Private William Herbert Donnelly ("Will") was born in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1882. At the time of enlistment he was living in Calgary, Alberta, working as a mercantile broker with the local firm Donnelly, Watson and Brown. He enlisted with the 82nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), on March 23, 1916, at the age of 33.
Following training in Canada, he shipped for England on May 20th, 1916, on the Empress of Britain. In 1916 he was transferred to the 9th Battalion, and then in France to the 31st Battalion. He was killed in action on September 27th, 1916, and is buried at the Courcelette British Cemetery, Somme, France.
The collection consists of 7 letters written by Will Donnelly to his parents, Henry & Martha Donnelly of Calgary, as well as to his siblings. Also included is his military will, a copy of which was preserved as part of his personnel records.
A memorial page for Pte. Donnelly can be visited at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial .