John Wilson McLennan, MM and Bar

aka Angus McLelland
aka W.A. Mclellanen

Shown with his grandson Tyler Tye in 1959


Nov 22, 1893

Born at Inverness Scotland 

On a later Attestation Paper, he gave his birth date as Nov 11, 1893


Jul 3, 1915

Attested into the 50th Battalion at Calgary Alberta

Ø      Number 434723

Ø      Next of kin given as Crawford McLennan (father) of 1126 12th Ave., W, Calgary Alberta

Ø      Previous occupation given as Plumber and Steam Fitter

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø      Assigned to “B” Company


Oct 27, 1915

Embarked the SS Orduna at Halifax Nova Scotia


Nov 4, 1915

Disembarked at Plymouth England


Jan 15, 1916

Admitted to the Military Hospital at Bramshott with Influenza

Diagnosis changed to read Syphilis


Feb 15, 1916

Transferred to Connaught Hospital


Feb 25, 1916

Placed on Syphilis Register


Feb 28, 1916

Discharged from hospital


Mar 3, 1916

Course of treatment started for Syphilis infection


Mar 12, 1916

TOS (Taken On Strength) CASC (Canadian Army Service Corps) at Bramshott


Mar 31, 1916

Course of treatment completed


Apr 30, 1916

Forfeits 2 days pay and fined an additional 2 days pay and awarded 2 days FP #1 (Field Punishment) for being AWL (Absent Without Leave)


May 15, 1916

Confined to Barracks for 5 days for being AWL


Jul 15, 1916

Confined to Barracks for 14 days for being AWL


Jul 25, 1916

Admitted to Military Hospital at Aldershot with Scarlet Fever


Aug 29, 1916

Discharged from hospital


Oct 19, 1916

Having returned to his unit, ceases to be shown as a deserter

It appears that he was considered to have deserted, but that charge was dropped and marked as “deleted” from the file.  It seems to have been a clerical error


Nov 23, 1916

TOS 154th Battalion


Jan 31, 1917

TOS 6th Reserve Battalion at East Sandling Camp


Apr 21, 1917

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Apr 22, 1917

Arrived at CBD (Canadian Base Depot) at Havre France and TOS 21st Battalion


Apr 24, 1917

Left CBD to join unit


May 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field

He joined the Battalion as part of a draft of 149 Other Ranks at the Rest Camp at Aux Rietz

There is no explanation in the file as to why it took almost a full month to join the Battalion.  It is most likely that the time was spent at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp


Nov 2, 1917         Awarded the Military Medal per the London Gazette #30364


Jan 2, 1918

Granted 14 days leave


Jan 16, 1918

Reported to be AWL


Feb 21, 1918

Reported to unit from being AWL


Feb 22, 1919

Admitted to Endell St Military Hospital with Bronchitis


Feb 24, 1919

Discharged from hospital

TOS 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford


Mar 13, 1919

Reported to be AWL


Mar 25, 1919

Returns from being AWL


Apr 3, 1919

TOS Canadian Reserve List in England


May 6, 1919

On Command to the 2nd CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) London England


May 7, 1919

Discharged from the CEF in the British Isles

Proposed residence on discharge – 10 Victoria Sq, Inverness Scotland


Jun 1, 1919

TOS EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) and placed On Command to 2nd CDD at London


Jun 27, 1919

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Liverpool


Jul 6, 1919

Disembarked at Quebec City, Quebec


Jul 23, 1919

Awarded a Bar to Military Medal per London Gazette #31469


Nov 15, 1919

Attested into the CMSC (Corps of Military Staff Clerks) at Calgary Alberta

Ø      Number 434723

Ø      Next of kin given as Alexis McLennan (wife) of 2424 17a St., SW, Calgary Alberta

Ø      Previous occupation given as Traveler

Ø      Previous military experience given as 50th and 21st Battalions 1915-1919 in England & France


Dec 5, 1919

TOS 13th CMSC at Calgary


Dec 18, 1919

Promoted to rank of Corporal with effect from November 15, 1919


Dec 31, 1919

Promoted to rank of Sergeant with effect from November 15, 1919


Feb 8, 1920

Discharged from the CEF


Sep 17, 1932

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to 66 Wallace Ave N., Hamilton Ontario

The medals had previously been sent to 10 Victoria Sq., Inverness Scotland

There is a letter in the file dated June 26, 1939, which gives him credit for being awarded with the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  London Gazette # 47938 is given as a reference for this award.  That issue is dated August 28, 1979, and is clearly not correct.  There is no other mention in the file of the D.C.M. being awarded.


Sep 13, 1939

Attested into the 13th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, (F.C.R.C.E.) Canadian Active Service Force (C.A.S.F.) at Calgary, Alberta under the name of John Wilson McLennan

Ø      Number M5142

Ø      Declared to be married but his wife’s name has been withheld by Archives Canada under privacy laws.  Her address was given as 509 – 22nd Avenue West, Calgary, Alberta

Ø      Previous occupation given as Plumbing and Electrical

Ø      Previous military service given as 21st Battalion Permanent Force, Engineers, No. 434723 and that he earned the D.C.M. and M.M. and Bar

o       The above should read 21st Battalion CEF, 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade.   Note that the claim of earning a D.C.M. is false

Ø      Religion given as Presbyterian

On attestation he stated that he was born in Inverness, Scotland


Sep 21, 1939

Promoted to the rank of Corporal


Oct 17, 1939

Found to be absent without leave at 1400 hrs


Nov 9, 1939

Court of Inquiry declared him to be illegally absent and he was SOS (Struck Off Strength) with a forfeiture of 23 day’s pay, and in addition his kit was found to be deficient in the amount of $36.74.


Jan 15, 1940

Attested into the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Regimental Depot C.A.S.F. (Canadian Active Service Force) in Vancouver, British Columbia, using the name Angus McLelland.

Ø      Number K52989

o       This number was later changed to read M5142

Ø      He declared that he was married, but the name of his next of kin is withheld by Archives Canada.  The address for his next of kin was given as the Royal Hotel, Granville St., Vancouver, British Columbia

o       A later document lists his wife as Gladys McLelland

o       The 1940 voter list for Calgary shows Angus McLelland as a resident of the Royal Hotel, but there is no listing for a Mrs McLelland.  However there is a resident by the name of Miss Ann MacLennan, spinster.

o       The next of kin address was later changed to read 803 Drake St., Vancouver, British Columbia

Ø      Previous occupation given as Pipe-fitter

Ø      Previous military service given as No. 44373, 31st Battalion, 1915 - 1918 (this should have read No. 434723, 21st Battalion) and the 48th Highlanders (Toronto) 1920 – 1926

Ø      Religion given as Presbyterian

He stated that he was born in Hamilton, Ontario when in fact he was born in Scotland.

He also stated that he was qualified as a Stenographer and that he could speak both German and French.  He was given the qualification as a Machine Gun Instructor.


Feb 25, 1940

Attached to the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Depot and sent on the Infantry training course in Toronto, Ontario where he was quartered on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds


Mar 18, 1940

Broke out of barracks at 0800 hrs and was absent without leave until 1830 hrs the same day


Mar 30, 1940

Charged with drunkenness and breaking out of the barracks


Apr 16, 1940

Broke out of barracks at 0220 hrs and was absent until 1630 hrs April 19, 1940


Apr 26, 1940

Broke out of barracks while being confined as a defaulter from 1345 April 26 until 2200 hrs the same day


Apr 27, 1940

Broke out of barracks again at 0815 hrs and was apprehended at 1000 hrs the same day


May 2, 1940

Absent without leave from 1600 hrs to 1500 hrs June 15, 1940


May 4, 1940

A complaint was registered at the Canadian National Exhibition Barracks that he was wearing the ribands of the D.C.M. and the M.M.


