Harry Austin McCleave was born in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia in February, 1892. McCleave won the Rhodes Scholarship for Nova Scotia in 1915 and admitted to Balliol College, Oxford University. Unfortunately due to the war he was unable to enroll. He enlisted in September, 1915 in Halifax, Nova Scotia with the 64th Overseas Battalion. Oversead McCleave served overseas with the 13th Battalion until his death in October, 1916. The collection currently consists of his diary from 1916 and a newspaper clipping announcing his death.
These collections contains any material relating to Canada from 1914 to 1918 from either the home front or the battlefront. External links in collection descriptions are either to online attestation papers at Library and Archives Canada or casualty and burial information at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Private Frank McCoy was born in Mossend, Scotland on August 15, 1885 (possibly 1886). Prior to the war he was living with widowed mother, Mary McCoy, in Ladysmith, British Columbia, working as a boat builder.
He initially enlisted at Vernon, British Columbia, with the 62nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, on August 23, 1915, but was soon discharged on December 15th on the grounds (as described in his service record) of “not being likely to become an efficient soldier.” McCoy appears not to have agreed with this assessment as by the following day he had made his way to Vancouver where he enlisted again on December 16, 1915, with 11th Regiment Irish Fusiliers of Canada (The Vancouver Regiment).
Shipping for England as part of the 121st Battalion on board the S.S. Empress of Britain, McCoy was sent to France the following December with the 54th Battalion. Fighting at Vimy Ridge on March 1,1917, he suffered severe gas poisoning as well as shrapnel wounds, and was evacuated to hospital in England. He was returned to Canada and discharged on medical grounds on December 8, 1917.
The letters in the McCoy Collection were published in his hometown newspaper The Ladysmith Chronicle , and were compiled along with those of other local WWI soldiers through the work of the Ladysmith & District Historical Society (links shown below).
The complete list of soldiers in the can be found in the Ladysmith and District Historical Society collection.
McCoy’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 760583/463934) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
A collection of WWI soldiers' letters published in The Ladysmith Chronicle was undertaken by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society through their work with the Ladysmith Archives.
Victor McDonald was born on Prince Edward Island in 1895. He enlisted in December, 1915 and served overseas during WWI. Due to exposure to gas during the war he spent the rest of his life in hospital in Nova Scotia after his return to Canada. He died in hospital shortly after the war ended. The letters are to his brother Leo, who was at the time studying to be a teacher in Charlottetown. The collection consists of twelve letters written by Victor to Leo, both during his time of service and from the hospital shortly after his return.
John Alexander McDougall was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1892 and later moved to Calgary, Alberta. He enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in December, 1915, and served overseas in France. The collection consists of more than twenty letters and several photographs covering the period 1915 to 1918.
Harold Bruce McLagan was born in Carluke, Ontario in September, 1884. McLagan enlisted in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in January, 1916 with the 128th Battalion. He served overseas with the 9th Canadian Machine Gun Corps until his death on November 4, 1917. The collection currently consists of fourteen letters from McLagan.
Corporal Finlay Fairfax McLaren was born in Perth, Ontario, on January 22, 1891. Prior to his enlistment he had worked as a timber cruiser and had served in the militia with the 6th Regiment.
McLaren enlisted at Valcartier, Québec, on September 19, 1914, and sailed for England as part of the First Contingent on the S.S. Ruthenia in October of 1914. He was sent to France in February of 1915 with the 7th Battalion. The following April while fighting in the Second Battle of Ypres, in which the Germans introduced the use of poison gas as a weapon, McLaren was wounded by gunfire, gassed, and buried by a shell. As a result of his experience at Ypres, McLaren was diagnosed with neurasthenia, commonly referred to as shell shock, and was invalided back to Canada, where he was discharged from service in December of 1916.
The collection contains a small notebook that McLaren used as a personal record book and as a diary, with entries dated between February-May of 1915. Appearing in the notebook are references to some of McLaren’s fellow soldiers, many of them recorded as having been killed or wounded. Names and links to service files of those mentioned have been included below in cases where identification details allowed; among them is Lt. Boggs of the Lt. Herbert Beaumont Boggs Collection.
Cpl. Finlay Fairfax McLaren’s service record (Serv/Reg #16338) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Lt. Herbert Beaumont Boggs’ service record (Serv/Reg# not assigned), killed in action February 26, 1915.
