Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 7, 1881
Place of BirthWhitehaven, Cumberland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinJanet McClellan (wife), Box 587, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingLocomotive Fitter
Service Details
Regimental Number2114983
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentBox 587, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 8, 1917
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 8, 1966
Age at Death85
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotHush Incline, 26E-32-2

McClellan, Thomas

Sergeant Thomas McClellan joined the Canadian Army Service Corps in February 1917 and served in France for more than two years, most of that time with a Mechanical Transport Company. He returned to Canada in October 1919.

Thomas was the oldest child and only son of James McClellan and Isabella Shippen of Whitehaven, Cumberland, England. James and Isabella were married in 1880 and Thomas was born in Whitehaven on 7 May 1881. His father worked as a county court clerk and Thomas had two sisters, Jane (b.1882) and Mary Isabel (b.1885). When the 1901 census was taken Isabella and the children were living with her mother Mary Shippen, who was an innkeeper in Whitehaven. Thomas was 19 years old and working as an engine fitter. Two years later he immigrated to Canada and he spent some time living in St. Thomas, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta before settling in Kenora around 1907. Thomas worked as a mechanic for the Canadian Pacific Railway and other than his time in the army he was with the CPR until he retired.

Thomas was married in Kenora on 9 June 1909 to Janet Cossar, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Cossar. Janet was born in 1876 in Bridge of Dee, Scotland and came to Canada around 1903. After a honeymoon in Vancouver Thomas and his wife settled in Kenora. When the 1911 census was taken they were living on School Street with Janet’s widowed father and her brother Dickson. Late in 1916 the war entered its second year and Thomas enlisted on 8 February 1917, signing up in Winnipeg with No. 1 Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot. He was sent overseas with the 9th Draft at the end of March, embarking on the SS Metagama and arriving in England on 7 April.

Overseas service:
-Thomas spent one month at the CASC Training Depot followed by a month at the CASC Reinforcement Depot
-he was sent to France on 23 June 1917 and transferred to the CASC Pool
-he served with the 9th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops for three weeks in November
-from there he was transferred to the Canadian General Base Depot then the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp
-in April 1918 Thomas was assigned to Borden’s Motor Machine Gun Battery
-in June 1918 the battery was absorbed by the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and Thomas served with the unit’s Mechanical Transport Company until February 1919
-Mechanical Transport Companies operated and maintained a unit’s fleet of motorized vehicles (lorries, cars and motorcycles)
-in January 1919 he was given two weeks leave in the UK
-in February he was transferred to the Mechanical Transport Company at the CASC Depot in Beaurainville, located near the coast not far from Etaples
-on 13 April Thomas was promoted to Corporal and on 7 August to Sergeant
-he had two weeks leave in the UK from 21 August to 4 September
-when he returned to France he was posted to the Canadian Section, General Headquarters
-on 15 September he returned to England
-his wife had arrived in the UK in the summer of 1919 and she spent several months in Scotland
-Thomas and his wife returned to Canada in October 1919
-he was officially discharged on demobilization on 29 October in Quebec

After the war Thomas and Janet returned to Kenora and he became very active in community affairs. He served as an alderman on the town council for five years, followed by five years as the mayor of Kenora (1934-1938). He also spent 21 years as Chairman of the Board of the Kenora General Hospital. Thomas retired in June 1946 after a 38-year career with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He belonged to Pequonga Lodge No. 414 and was a life member of the Canadian Legion, Kenora branch. He passed away on 8 August 1966, at age 85. His wife Janet died in 1971 and they are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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