May 15, 1940

No records could be found to indicate that he had in fact earned the awards mentioned.


May 24, 1940

He was declared to be illegally absent and listed as a deserter


Jun 15, 1940

He was apprehended in Halifax, Nova Scotia and placed under close arrest.


Jun 18, 1940

Held in detention in Halifax, Nova Scotia for desertion.  There was some confusion as to his correct name.  A letter was also produced from the RCMP that he had been convicted in civil court on November 20, 1939, for wearing a military uniform without authority and sentenced to 21 days imprisonment.


Jun 26, 1940

TOS (Taken On Strength) Military District No. 6 Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia on transfer from the Seaforth Highlanders


Jul 2, 1940

Sentenced to 21 days detention and forfeiture of 81 day’s pay, in addition to a stoppage of pay in the amount of $7.49 for deficiencies in clothing.


Jul 22, 1940

Admitted to the Halifax Military Hospital


Aug 5, 1940

Discharged to duty from hospital


Aug 8, 1940

Absent without leave from 0830 hrs to 1900 hrs the same day


Aug 17, 1940

He was admitted to the Halifax Military Hospital

Below are highlights of a letter to the Records Officer at Halifax, Nova Scotia from the Officer i/c Records for the Adjutant-General

Ø      Reported that there is no record of him holding the rank of CSM and that his rank in the C.A.S.F. was as a Private throughout.

Ø      His recorded wife received dependents allowance while he served with the Seaforth Highlanders

Ø      States that he previously served in the 21st Battalion as John McLennan and earned an M.M. and Bar and was discharged with the rank of Corporal

Ø      Served again with the CMSC and was subsequently discharged with the rank of Sergeant


Aug 30, 1940

Discharged from hospital to duty


Oct 17, 1940

Charged with Conduct to the Prejudice, etc., by using obscene language in Mess-hall


Oct 18, 1940

Discharged from the Canadian Army in Halifax, Nova Scotia as Medically Unfit.  Rank on discharge, Private.  Number on discharge certificate reads K52989, and shows service in Canada only.


Nov 29, 1940

Accused by the Paymaster that he had made false claims for Dependant’s Allowance in the amount of $172.96.


Dec 4, 1940

Below are highlights of a letter from the General Motors War Veterans Social Club of Oshawa, Ontario to Officer i/c Records, NDHQ, Ottawa

Ø      In acknowledging a previous letter from Ottawa, the writer ponders the idea of informing the local police about the false pretenses

Ø      McLelland had stated that he landed in France and was attached to the Manchester Regiment.  He also claimed to have been evacuated at Dunkirk

Ø      Claimed he was never absent without leave and that he was never convicted of falsely wearing a uniform

Ø      He also claimed to be receiving treatment for wounds received in France at the Christie Street Hospital in Toronto

Ø      He had used the above information to obtain assistance and money


Dec 16, 1940

Letter from the Officer i/c Records, Ottawa to the General Motors War Veterans Social Club of Oshawa states that virtually all of the claims made by McLelland were false.  At the time he stated that he was in France, he was actually absent without leave from the barracks in Toronto, being apprehended in Halifax June 15, 1940.


Dec 20, 1940

Under investigation by the Oshawa, Ontario Police Department for falsely obtaining social assistance by claiming to be a Dunkirk survivor and that his supposed wife had been wounded in a bombing raid in England


Jan 6, 1941

Summary of a letter from the Guelph, Ontario Board of Trade to the Department of Pensions, Ottawa, Ontario

Ø      The Salvation Army, stating that he was stranded with a wife and child with no money, job, or a place to live, referred Angus McLelland to the board office.

Ø      He was provided with lodging at the Albion Hotel and provided with food from a local restaurant.  He was also provided with some cash for necessities.

