Memorable Manitobans: Orville Montague Miles Kay (1893-1983)
Born at Winnipeg on 19 July 1898, son of John G. Kay and Mary M. Kay, he was a high profile lawyer and military official. Educated at the University of Manitoba where he graduated in 1921, he served as senior crown attorney in the Attorney-General’s department, crown prosecutor in the city police court, and was Deputy Attorney-General of Manitoba from 1950 until his retirement in 1965. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1949.
At the age of 18, he became a cadet in the Royal Flying Corps. When the First World War started, he served as a flight lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force. In the Second World War, he had many postings including Director of Mobilization, Deputy Adjutant-General at the Department of National Defense in Ottawa and commander of the Grenadiers in Jamaica (1940-1941). As a high-ranking officer in Jamaica, he automatically became a member of its legislative assembly. During Second World War, he also organized the Canadian Womens’ Army Corps and served as Military Attaché at the Canadian Embassy in Chungking, China (1943-1945). In China, he officially represented Canada at the surrender of the Japanese in Hong Kong and arranged for the repatriation of Canadian prisoners of war. At home, he served in the reserve army as Brigade Major and commander of the Winnipeg Grenadiers (1936). He was made Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada and awarded the Cloud Banner with Collar and Sash by the Chinese Government. In 1977, he was given an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba. Other titles and honours he held included the C.B.E., LLC.D., and E.D. A 32nd degree Mason, he was also a member of Beaver Lodge, No. 139.
He died on 18 February 1983.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“A legal and military mind,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 September 1948. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 48]
“Ten Manitoba lawyers named King’s Counsel,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1949, page 1.
“Soldier-barrister due to step down,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 July 1963.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 February 1983, page 62.
This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.
Page revised: 8 May 2023