Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthProbably Aug.7, 1881
Place of BirthPlainville, Wisconsin
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJames McClatchie (father), Tomah, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Trade / CallingLocomotive Engineer
Service Details
Regimental Number2125023
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionNo. 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentDalmore Hotel, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 30, 1917
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 6, 1938
Age at Death56
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotElmwood Circle, 42E-16-4

McClatchie, Glen

Second Corporal Glen McClatchie enlisted with a railway unit in January 1917 and served in France and Belgium for two years.

Glen was born in Plainville, Wisconsin and grew up in the nearby town of Tomah. His parents were James and Mattie McClatchie. James, a lumber scaler, had four children with his first wife Cornelia: daughters Anna, Emma and Daisy and a son Elbert. With Mattie, his second wife, he had at least three more: a daughter Laverne and sons Glen (probably born 7 August 1881) and James Jr. Glen attended Tomah High School and graduated in the class of 1900. His future wife Ella Jennings also attended Tomah High and graduated the same year. In 1908 Glen was hired as the postmaster in Calderwood, Ontonagon County, Michigan, a small town about 200 km north of Tomah. When the 1910 U.S. census was taken he was still living in Ontonagon. Not long after that he moved to Canada and found work in Kenora, Ontario with the Canadian Pacific Railway. When he enlisted in 1917 he was living in the Dalmore Hotel in Kenora and working for the CPR.

During the war Canada played a major role in providing skilled workers for the construction and operation of railways in France and Belgium. In 1916 rail transportation was being expanded and more recruits were needed for service overseas. Glen enlisted in Winnipeg on 31 January 1917, signing up with No. 1 Section Skilled Railway Employees. A week later he left Winnipeg by train with the other volunteers, on the first leg of their journey overseas, and they had a short stop in Kenora on the way through. There were 32 local recruits on the train and a large crowd gathered at the Kenora station to see them off and say their goodbyes. The men continued on their way to Montreal, where the unit had been mobilized, and early in March they embarked for England on the SS Ausonia. In England Glen was promoted to Second Corporal and No. 1 Section became the 12th (Canadian) Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers. In early April the unit was re-designated as No. 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company (Canadians), Royal Engineers.

The recruits were in England for only a month before being sent to France on 17 April. Ten days after arriving there Glen became ill with the mumps and he was admitted to a hospital in Calais then transferred to No. 14 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux. He was fully recovered by the third week in May and he rejoined his unit a short time later. During two major battles – Messines Ridge in June 1917 and Lys in April 1918 – No. 58 Company operated just behind the combat areas where trains were needed to haul troops, ammunition, supplies, ambulance units and refugees. In June 1918 Glen was given two weeks leave and he returned at the end of the month for the final period of the war. The fighting moved into a more open phase and roads and rails were essential for maintaining supplies to the front lines. On 11 November the Armistice ended hostilities but it would be months before most of the Canadian troops returned to England. The 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions occupied parts of Germany while the other two divisions remained in Belgium, and the railway troops were kept busy until the spring. In January 1919 Glen had ten days leave in France and in April he returned to England with his unit, exactly two years after they had first arrived in France. No. 58 Company was disbanded in April 1919 and Glen returned to Canada the following month, arriving in Halifax on 25 May on the SS Aquitania. He was discharged on 27 May in Montreal

After the war Glen spent some time with his family in Tomah before settling in Winnipeg where he was re-hired by the CPR. Around 1922 he married Ella Jennings, who had graduated with him in the class of 1900 at Tomah High. Before getting married Ella worked as the financial secretary and treasurer at a Normal School for teachers in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She moved to Winnipeg with her husband but by 1924 they were living in Kenora. They had one child, their son John, who was born in Kenora in 1923 or 1924. Glen continued to work for the CPR as a fireman then as an engineer. He passed away suddenly at work on 6 April 1938, when his train was near McGregor, Manitoba. He was 56 years old. His funeral was held on 9 April at his home and at his church, the Faith Mission, and he was laid to rest in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

His son John served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War and for a few years after the war. He continued his career as a pilot in civilian life and moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he worked for Maritime Central Airways. He died on 22 March 1952 when his aircraft went missing and was presumed to have crashed. On board were John (the pilot), one other crew member and three passengers. It wasn’t until 17 months later that the wreckage of the plane was found in the GaspĂ© Peninsula in eastern Quebec.

Ella passed away in June 1961, at age 78, and she’s buried near her husband in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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