Harper Samuel Henry McElrath

Aug 26, 1898

Born in Belleville, Ontario to Samuel and Mary Camilla (nee Parcels) McElrath


Oct 26, 1914

Shown on the payroll of the 15th Regiment, Argyll Light Infantry in Belleville, Ontario


Nov 7, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59712 (temporary number 894)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. Mary McElrath, mother, Belleville, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Car Checker, Grand Trunk Railroad

o   Later noted as Clerk

Ø  Previous military experience given as 15th Regiment, Argyll Light Infantry

Ø  Religion given as Wesleyan

Ø  Posted to “H” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “D” Company

Harper McElrath lied about his age, stating his birth date was August 26, 1896, not his actual birth year of 1898

Shortly after attesting he was posted to the Depot Company Signals Section

The 21st Battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area through the winter of 1914-15.


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Aug 28, 1915

Posted to the Headquarters Signals Section


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Aug 18, 1916

While on a work party digging trenches near St. Eloi, Belgium, Private McElrath received a superficial bullet wound from a sniper that passed through the skin of his right chest that amazingly missed hitting any bone or organ.  He was evacuated to a nearby field ambulance for first aid before being transported to the casualty clearing station in Poperinge, Belgium


Aug 19, 1916

Transferred to the No. 9 Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Calais, France


Aug 24, 1916

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Newhaven


On arrival in England, he was admitted to the York Military Hospital

Transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) for pay purposes while in hospital


Sep 29, 1916

Transferred to the Hillingdon House Convalescent Hospital in Uxbridge


Oct 13, 1916

Discharged from hospital and reported to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre


Oct 15, 1916

Attached to the GDD (Garrison Duty Depot) for Garrison Duty in Folkestone


Nov 1, 1916

Posted to the Garrison Duty Depot in Shoreham


Nov 7, 1916

Awarded the Good Conduct Badge


Mar 10, 1917

Transferred to the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) for pay purposes and remained attached to the Garrison Duty Depot for duty


Mar 20, 1917

Admitted to the Etchinghill Military Hospital with a diagnosis that reads VDS (Venereal Disease Syphilis)


Apr 17, 1917

Discharged from hospital and transferred to the 6th Reserve Battalion in Seaford


May 15, 1917

Admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital in Eastbourne for dental treatment.  A molar was extracted under a general anesthetic the same day


May 18, 1917

Discharged to duty from hospital


Aug 24, 1917

Admitted to the Preston Barracks Military Hospital in Brighton with a diagnosis that reads VDG (Venereal Disease Gonorrhea)


Sep 24, 1917

Discharged to duty from hospital and rejoined the 6th Reserve Battalion in Seaford


Mar 16, 1918

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Mar 17, 1918

Arrived at the No. 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) in Etaples, France and Taken On Strength the 21st Battalion


Mar 20, 1918

After leaving the base depot he joined the CC Rein C (Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp) in Calonne Ricouart, France


Mar 25, 1918

After leaving the reinforcement camp, Private McElrath rejoined the 21st Battalion resting in the Hills Camp, near Neuville St Vaast, France


Dec 13, 1918

The 21st Battalion crossed the Bonn Bridge to enter Germany as part of the Occupying Force and proceeded to billets in Seigburg



Apr 3, 1919

Embarked the Western Australia in Havre, France


On arrival in England, he was attached to “P” Wing in Witley pending return to Canada


May 14, 1919

Embarked the SS Caronia in Liverpool



May 22, 1919

Disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Kingston, Ontario by train


May 24, 1919

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Rank on discharge Private

Ø  War Service Badge Class “A” issued number 279734

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 278 Bleecker Ave., Belleville, Ontario

Following his discharge, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at 278 Bleecker Ave., Belleville, Ontario


Sep 12, 1922

Married to Erma Jean Cooper in Belleville, Ontario


From the Communiqué, the 21st Battalion’s post war newsletter
July, 1963, on his retirement from the Canadian National Railway



Oct 6, 1983

Harper McElrath died while a patient of the Montgomery Lodge, Belleville, Ontario.  A cremation took place and he was interred in the Belleville Cemetery



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