Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 14, 1895
Place of BirthBrampton, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJW Pearen, father, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number2476408
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo 13 Canadian General Hospital
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment366 Harbison Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJuly 6, 1917
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 4, 1981
Age at Death86
Buried AtVancouver Crematorium, Vancouver, BC

Pearen, William Clarence

William Clarence Pearen was born on 14 August 1895 in Brampton, Ontario. (In early years he went by the name of Clarence while after the war as William.) His parents Joseph William Pearen, a miller, and Annie McCauley married on 21 September 1880 in the Davenport Parsonage in York, Ontario. Children born to the couple in Brampton were Gertrude (1881-1897), Grace Maude (1883-1921), John (1888-1990), Josephine (1890-1948), James (1892-1894), and William Clarence. Sadly Annie died in 1900 and is interred in the Brampton Cemetery. Joseph married Alicia Pascoe on 12 March 1902 in Chinguacousy, Peel. Another child was added to the family, daughter Doris (1907-1995). By the time of the 1911 census, Joseph, Alicia, William Clarence and Doris were living in Keewatin, Ontario, a town a few kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. At the time Joseph was working as a miller in the local flour mill.

William Clarence was living in Winnipeg on Harbison Street when he signed his attestation papers on 6 July 1917. His occupation was given as clerk and his father Joseph in Keewatin as next of kin. Active Militia was given as the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada.

With a draft to the Army Medical Corps Training Depot No 10, William Clarence arrived in England on 7 December 1917 aboard the Scotian. After training at the Canadian Army Medical Corps Depot at Shorncliffe, he was taken on strength at the No 13 Canadian General Hospital in Hastings on 18 February 1918. That April he was admitted to the hospital with DAH, Diffuse Alveolar Haemorrhage syndrome, symptoms of chronic coughing and shortness of breath. Discharged on April 15th, William Clarence went through a series of transfers with the CAMC in England, serving again at the No 13 Canadian General Hospital for a while. With the end of the war he returned to Canada aboard the Empress of Britain in February of 1919, discharged from service on 12 March in Winnipeg.

After the war William Clarence settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On 14 August 1920, in Winnipeg, he married Lillian Clara Hillsden. Born on 15 March 1894 in the registration district of Stepney in London, England, Lillian was the daughter of Charles Hillsden and Frances Martha Stapleton. Charles and Frances had married in 1870 in Royston, Yorkshire. After the death of Charles in 1918, Lillian, a shop assistant, and her mother Frances immigrated to Canada, arriving in Halifax aboard the Saxonia  on 10 October 1919. They were on their way to Winnipeg to join some of Lillian’s siblings that had already immigrated to Canada.

At the time of the 1921 census William Clarence and Lillian were living in the West Kildonan area of Winnipeg where William Clarence was working as an elevator operator. Voters lists over the years gave his occupation as oiler (1940) and caretaker (1949). The couple gave birth to at least one child, daughter Eunice. By a 1958 Voters list they were living in Vancouver, British Columbia, daughter Eunice, a nurse’s aide living with them for a 1968 list.

William Clarence died of a sudden heart attack on 4 May 1981, Vancouver Crematorium in charge of the disposition. Although retired at the time, his occupation on his BC death record was given as stationary engineer (maintenance), next of kin given as daughter Eunice Pearen. He was survived by is wife Lillian, daughter Eunice, and brother John and family in Keewatin, Ontario. He was predeceased by his father Joseph (1938) and stepmother Alicia (1947) who are interred with other family members in the Brampton Cemetery. Lillian died on 25 January 1982 in the Vancouver General Hospital.

In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration to honour all who had served during the war, presenting the veterans and the families of the fallen with medals and badges. William Clarence’s name was included in the list as published in the Kenora Miner and News. He is commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque and on the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour Plaque.

By Judy Stockham

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