Pte. James Boyle’s service record (Serv/Reg #21786), killed in action on or after April 24, 1915.
Pte. Albert Ernest Clapp’s service record (Serv/Reg #16291), killed in action February 27, 1915.
Pte. William Joseph Craig’s service record (Serv/Reg #15239).
Capt. Royce Coleman Dyer, MM, DCM, service record (Serv/Reg #445), died December 30, 1918, while serving with Imperial Army, Russia.
Pte. Harold Russell Guy’s service record (Serv/Reg # 17129), killed in action April 24, 1915.
Pte. Alfred Hodge’s service record (Serv/Reg #16905).
Pte. Charles McIntosh’s service record (Serv/Reg #1108).
L/Cpl. Michael O’Leary, VC, (Serv/Reg #3556) does not have a Canadian service record, but is honoured as a Victoria Cross Recipient at Veterans Affairs Canada.
Major Percy George Rigby’s service record (Serv/Reg # not assigned), killed in action March 10, 1915.
L/Sgt. Arthur Sparrow’s service record (Serv/Reg #16270), killed in action April 15, 1915.
Pte. Thomas Sutton’s service record (Serv/Reg #17173), killed in action February 26, 1915.
Sgt. William White’s service record (Serv/Reg #1089), killed in action March 14, 1915.
David McLean was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1880. He emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war and enlisted in Toronto, Ontario on January 16, 1916. McLean served overseas in France with the 48th Highlanders and was killed April 20, 1917, leaving behind a wife and infant son. David McLean appears to have been a prolific letter writer for according to his 1916 Vest Pocket Reference Annual where he noted each letter, he sent over 150 letters and other forms of notes from August 31, 1916 alone. It is also noted that from November 17, 1916 onwards he received 55 letters and packages. The collection consists of more than fifty letters and one photograph.
Private William Menzies McLeish was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on December 12, 1891. Having immigrated to Canada with his family prior to the outbreak of WWI, he enlisted at Valcartier, Québec, on September 25, 1914, with the 5th Regiment Royal Highlanders of Canada.
Shipping for England on board the S.S. Alaunia in October of 1914, he proceeded to France on April 1, 1915, as part of the 13th Battalion Canadian Infantry, 1st Division. He was captured on April 24, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, and interned at the Münster (Rennbahn) Prisoner of War Camp in Westphalia, Germany.
McLeish remained at Rennbahn until repatriated following the Armistice in November of 1918. He returned to Canada and was demobilized on March 29, 1919.
The McLeish Collection includes rare materials from the Rennbahn P.O.W. Camp, including photos and programmes of prisoner theatrical performances of works such as Roll on Blighty, as well as miscellaneous items from both his time prior to and following imprisonment, such as postcards of England’s Salisbury Plain Flood in January of 1915.
Private George Buford Williams, who is listed among the performers of Roll on Blighty in the McLeish Collection, is also connected with the Private Ralph Clement Gale Collection. Like McLeish, Pte. Gale also spent time as a German P.O.W. in the Rennbahn Camp, and Pte. Williams was among the fellow prisoners whose correspondence with the Gale family was preserved.
Pte. William Menzies McLeish’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 24446) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Pte. George Buford Williams, Service Record (Serv/Reg# 16487)
[Editor’s note: Collection checked/updated February 18/2022. Some additional materials have been added and some changes to categorization of Collection Contents have been made; no materials have been removed.]
Sapper Ivan Donald McLellan was born on Pelee Island, Ontario, on October 19th, 1895. He enlisted with the Canadian Engineers Training Depot in Windsor, Ontario, on November 27th, 1916.
He embarked for England on board the S.S. Grampian in February of 1917. Called-up to action in France beginning in June of 1917, he was transferred in October to the 4th Division Engineers where he remained until returning home for demobilization on June 23rd, 1919.
Spr. McLellan's Service Record (Reg/Ser# 506473) is available online through Library and Archives Canada.
WIlliam John McLellan was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1894 and was a student at The University of Alberta at the time of his enlistment in February, 1916. The collection consists of more than one hundred letters and more than twenty photographs.
