|Date of Birth||May 12, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Owen Sound, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Harry Clash, father, 4239 Rupert Street, Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Plumber|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Vernon, British Columbia|
|Date of Enlistment||June 29, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||19|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 8, 1986|
|Age at Death||90|
|Buried At||Murrayville Cemetery, Langley, British Columbia|
John Henry Clash was born on 12 May 1896 in Owen Sound, Ontario. His father Henry (aka Harry) Clash was from England, sent to Canada around 1876 as a British Home Child. By the 1881 census, age given as 13, he was living with the Locke family in Sydenham, Ontario. John’s mother Alice Moor was born in Leeds, Yorkshire although both her parents were from Berwick-upon-Tweed located on the east coast of England near the Scotland border. It appears that Alice’s mother died in 1886 in Berwick and that Alice was placed in the care of Mrs Blaikie’s Emigration House in Edinburgh, Scotland, about 100 kms northwest of Berwick. Also as a Home Child, Alice arrived in Canada in May of 1889 aboard the Buenos Ayrean. Henry and Alice married on 2 November 1892 in Oshawa, Henry’s occupation given as cooper. By the next year the couple was living in Owen Sound where they gave birth to daughter Emma Levia in September of 1893, followed by the birth of John.
In Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario by 1900 and the birth of son Albert Clayton, according to the 1901 census Henry found work in the area as a mill hand. The next year, in July of 1902, Alice’s sister Isabella joined the family in Rat Portage. At some point Henry and Alice’s marriage disintegrated and by the 1911 census Alice and Albert were living in Winnipeg while Henry and John were in New Westminster, British Columbia. Daughter Emma was listed on both censuses. In April of 1913 Alice and Albert were found on a border crossing record for Noyes, Minnesota, having been to Reno, Nevada and now returning to Winnipeg. On 20 August 1914, just south of the border in Hallock, Minnesota, Alice married British immigrant Fred Arthur Bailey. Born in 1886 in Wellingborough, England, by the 1911 census Fred was living in Winnipeg and working as a steward. Alice, Fred, and Albert were to make Winnipeg their home while John remained in British Columbia with his father. Emma had married Russell Pontifex in 1913 in Winnipeg.
With occupation given as plumber and his father Harry in Vancouver as next of kin, John signed his attestation papers in Vernon, British Columbia on 29 June 1915. He listed previous service as with the 11th Regiment, Irish Fusiliers of Canada. Organized in February 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W. N. Winsby, mobilized at New Westminster, recruited in New Westminster, Vancouver and Victoria, the 47th Battalion embarked from Montreal on 13 November 1915. On board was Private John Clash.
After training in England, the 47th Battalion disembarked in France on 11 August 1916, where it fought as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. In late October of 1917 John was granted a ten day leave to the UK, returning November 11th. In June of 1918 he was sent to the 4th Divisional Signal School, rejoining the 47th Battalion on July 17th. On 1 October 1918 he was appointed Lance Corporal and then as Acting Corporal on December 4th. Two days later he was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK, returning on 1 January 1919. In March John proceeded to England for duty at Bramshott Camp. He embarked for Canada aboard the Empress of Britain on May 28th and was discharged from service on June 19th in Vancouver.
John’s brother Albert enlisted three times during the course of the war. He signed his attestation papers with the 221st Battalion in Winnipeg in April of 1916, discharged as undersize and underage that October. In November he enlisted in Winnipeg with the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot #10, also discharged as underage in February of 1917. In October he attested with the Royal Flying Corps and served in Canada until discharge in January of 1919. John’s mother’s husband Fred Bailey enlisted in Winnipeg in June of 1915, going overseas with the 61st Battalion in April of 1916, transferring to the 8th Battalion that June. Fred was reported as killed in action on 28 April 1917 in the vicinity of Arleux-en-Gohelle. With no known grave Fred is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.
John was to make Vancouver his home. At some point he had married, his wife Bessie born in 1908 in Springfield, Nova Scotia. Over the years John worked as a mechanic and in 1949 on a Voter’s list his occupation was given as a guard at Oakalla Prison in Burnaby. It is not known if John and Bessie had any children.
John died on 8 February 1986 in the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, British Columbia. He was predeceased by his father Henry in 1923 in Vancouver, his mother Alice in 1938 in Los Angeles, his brother Albert in 1963 in San Mateo, California, his wife Bessie in 1978 in Burnaby, British Columbia and his sister Emma in 1983 in Kamloops. Following cremation, John’s cremains were interred with Bessie in the Murrayville Cemetery in Vancouver.
by Judy Stockham