It is with the deepest regret that the Battalion chronicles the disappearance of its Colonel, Lieut. Col. Hay, on this date.
(52nd Bn. War Diary, 3 June 1916, 7)
Born on 8 November 1873 in Quebec City, Archibald Walter Hay was a militia officer with the 8th Royal Rifles and noted marksman. During the 1912 Governor General’s prize shooting match organized by the Dominion Rifle association, Hay scored twenty-one consecutive bullseyes.
In November 1914, Hay was appointed commander of the 52nd Battalion based in Port Arthur, Ontario. During an inspection in August 1915, General François-Louis Lessard remarked that the 52nd was one of the best formations in Canada, second only to the permanent force Royal Canadian Regiment. It deployed to the battlefields of France in February 1916 as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division.
During the battle of Mont Sorrel on 3 June 1916, Hay went missing while on a reconnaissance mission. Although his men and family hoped he might have been taken prisoner, seven months later he was officially declared dead. The Quebec Telegraph eulogized, “The late Lieut.-Col. Hay had the martial spirit in him and was considered one of the best shots in Canada.”
Digitized Service File (LAC):