Tony Gretcki

Tony Gretcki (1892–1973) was born in Grodno, Russia, and was living in Chicago, Illinois, during the early years of the war. In August 1917, he travelled to Toronto, where he joined the 1st Central Ontario Regiment. His wife Annie and their five-year-old son remained in Russia. Like many economic migrants, Gretcki may have been tempted to attest for the pay a soldier earned in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the ability to remit part of it to his family in Russia. However, in late 1917 the Germans captured Gretcki's area of Russia, and thus money could no longer be sent to his family. He served in France and achieved the rank of “sapper,” or engineer responsible for things such as maintaining roads and bridges, and purifying drinking water. Gretcki decided to stay in Canada after being discharged in April 1919, and he was later joined by his family. As his discharge papers show, at some point in the war, Gretcki began spelling his surname as Gretzky, probably to help his companions pronounce what was then an unfamiliar name for Canadians. Thanks to Tony's grandson, NHL legend and Hockey Hall of Fame member Wayne Gretzky, the family name is now one of the most famous in Canada.

Service Record Details

Attestation paper 1

Date of Birth: April 10, 1892

Date of Attestation: August 21, 1917

Age at Enlistment: 25 years

Prior Military Service: None

Height: 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches

Weight: 150 pounds

Description: Fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair

Home Address: 7512, 61st Street, Chicago, Illinois

Trade: Stationary firefighter

Married: Yes

Next of Kin: Annie Gretcki

Theatre of War: Europe

Casualties/Medical History

During the war, Private Gretcki was hospitalized for scabies, a common affliction for front-line troops.

Interesting Details from the Service Record


The London Gazette

No mentions found.

Military Medals, Honours and Awards (1812–1969)

No mentions found.

Census Records

No records located.

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