Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 28, 1891
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDan McLean (Father) Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingShipper
Service Details
Regimental Number820650
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 24, 1916
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 5, 1971
Age at Death80
Buried AtWoodlawn Cemetery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

McLean, Hugh Donald

Hugh Donald McLean was born 28 October 1891 at the family home on Beaton’s Island in Keewatin, Ontario. When Hugh was born his middle name was registered as ‘Daniel’  which may have been a mistake when recorded.  His parents, Donald (known as ‘Dan’) and his mother Catherine  emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland arriving in Quebec in 1888 with their first born child.  Travelling directly to Keewatin Dan found work with the Keewatin Lumber Company, a local saw mill. They made their home on Beaton’s Island in the Municipality of Keewatin.

Hugh had 2 older sisters, Henrietta and Agnes. Dan and Catherine had another child, Margaret, who only lived for 5 months. After Hugh came Reuben, Catherine and William (‘Bill’ McLean  Sr.  who served as a councillor and as Mayor of the Town of Keewatin in 1954.)

Signing attestation papers in Kenora on 24 April 1916 Hugh was placed with the 141st Battalion.  He was 24, single and working as a shipper at the local Lake of the Woods Flour Mill with no previous experience in the army. His younger brother Reuben # 820782 signed up shortly after with the same battalion. Hugh was granted a farm furlough from 21 August to 21 September 1916. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 15 October 1916 and in February of 1917 he attended Infantry School of Instruction in Winnipeg.  Hugh embarked from Halifax with his unit on 28 April 1917. He was attached to the 18th Reserve Battalion upon his arrival in England. On 21 June 1917 Hugh was transferred to the 52nd Battalion at Dibgate and reverted to the rank of Private.  He arrived at his unit for duty in France on 15 September 1917. Two months later he was admitted to the 9th Canadian Field Ambulance with a wound to his left hand. Shrapnel had hit his hand resulting in a compound fracture of his index finger. He was treated in France and England until 30 September 1918. Upon his discharge from hospital, Hugh was attached to the 18th Reserve Battalion until being struck off strength to Canada in January 1919.  He received his official discharge due to demobilization on 12 March 1919 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

After the war, Hugh Donald married  Florence Johnston (b. 30 November 1899)  from Wabigoon, Ontario.   Their marriage took place in Keewatin. Florence and Hugh were living with her parents, Froome and Virginia (Thomas) Johnston  in Wabigoon at the time of the 1921 census. Wabigoon  is a small community east of Dryden, Ontario where Hugh was listed as a farmer. His in-laws were French heritage and Roman Catholic faith.   It is unknown if Florence  died or the marriage dissolved.

Hugh  went west and married  Gladys Mildred Code in 1936.   They had two children, Donna Mae and Hugh (Jr).   When he  moved west to Moose Jaw, Alberta Hugh went to work for the Robin Hood Flour Mills. Then they moved on to  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan  and Hugh worked for the same company.   This is where he made his family home, living there for the next 42 years.

Hugh Donald McLean passed away at 80 years old on 5 December 1971 in Saskatoon. He was survived by his wife Gladys, his daughter Donna Mae, his son Hugh (Jr.) and 3 grandchildren.   Brothers Reuben and William (Sr.)  and  sister Catherine (later became Mrs. Charles Brown Gordon) also survived Hugh.   His future brother-in-law Charles Brown Gordon # 423445 served with the 44th Battalion.   His mother Catherine died in 1921 and his father Dan in 1942 with  both buried at the local cemetery in Kenora.

Hugh Donald McLean was laid to rest in the Soldier’s Field section of the Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon.

Hugh Donald McLean is commemorated on a plaque for the Municipality of Keewatin –  For King and Country, honouring their residents who volunteered for service.

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