Ø      He stated that his wife had been injured during a bombing raid in England and that his illness was the result of his evacuation from Dunkirk

Ø      He stated that he had plumber qualifications and was referred to a local plumber for a job.  It was reported that he asked for a week’s pay in advance on the Friday because of his situation and it was granted

Ø      By the next Monday he had left the hotel with no forwarding address and did not return to his job.  His employer stated that he wasn’t qualified as a plumber

Ø      The Board requested that if he be granted a pension that it would be appropriate for the Board of Trade to be reimbursed for their expenses


Jan 16, 1941

Summary of a letter from the Department of Pensions to the Guelph Board of Trade

Ø      The Board was advised that virtually all of the statements given by Angus McLelland were false

Ø      Consideration would be given to compensate the Board for the expenses falsely incurred by Angus McLelland


Feb 6, 1941

The RCMP, at their offices in Windsor, Ontario, interviewed Angus McLelland.  He stated the following:

Ø      He stated that he was living temporarily in a room at 800 Dougall Avenue, Windsor, Ontario with his wife of 5 years and a baby girl

Ø      He gave his previous military service as having served with the Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He claimed to have been promoted to rank of Acting Sergeant and sent on a Bren Gun course in Montreal, but instead went AWL, and made his way to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ø      He claimed that he surrendered to Military Police in Halifax and was sentenced to 21 days detention for his absence, but instead of being incarcerated, he was sent to England for training

Ø      He then claimed to have been attached to the Manchester Regiment of the British Army and sent to France, where he was eventually evacuated at Dunkirk.  While in France he claimed his wife proceeded to England and was injured during a bombing raid

Ø      He was returned to Halifax where he was discharged because of illness

Ø      He admitted to owing the money to the Guelph Board of Trade, but said that he left because the pay was poor, and thought he could do better in Windsor.  He said that he intended to repay that money as he had applied for work at both Ford and Chrysler plants and expected to be hired there

He was allowed to leave and not charged.  However a letter dated March 10, 1941, was forwarded to the RCMP Commissioner requesting confirmation from the army regarding his service, with special note of whether he proceeded to either England or France.

Several other requests for information were made with regard to the statements made by McLelland as they obviously had serious doubts as to their validity.

The letter ends with the statement reading “STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION”.


Mar 26, 1941

Apprehended by the Ontario Provincial Police at the Nickel Range Hotel, Sudbury, Ontario under the name of John Angus McLelland.  The statement that he provided is highlighted below:

Ø      Stated that he enlisted at Calgary in September 1939, into the 7th Field Company, Engineers with the number 43473K and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 3 days

Ø      He deserted in November of 1939 at Calgary and went to Vancouver where he enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders as Angus McLelland, No. K52989.  He claimed that he was sent to Aldershot in England the following month and to France in May of 1940.  He claimed to have been wounded during the evacuation at Dunkirk in June of 1940, and hospitalized in England.

Ø      He claimed that he was invalided to Canada in September 1940 and discharged as Medically Unfit.

Ø      He arrived in Sudbury from North Bay, Ontario, on March 22 and checked into the Nickel Range Hotel.  After his arrest, the hotel was informed that he had no money and his common-law wife was evicted from the hotel

He produced a discharge certificate which was later shown to have been altered to show service in Canada and England.  He was charged with vagrancy and remanded in custody to await trial.


Mar 27, 1941

Upon further questioning McLelland admitted that he lied about serving outside of Canada during the current war, but he claimed to have served in France during the previous war and earned the D.C.M. and M.M. with Bar.

He went on to say that the woman he was living with was actually his own step-daughter, who is the daughter of his legal wife, who he lived with for 10 years.  Which prompted an investigation under the Ontario Criminal Code Section 213 regarding prostitution activities

A newspaper account records that he was sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 2 months each for false registration and 10 months for seduction, as he was shown to have been living with his step-daughter as his wife.


Mar 14, 1967

Died in Calgary, Alberta and buried in the Burnsland Cemetery there


  Shown with Gladys Taylor, probably about 1960

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