Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 14, 1898
Place of BirthSifton (Oak Lake), Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMatilda Cleland, mother, Sudbury, Ontario
Trade / CallingWarehouse clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number166491
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion6th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentSudbury, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentOctober 13, 1915
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 8, 1965
Age at Death67
Buried AtPark Lawn Cemetery, Sudbury, Ontario

Cleland, Edward John

Edward John Cleland was born on 14 August 1898 in Sifton (Oak Lake), Manitoba (birth registration: Manitoba 1898, 001253). His father John Cleland was from Middleville, Ontario while his mother Matilda Catherine Craig was from Dalhousie. The couple married on 6 March 1895 in Wilbur although John had been working in nearby Clyde Forks. Shortly after the marriage they moved to Sifton/Oak Lake where they gave birth to daughter Effie May later that year. By 1901 the family had relocated to the Mikado Mine on Shoal Lake, Lake of the Woods (near Rat Portage, later renamed Kenora) where John worked as a clerk in the general store. The mine had opened around 1898 and quite a community had sprung up to support it. The couple gave birth to son George William on 9 January 1901. By the time of the 1911 census the family was living in Espanola, Ontario where John found work as a bookkeeper for the railroad but by 1913 and the birth of son Herbert the family had moved to Sudbury, Ontario.

Edward signed his attestation papers with the 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion on 13 October 1915 in Sudbury. He gave his date and place of birth as 15 August 1897 in Kenora, Ontario. His occupation was given as warehouseman and his mother Matilda in Sudbury as next of kin. He embarked from Halifax for overseas on 6 December 1915 aboard the Orduna.

By late June of 1916 Edward was in France with the 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion. Pioneer battalions worked in conjunction with the Engineers, ‘and continually in the Forward Area: the work in the back area being left to Labour units and Entrenching battalions. The work is varied but consists of consolidating positions captured by the infantry, tunnelling, mining, wiring, railroad work, deep dugout work and laying out, building and keeping trenches in repair.’ (RG 9, III, vol. 4454, folder 6, file 11) In July of 1917 Edward was granted a ten day leave. That October he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge and in November he was appointed Lance Corporal. In February of 1918 he was granted a fourteen day leave and in March and April he was to spend time at the No 5 and 6 Canadian Field Ambulances due to dermatitis and scabies. In June of 1918 the battalion was absorbed into the 6th Battalion, Canadian Engineers and at his own request he reverted to the rank of Sapper that September. In late January of 1919 Edward was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK. In February he was admitted to the No 6 Canadian Field Ambulance with inflamed gums (gingivitis). With the end of the war he returned to England in April and embarked for Canada aboard the Cedric on May 19th. Edward was discharged from service on 29 May 1919 in Ottawa. Sadly while Edward was overseas his sister Effie, who had married William Gibson in 1915, had died in October of 1918 in Sudbury of Spanish influenza.

Edward returned to Sudbury and on 22 September 1920 he married Annie Carmichael. Born in 1899 in Sudbury, Annie was the daughter of John and Mary (née Halliday) Carmichael. The 1921 census found the couple living with Annie’s mother and brother, with Edward working as a signalman/yardman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Edward and Annie gave birth to two daughters, Joyce and Patricia. Edward was one of the original members of Sudbury Branch 76, Royal Canadian Legion. From 1928-1938 he worked for the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Provincial Police. During WW2 Edward served for four years with the Provost Corps and Veterans Guard. After WW2 he joined the Sudbury office of the National Employment Service, from 1945-1961 was supervisor of general placement. He then worked for the Sudbury Retail Credit Company. Edward was a director of St John Ambulance Corps and a life member of Nickel Lodge 437, AF and AM. He was also a member of the Sudbury Shrine Club and Rameses Temple 33, Toronto, the Royal and Select Masters of Sault Sainte Marie, a member of Tuscan Charter and life member of the Preceptory and past district grand prior of Mavar Preceptory and past provincial prior. He attended St Andrew’s United Church.

Edward died on 9 November 1965 in the Sudbury Memorial Hospital. He was predeceased by his mother Matilda in 1925, his father John in 1932, and his brother George in 1960, all interred in the Park Lawn Cemetery in Sudbury. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Annie, daughters Patricia (Ken) Lichty of Sarnia and Joyce (Bill) Gardner of Sudbury, six grandchildren, and his brother Herbert, also of Sudbury. Annie died in 1987 and is interred with Edward in the Park Lawn Cemetery, Sudbury.

by Judy Stockham

obituary: Sudbury Star 8 November 1965, courtesy of the Greater Sudbury Public Library
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Marty Neva on Canadian Gravemarker Gallery

Cleland-Edward-John-2 Cleland-Edward-John-3

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