Private John Edward Gahagan

John Edward Gahagan was born on April 18th, 1884 to John and Margaret Gahagan in Hamilton, Ontario. John worked as a painter in Dundas until volunteering to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Galt (Cambridge) on January 19th, 1915. Then suddenly on March 4th, 1915, before departing Canada for Europe, John and a fellow soldier named Percy Walloy were struck by a streetcar in Guelph and killed instantly. The details of the death, which are quite graphic, can be read in the newspaper clipping attached. Private John Edward Gahagan is buried at St Augustine’s Cemetery in Dundas. On March 3rd 2015, The Record’s Jeff Outhit wrote,

“After spending the day drinking in bars, the pair returned to Guelph. Just after 8 p.m. they drove their sleigh down the wrong side of Waterloo Avenue, in the dark. A streetcar approached at about 30 km/h, its headlights broken. The motorman, seeing the sleigh, clanged a bell. At the last moment, the sleigh turned directly in front of the streetcar… What happened next is heartbreaking. The streetcar stopped. The horse took off, sleigh attached. The streetcar’s motorman and conductor dismounted. They detached a bent fender, which they left beside the road. With one passenger on board, they started up the streetcar again — unaware that the unconscious soldiers were lodged beneath it. For almost 200 metres, the streetcar continued on, grinding the soldiers to death beneath its wheels. Their body parts finally threw the streetcar off its track, where Waterloo Avenue meets Edinburgh Road. The streetcar crew later explained that they saw someone running down the street after the horse. They figured it was the sleigh driver.”

Service number: A2085


Jeff Outhit, “Death by streetcar too horrible to contemplate,” The Record, March 3, 2015,