Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 6, 1895
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDaniel Mclean (Father) Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingPacker
Service Details
Regimental Number820782
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJune 1, 1916
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 22, 1977
Age at Death82
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario

McLean, Reuben

On 6 June 1895 Reuben McLean was born at home on Beaton’s Island on the Winnipeg River in the Municipality of Keewatin, Ontario. He was the son of Donald (known as ‘Dan’) and Catherine  McLean.  His siblings were Henrietta, Agnes, Hugh, Catherine and William (known as ‘Bill’).  Another daughter was Margaret who had died previously at  5 months old in 1893.  Father Dan was born in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  His parents had immigrated  from  Glasgow arriving in Quebec in 1888 with their first born child Henrietta. They  came directly to  Keewatin, Ontario where  father Dan found work with the Keewatin Lumber Company.    At the age of 16, Reuben was already working at the local Flour Mill as a sweeper later becoming a packer of flour bags for shipping.

On 1 June 1916 Reuben signed his attestation papers  in Kenora, Ontario.  He was placed with the 141st Overseas Battalion. This was the same Battalion that his older brother Hugh Donald McLean #820650 had signed with in April. Charles Brown Gordon #  423445, who would become his brother-in-law, also served signing with the 44th Battalion.

Reuben embarked for Britain on 28 April 1917 and was posted to the 18th Reserve Battalion on his arrival. He proceeded to France for service with the 52nd Battalion on 12 September 1917. He was admitted to hospital with tachycardia (rapid heart rate) on 30 March 1918 and rejoined his unit in the field on 29 July 1918. On 27 August 1918 Reuben was wounded (gunshot wound to left buttock), admitted to hospital and invalided to Britain. He was posted to the 18th Reserve Battalion on 11 January 1919. He was repatriated to Canada and honourably discharged at Winnipeg, Manitoba on 7 March 1919. The service awards Reuben received were the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

When Reuben received his discharge from service he returned to Keewatin and went back to work as a packer  for the Lake of the Woods Flour Mill. On 13 September 1927 Reuben married Alice Rose Wood in Winnipeg. Alice’s parents, Robert and Alice Wood, immigrated with their 5 year old daughter  from Surrey, England  to  Fort William, Ontario in 1906.

Reuben was also known as ‘Bob’. Alice and ‘Bob’ had 3 children; Mavis, Corinne and Edward.    In 1962 Reuben and Alice were living on Fourth Street West  in Fort Frances with Reuben listed as being retired. Later, by 1972, they were living in  Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Reuben McLean passed away on 22 December 1977 in Thunder Bay.   He was buried in the  Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario.   He left behind Alice and his 3 children plus his brother William and sister Catherine both in Keewatin. Alice lived to be 90 years old and died on January 4, 1991  at her residence in the Grandview Lodge in Thunder Bay. Alice is buried with her husband Reuben.

Reuben McLean is commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin plaque for the residents who volunteered for ‘King and Country’.

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