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In honour of our soldiers: Frederick Nathan Gay

By Samuel Cheng

Published 2:40 PST, Thu February 1, 2024

In a series of Richmond’s ‘poppy’ street signs in memory of our fallen soldiers, we share the story of Gay Road.

Aug. 29, 1893 marks the birth of a boy named Frederick Nathan Gay in Richmond, BC. 

Prior to enlistment, Gay worked as a farmer and lived with parents and two siblings. The couple, William and Jane Gay, owned a dairy farm in Steveston. William also served on the Richmond Council for three consecutive years from 1911 to 1913.

Seven months before Gay’s 23rd birthday, he was enlisted in the 72nd Battalion in Vancouver on Jan. 29, 1916. The 72nd Battalion is a Canadian infantry that was later merged with the 72nd Overseas Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. 

Gay was sent oversea to Liverpool on the Empress of Britain and arrived on May 7th, 1916. After a month, Gay was transferred to the 12th Brigade, which was a Canadian Machine Gun Corps. He arrived in France two months later.

On April 9th, 1917, the unthinkable happened – Gay was killed in action. Mourned by their son’s death, the Gay couple received a plaque, a scroll, and a memorial cross from the Canadian government four years later to commemorate Gay’s effort and sacrifice in the war.

Gay’s possessions were inherited by his mother, who went on to live until November of 1940.

On Dec. 6, 1954, the Richmond Council decided to adopt one of the many poppy roads in honour of Frederick Nathan Gay. Today, the road can be found at north of Francis Road, and to the east of No. 3 Road. It is connected with Bowcock Road, another poppy road that we introduced early on in this series.

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