William Wilkes Schuyler Lighthall (1894-?) was born on June 21, 1894 in Westmount, Quebec, the son the prominent lawyer, author and poet, William Douw Lighthall . When he enlisted with the Royal Canadian Dragoons on September 22, 1914, Lighthall was a law student at McGill University in Montreal. In August 1915, he was granted permission to leave the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) to join a British unit, the 3rd Dorsetshire Regiment. That September he became second lieutenant of the unit and served in Mesopotamia. He later served with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in Salonika. He then decided to join the Royal Flying Corps. After successfully completing the pilot’s course, he took part in battles in Egypt and Palestine. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross in June 1919.
After the First World War Lighthall was involved in commercial aviation. In 1927 he founded the Canadian Flying Club at Montreal. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, he returned to the Royal Canadian Armed Forces (RCAF) as a recruiting officer. He became a senior administrator and then a commanding officer at the RCAF training schools in Quebec and Manitoba. He retired from the military in February 1945.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: June 21, 1894
Date of Attestation: September 22, 1914 (Valcartier, Quebec)
Age at Enlistment: 19 years, 3 months
Height: 5 feet, 9 inches
Weight: Not indicated
Description: Medium complexion, brown eyes, light brown hair. Congregationalist. Two scars right cheek.
Home Address: 14 Murray Avenue, Westmount, Quebec
Details of Family: Father, William D. Lighthall, living at 14 Murray Avenue, Westmount, Quebec.
Next of Kin: William D. Lighthall—Father
Branch of Service: Canadian Expeditionary Force, Royal Flying Corps
Theatre of War: France, Mesopotamia, Salonika, Egypt, Palestine
Casualties / Medical History
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- August 7, 1941 – Lighthall’s CEF service record shows that he returned to England at the end of July 1915 “with a view to a commission.” That August he joined the “New Army.” (Page 16)
The London Gazette
Military Medals Honours and Awards
- Distinguished Flying Cross
In 1911, William Lighthall is 16 years old and living in Westmount, Quebec, with his parents and two older sisters. His father, also named William (54), is an advocate (lawyer). His mother Cybelle (43) is of English descent, while the rest of the family is listed as Dutch. William’s sisters are Alice (20) and Cybel (18). The family is Congregationalist, an evangelical, Protestant, Christian denomination. (In Canada, the Congregationalist church is headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, near Hamilton, where William’s father was born.)