|Date of Birth||January 13, 1901|
|Place of Birth||Mikado Mines, Shoal Lake, Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John Cleland, Sudbury, Ontario (1st enlistment)|
|Trade / Calling||Student (1st enlistment)|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||159th Battalion (1st enlistment)|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Infantry (1st enlistment)|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Sudbury, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||June 23, 1916 (1st enlistment)|
|Age at Enlistment||15|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 25, 1960|
|Age at Death||59|
|Buried At||Park Lawn Cemetery, Sudbury, Ontario|
George William Cleland was born on 13 January 1901 at the Mikado Mine on Shoal Lake, Lake of the Woods, near Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario (Archives of Ontario; Series: MS929; Reel: 155). 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 in Manitoba where they gave birth to daughter Effie May later that year. In 1898 they gave birth to their second child, son Edward John. By the time of George’s birth the family had relocated to the Mikado Mine 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. 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.
At age 15, George signed his first set of attestation papers on 23 June 1916 in Frood, Ontario. He gave his date and place of birth as 13 January 1900 in Oak Lake, Manitoba. His occupation was given as student and his father John in Sudbury as next of kin. As a Private with the 159th Battalion, George arrived in England aboard the Empress of Britain on 11 November 1916. In late January of 1917 he was transferred to the 8th Reserve Battalion for training but by October he was to be returned to Canada, found medically unfit due to being underage and having flat feet. He arrived in Quebec aboard the Delta 10 on October 28th and was discharged from service on 3 January 1918 in Toronto.
George signed his second set of attestation papers with the 1st Depot Battalion 1st Central Ontario Regiment/Machine Gun Training Depot MD #2 (Siberian Contingent) on 22 August 1918 in Toronto. His date and place of birth was given as 14 January 1899 in Oak Lake, Manitoba and his mother Tillie (Matilda) back in Sudbury as next of kin. His occupation was given as steamfitter. In September he was transferred to the 20th Machine Gun Corps as a Lance Corporal and embarked from Vancouver for Siberia aboard the War Charger on November 27th. However, the ship failed to reach its destination, disembarking in Vancouver on December 4th. With the end of the war, George was discharged from service on 24 March 1919 in Toronto.
After the war George returned to Sudbury and on 18 August 1925 he married Elizabeth Simpson Scott. Born in 1903 in Scotland, Elizabeth was the daughter of Robert and Mary Ann (née Dalziel) Scott. The family had immigrated to Canada in 1903. George and Elizabeth gave birth to one child, daughter Audrey.
George died of lung cancer on 25 April 1960 in the Sudbury Memorial Hospital. His Veteran’s Death card listed his wife Elizabeth of 72 Roxborough Drive in Sudbury as next of kin. He was predeceased by his sister Effie (William) Gibson in 1918 of Spanish influenza, his mother Matilda in 1925 and his father John in 1932. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Elizabeth, daughter Audrey (Douglas) Milligan of Willowdale, Ontario, and his brothers Edward and Herbert of Sudbury. Elizabeth died in 1993 and is interred with George in the Park Lawn Cemetery in Sudbury. George’s parents and brothers are also interred in Park Lawn Cemetery.
by Judy Stockham
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Marty Neva of Canadian Gravemarker Gallery
Veteran Death card: Library and Archives Canada
obituary: Sudbury Star 26 April 1960, courtesy of the Greater Sudbury Public Library