Francis Harold McLorg was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, worked as a barrister,and then enlisted for overseas duty in October, 1914. He saw duty in France, where he was wounded in 1916. McLorg recovered and continued to serve until the end of the war, by which time he had been promoted to the rank of Captain. The collection consists of eight letters, telegrams, and photographs.
Lieutenant John Ernest McLurg was born in Prospect Hill, Ontario on April 12, 1875. Prior to his enlistment in WWI, John and his wife (Annie Allan née Corry) lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he worked as a sales manager and served in the Militia with the 51st Sault Rifles.
He enlisted in Valcartier, Quebec, on September 22, 1914, and was commissioned with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Canadian Infantry Division. Once overseas McLurg served in both France and Belgium before being wounded and taken prisoner at the Second Battle of Ypres on April 24, 1915. As a P.O.W. in Germany he was initially sent to Siegburd until fully recovered from the gunshot wound to the head he had suffered at Ypres, and then was transferred to the Camp at Heidelberg in July of 1915, and later to Soltau in June of 1916.
On August 12, 1916, he was transferred to the P.O.W. camp in Mürren, Switzerland (an agreement between the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government allowed many sick or injured POWs to be interned in Switzerland until eligible for repatriation), where he was joined by his wife Annie in November of 1916. Their daughter, Margaret Gillespie McLurg, was born in nearby Vevey, Switzerland, on October 26, 1917. Shortly thereafter John was repatriated, travelling with his family to England in late December of 1917, and then on to Canada where he was medically discharged from service on April 20, 1918.
The McLurg Collection has two main components. The first is a book of drawings and messages created by McLurg’s fellow prisoners at Heidelberg as a gift to him at the time of his departure from the camp in August of 1916. The second is a set of 27 photographs documenting his time at Mürren, Switzerland. Also included are a small number of other items such as John’s bullet-pierced Maple Leaf Badge, and Annie McLurg’s Visa for transit with their daughter through the United States while returning to Canada in 1918.
Lt. John Ernest McLurg’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# unassigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated May 2022. Some additional materials have been added and some changes to categorization of Collection Contents have been made; content descriptions have been reviewed and in many cases expanded to provide more information. No materials have been removed but duplicate postings, if present, will have been corrected.]
Howard John McMaster was born in Norwood, Ontario in February, 1891. McMaster enlisted in Peterborough, Ontario in December, 1915 and served overseas with the 52nd Battalion until his return to Canada at the end of the war. He is the brother of William McMaster. The collection currently consists of twelve letters and several postcards.
William McMaster was born in Hastings, Ontario in July, 1886. He enlisted in Trenton, Ontario in February, 1917 with the 257th Battalion. McMaster served overseas with the battalion until he was wounded and subsequently discharged as medically unfit in late 1918. He is the brother of Howard McMaster. The collection currently consists of two letters.
Neil McMillan was born at Uragaig, Scotland in May, 1885. Sometime prior to the war he emigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a teamster. McMillan enlisted at Toronto in February, 1916 and served overseas with the 48th Highlanders. McMillan was killed on August 8, 1918. The collection consists of one photograph of McMillan, photographs of the Colonsay War Memorial and of his CWGC headstone.
William James McNabb was born in Desboro, Ontario in March 1891. He enlisted in December 1915 in Owen Sound, Ontario with the 147th Grey Battalion. McNabb served overseas in France and Belgium until his death in October, 1918. The collection currently consists of one letter, obituaries, a field service card, and his circumstances of death report.
John Leslie McNaughton was born in 1886 in Glengary County, Ontario. McNaughton was a graduate of McGill University when he enlisted in June, 1915, and served overseas in France and Belgium. He was wounded and taken prisoner in May, 1917, and remained a prisoner until the end of the war. The collection consists of fifteen letters from 1915 to 1919.
Samuel Giles McNeil was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia in June, 1895. He emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war and enlisted in April, 1915 in New Westminster, British Columbia. He served overseas, returned to Canada at the end of the war and died in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 1954. The collection currently consists of two postcards sent to the parents of Frederick Henry Smith.
John McNeill was born in Hull, Yorkshire in December, 1875. McNeill enlisted in November, 1914 in Victoria, British Columbia with the 30th Battalion. He served overseas with the 15th Battalion until he was wounded in August of 1918, and subsequently discharged as medically unfit in March, 1919. The collection currently consists of more than 75 letters and several postcards.