The son of Albert Nelson and Agnes E. Reid, Ellis Vair Reid graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in architecture and was employed by Burke, Horwood & White. He left Toronto in January 1916 and joined the Royal Naval Air Service in England. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Reid received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3817 on an Avro biplane at Royal Naval Air Station, Redcar on 6 July 1916. After training he was posted to No. 3 Wing near Nancy in July 1916. In early 1917, when the unit was disabanded due to heavy losses, Reid was reassigned to 10 Naval Squadron. With this squadron he scored 19 victories flying the Sopwith Triplane in the summer of 1917. During that time he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and recommended for the Distinguished Service Order. Missing in action on 28 July 1917, Reid was later reported killed in action.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Flt. Sub-Lieut. Ellis Vair Reed, R.N.A.S. (since missing).
In recognition of his services on the following occasions: —
On the 6th June, 1917, he attacked and drove down one of four hostile scouts. This machine dived nose first into the ground and was destroyed.
On the afternoon of the 15th June, 1917, he was leading a patrol of three scouts and encountered a formation of ten enemy machines. During the combat which ensued he forced one machine down completely out of control. Next he attacked at a range of about 30 yards another hostile scout. The pilot of this machine was killed, and it went down completely out of control.
This officer has at all times shown the greatest bravery and determination.