Thomas Clelland

Thomas Clelland was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1891. A farmer by trade, the Scotsman immigrated to Canada and settled in Regina, Saskatchewan. Enlisting on March 13th 1916, Clelland was placed in the 195th Battalion. The 195th had been formed over the winter of 1915/16 to recruit within the city of Regina. This Battalion was part of a larger effort to raise reinforcements for the expanding Canadian Expeditionary Force, which was dealing with replacing combat losses and adding new fighting units to its order of battle. After training with the Battalion over the summer of 1916, Clelland and the 195th arrived in England in November of 1916, where the unit was absorbed into the 32nd Reserve Battalion of the CEF. Clelland was eventually sent as a replacement to the 5th Battalion CEF, one of the first battalions that came to France as part of First Canadian Division in 1915. Arriving in France in early March 1917, Clelland was with the 5th Battalion at Vimy Ridge in April. Clelland was wounded for the first time in August of 1917, during the initial phases of the Canadian Corps’ assault on Hill 70 and the nearby town of Lens. Shot in both the jaw and the knee, Clelland made a rapid recovery and was returned to duty at the front by mid-September. Continuing to serve with the 5th Battalion, Clelland was unscathed through the hard fighting at Passchendaele in October and November of 1917. On the 29th of January 1918, Clelland was shot again, this time in the chest. The gunshot pierced Clelland’s lung and damaged his heart. While he survived this wound, Clelland complained of chest pain when drawing long breathes for months afterwards, and suffered from chronic pain for the remainder of his life. Clelland’s survival of this ordeal is a testament to the remarkable quality of medical treatments that were available to troops on the front lines of the Great War, and the efficient casualty-clearing practices that existed within the Canadian Corps. Clelland spent the remainder of the war recovering from his second combat wound, and was never returned to the front. His records indicate that he was discharged in Regina in January 1919. Medical conditions that were unrelated to his wartime service caused Clelland to begin to receive a disability pension in 1928, when he was 37 years old.

Click here to access Thomas Clelland’s military service file at Library and Archives Canada

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