Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 9, 1895
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Ernest Clark, father, Box 191, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number922667
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion2nd CE Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBox 191, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 26, 1916
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 30, 1983
Age at Death87
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Clarke, Robert Lloyd

Robert Lloyd Clarke was born on 9 October 1895 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father John Ernest Clarke was born in Derbyshire in England but grew up in Wales as his family had moved there a couple of years after his birth. By the 1881 Wales census for Festiniog, Merionethshire, John was working as a locomotive stoker (railway engine driver). Following the death of his mother, John and his younger siblings were found on the passenger list of the Polynesian that arrived in Quebec in August of 1883. Working for a couple of years in Winnipeg, John moved to Rat Portage to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a locomotive engineer. On 18 May 1887, in Rat Portage, John married Margaretha (Margreta) Nordquist. Born in Г–verluleГҐ, Norbotten in Sweden, Margreta had immigrated to Canada in 1884. John and Margreta gave birth to a number of children over the years: Jane Adelina (Jennie) (1888-1965), Myrtle Annie (1890-1967), Bertha Vivian (b 1891), Robert (named after his paternal grandfather), Lydia Adina (1894-1895), Violet Lydia (1897-1985), Milton (1900-1908), Margreta Edith (1902-1988), and Odette Beatrice (1904-1904).

Although living in Kenora at the time, Robert signed his attestation papers at Camp Hughes in Manitoba on 26 September 1916. With occupation given as farmer and his father John as next of kin, Robert gave previous military experience as one year with the 98th Regiment Kenora Militia. Fair haired with blue eyes, Robert was 21 years of age. Based in Winnipeg, the 200th Battalion had begun recruiting in early 1916. Listed as a Corporal on the nominal rolls, Robert embarked from Halifax with the 200th Battalion on 30 March 1917 aboard the Megantic.

Once in England the battalion was absorbed by the 11th Reserve Battalion. Reverting to the rank of Private that May, Robert was transferred to the 107th Battalion. He arrived in France on 22nd of June and was to spend close to six weeks with the 1st Entrenching Battalion before joining the 107th Battalion in late August. By March of 1918 the battalion was now known as the 107th Pioneer Battalion, Canadian Engineers. Pioneer battalions worked in conjunction with the Engineers consolidating positions captured by the infantry, tunnelling mining, wiring, railroad work, deep dugout work, and laying out, building, and keeping trenches in repair. They were continually in the forward area.

Robert was granted a 14 day leave to the UK in March and upon his return he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Engineers. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge in late September. Returning to England in late March of 1919, Robert’s final discharge due to demobilization was on the 11th of May in Port Arthur, Ontario.

Robert returned to Kenora after the war. He operated his own garage before joining the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1920 as a fireman, retiring in 1960 as an engineer. On 11 July 1933, in Kenora, Robert married Mayme Kelly. The daughter of James and Martha (née Mathieson) Kelly, Mayme was born in Winnipeg in 1896. She was found living on Coney Island near Kenora with her mother and two of her siblings for the 1921 Canada census.

Robert was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, Knox United Church, the Golden Age club and the Search and Rescue Squad. He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying both fishing and hunting.

Predeceased by three siblings in childhood, mother Margreta in 1928 and father John in 1931, all in Kenora, Robert died on 30 March 1983 at the Lake of the Woods Hospital, Kenora. He was survived by his wife Mayme, his two sisters, Violet (Lawrence) Fife of Carman, Manitoba and Margreta (George) Olafson of Winnipeg, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by his three sisters, Jennie (Sam) Onarheim, Myrtle (John) McLennan, and Bertha (James) McRoberts. Mayme died in 1986 and is interred with Robert in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

newspaper clipping: Kenora Miner and News, 14 May 1919

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