|Date of Birth||December 24 1896|
|Place of Birth||Withy Mills, Paulton, Somerset|
|Next of Kin||Lydia Harris, mother, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Clerk/Stenographer, Canadian Pacific Railway|
|Service Record||see images below|
|Battalion||School of Aerial Fighting|
|Branch||Royal Air Force (Canada)|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||October 22, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Canada/United States|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||September 5, 1968|
|Age at Death||71|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Ralph Roland McClude was born on 24 December 1896 in Withy Mills, Paulton, District of Clutton, Somerset, England. Listed on his baptism record are his parents Roland Ralph McClude, boot and shoe operator, and mother Lydia (née Collier). The couple had married during the 3rd quarter of 1893 in the registration district of Clutton in Somerset. A second child Leonard Obeart McClude was born on 31 July 1905 in Cardiff, Wales. When the family immigrated to Canada in 1912 they adopted the surname of Harris. It is likely that McClude was also an alias for Ralph’s father as no other records could be found for him.
Ralph arrived in Canada aboard the Empress of Britain with his father on 3 February 1912, name mistakenly recorded as Leonard although birth information was correct. They were on their way to Kenora in northwestern Ontario where apparently Ralph Sr had previously been living and working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Lydia and Leonard arrived aboard the Lake Manitoba on 15 July, also on their way to Kenora.
Ralph Sr signed his attestation papers with the 100th Battalion on 21 January 1916 in Winnipeg. He gave his occupation as mechanical engineer and his wife Lydia back in Kenora as next of kin. He spent eleven days hospitalized in Winnipeg in February with tonsillitis and then was struck off strength as illegally absent (deserter) on 29 April 1916. He did not return to the family and his whereabouts thereafter unknown.
As reported in the Kenora Miner and News, along with three other local young men Ralph Jr enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps as a 2nd Air Mechanic on 22 October 1917. He left Jesse Ketchum Recruits Depot for Camp Taliaferro Field No 1 in Texas that November and returned to Beamsville, Ontario in April 1918. He was attached to the School of Aerial Fighting while in Texas. With rank of 2nd Corporal, he was discharged from service from the Royal Air Force due to demobilization on 11 January 1919.
Ralph returned to Kenora after the war, working as a stenographer/clerk for the Canadian Pacific Railway for a number of years. A musician, he played the piano and conducted a dance orchestra in Kenora. He also produced theatrical plays. In 1939 he moved to Toronto where he was credit manager with the Rolled Metal Products.
Predeceased by his mother Lydia in 1936 in Kenora, Ralph died in the Toronto General Hospital on 5 September 1968. At the time he was survived by his brother Len in eastern Ontario who later died in 1971. Along with his mother, Ralph is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
by Judy Stockham
Ralph’s grave marker was installed in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.