Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 11, 1893
Place of Birthnear Killarney, Manitoba
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDonald Sillers, father, Killarney, Manitoba
Trade / CallingWatchman
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number1263627
Service Record
Battalion1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Mounted Rifles
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Place of EnlistmentRegina, Saskatchewan
Address at EnlistmentLang, Saskatchewan
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 21, 1918
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 19, 1957
Age at Death64
Buried AtForest Lawn Memorial Park, Burnaby, British Columbia.

Sillers, Clifford McLeod

Clifford McLeod Sillers was born on 11 April 1893 in the RM of Turtle Mountain in southern Manitoba. Both of his parents Donald Sillers and Mary Jennison were from the Township of Hay in Ontario. According to a history book about Killarney, Manitoba, Donald had homesteaded in the area near Holmfield/Killarny in southern Manitoba not far from the US border starting in 1882. As soon as he had made a start, building a cabin and clearing some land, he had returned to Hay to marry Mary on 18 May 1886. Returning to the farm, children born to the couple were William Wallace (1889), Lloyd Everard (1891), Clifford, Richard Wilfred (1895), Austin Hugh (1893), Winona Annie Laura (1900), and Leonard Donald Alexander (1903). Their early years on the homestead were difficult, dogged by drought, hail, low prices, and the loss of two of their three horses in an electrical storm just before time to summer fallow. In 1904 the family moved to Holmfield and then in 1906 to Killarney. The 1911 census for Killarney listed Donald as a farm labourer and Clifford as a jeweller.

Drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917, Clifford had his medical examination in Weyburn, Saskatchewan in October 1917. He was called up for service on 21 February 1918 in Regina. At the time he was living in Lang, Saskatchewan, a small town about 70 kilometres southeast of Regina. On attestation, his place of birth was given Killarney, his occupation as watchman, and his father Donald in Killarney as next of kin.

With the rank of Private, Clifford was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion Saskatchewan Regiment. With the 3rd overseas draft, he arrived in England aboard the Missanabie on 3 April 1918. He was first taken on strength with the 15th Reserve Battalion and then went through a series of transfers before proceeding overseas to serve with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in late October, joining the unit on 13 November. With the end of the war Clifford returned to England in mid February of 1919 and arrived back in Canada aboard the Baltic on 20 March. He was discharged from service on demobilization on the 25th in Brandon, Manitoba, intended residence given as Killarney.

Clifford’s brother Wilfred enlisted with the 108th Battalion in mid February of 1916 in Ashern, Manitoba. Once overseas he was transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and eventually promoted to Sergeant. With the 2nd Battalion, CMGC, Wilfred was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He returned to Canada in September of 1919 and was discharged from service on 26 November.

At the time of the 1921 census Clifford and his brother Leonard were lodging with the John and Jennie Bennett family in Calgary, Alberta. Clifford was working as a jeweller and Leonard as a jeweller’s apprentice. Their mother Mary had passed away in 1918 with their widowed father listed in the census as living in Killarney. At some point Clifford moved to Kenora, Ontario where he joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. Around 1930 he moved to British Columbia, living in Prince George for a number of years and working as a jeweller/watchmaker.

Clifford died on 19 October 1957 in the Vancouver General Hospital. His death record noted Prince George as his usual residence where he had worked as a watchmaker for McCalough Jewelry Company. He had been in Vancouver for the previous six months. Clifford was predeceased by his mother, his father in 1932 in Killarney, and his brother Leonard in 1948 in Los Angeles. He was survived by his brothers Wallace of Dorion, Ontario, Lloyd of Estevan, Saskatchewan, Wilfred of Los Angeles, Austin of Killarney and sister Winnie (Ed) Lueck of Kendal, Saskatchewan. Wallace later died in 1976 in Vernon, BC, Lloyd in 1966 in Estevan, Wilfred in 1960 in Los Angeles, and Austin in 1993 in Killarney. Clifford is interred in the Veterans Field of Honour in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Burnaby, British Columbia.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photo and obituary provided by Mike Melen.

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