and the little man seems to think you were very kind to him as I know you were.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 321.

6 January 1918: In a letter from Gouy Servins, France, to his wife Mabel, Lieutenant-Colonel Agar Adamson wrote, “We have just had all the books of the Battalion inspected and found up to date. Drummond-Hay and the Pay Master are held by me responsible for most of them, but I am taken to task if they are not right. They were passed as “excellent.” Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919, 329.

5 April 1918: On April 5 Lieut. A. R. Chipman was appointed Adjutant (1-3-18) Vice Capt. L. V. Drummond-Hay to regimental Duty. PPCLI War Diary 1-6 April 1918.

26 May 1918: Capt. L. V. Drummond-Hay appointed T/Major (22/5/18), PPCLI War Diary, 22 May 1918.

7 June 1918: Major L. V. Drummond-Hay awarded the Military Cross. PPCLI War Diary, 7 June 1918. [for actions in the Passchendaele sector. Newman, With the Patricia’s in Flanders, 123]

14 August 1918: “They [PPCLI, 1st and 3rd Companies] succeeded in getting right through the Village of Parvillers to the Orchard in L.29.a with very few casualties. It was then reported that the Battalion [49th Canadian Bn.] co-operating on the left, which had advanced with us had received orders to retire to their first objective. The Germans, seeing this retirement, immediately took advantage of it and came into Parvillers in considerable force on the left, behind our left advancing Company. As this left both flanks in the air, it compelled a retirement which was carried out successfully, but regret to say with considerable casualties, including Major Drummond-Hay, killed, and three Officers wounded.” PPCLI War Diary, Appendix 1 “Narrative of Operations – August 11th-15th 1918” by Major G. C. McDonald.

12-15 August 1918: The casualties incurred 8-15 were Officers Major L. V. Drummond-Hay M.C. and Lieut. D. A. Wright – Killed & died of wounds respectively. PPCLI War Diary, 12-15 August 1918.

25 October 1918: In a letter from Gouy Servins, France, to his wife Mabel, Lieutenant-Colonel Agar Adamson, formerly C.O. of the PPCLI, wrote, “If Drummond-Hay had not been killed he would undoubtedly have got the Victoria Cross … Drummond-Hay was shot through his heart. He had been to Brigade H.Q. to get special permission to attack with his Company a machine gun net which was holding up the advance. He had to beg permission to do so which was at last granted. The Battn. on our right flank, owing to a mix-up of orders, was not quite in line with his Company. Machine guns were enfilading D-H’s right flank. He decided to advance to each flank of the nest of M.G.s and had advanced 200 yards when hit by a machine gun bullet. He said to an officer beside him, as he dropped, carry on, I feel they have done for me this time. I will be annoyed if you allow my orderly to remain with me. Please do as I ask you. He then fell back dead.” See .N. M. Christie, ed., Letters of Agar Adamson 1914 to 1919: Lieutenant Colonel, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (Nepean, Ontario: CEF Books, 1997), 346.

Date of Death: 14 August 1918. See casualty details, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Buried at Bouchoir New British Cemetery, Bouchoir, Somme, France. Grave Reference: III.A.4. 


Bouchoir New British Cemetery, Bouchoir, Somme, France.


Bouchoir New British Cemetery



Click on the footnote number to return to the text:

[1] A member of the 16th, or Canadian Scottish Bn. at the time, Lt. Eric Drummond-Hay, was killed during the attack on the Drocourt-Queant Line. The original cross marking his grave and those of several other officers can be viewed at the Canadian War Museum Website. For Drummond-Hay’s casualty details, see the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He is buried at the Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-Les-Cagnicourt, France. Grave Reference: I.B.3.