William Alfred McLean was born in Orillia, Ontario on 19th May 1895.
His parents Laughlin David McLean and Mary Emilene, nee Skinner were married on January 24th 1891.
William’s mother, Mary Emilene McLean nee Skinner sadly died at 23 years of age of Pernicious Aneamia on September 10th 1895, four months after William was born.
The 1901 Census for Canada on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the McLean family were living with relatives in Morrison Township, Ontario. The Head of the household James Young was William’s uncle who was single and a Farmer by trade of Scottish descent. John age 53 born 12th September 1847 lived with his two sisters Maggie, age 43 born 19th May 1857 and William’s widowed Grandmother, Agnes age 51 born 7th May 1850. His father Lachlin a widower, age 32 and a Shingle Labourer by trade was born on 6th February 1868 in Ontario. William’s two uncles were also living at this address, they were John McLean age 27 born 13th May 1873 and Angus McLean age 25 born 27th March 1892, they were Lumbermen by trade. William’s brother Charles was 8 years of age born on 27th March 1892 and William was 5 years of age.
I cannot trace William in 1911 but his father Laughlin re married 11th July 1910 and moved to Calgary.
Library and Archives of Canada, Attestation Papers for Private 763075 William Alfred McLean.
William enlisted into the 122nd Overseas Battalion of The Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 14th December 1915 at Orillia. there is some confusion with William’s enlistment date as the date given for enlistment differs on his Attestation form and Service details which show the date to be 7th February 1916. He gave his present address as Orillia and his date of birth as 19th May 1895, place of birth, Severn Bridge, Simcoe, Ontario, next of kin, father, Laughlin David McLean, address Calgary,337/13 Ave East, Alta, Canada and trade as Labourer. On his medical examination form he is described as 5ft 5inches tall with a ruddy complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.
After basic training in Canada, William embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia on board The S.S.Olympic on 28th May 1917 and arrived in Liverpool on 9th June 1917 when he was posted to Sunningdale Army Camp to complete his training.
On 9th July 1917 after completion of training William embarked for France and landed in Havre on 10th July. He was appointed Cook on 20th August, transferred to 49th Canadaian Company and was On Command to a Cooking School until 13th December 1917 when he rejoined his unit, passing to draw technical pay as a qualified Cook from 17th January 1918. He remained in France until peace was declared when he was posted for demobilisation to Sunningdale and then Kinmel Camp, Rhyl, North Wales on 18th February 1919 for repatriation to Canada.
Sadly William contracted Influenza and was admitted to the 9th General Canadian Hospital at Kinmel on 12th March when he was transferred to number 8 Special Ward as he was deemed to be “Dangerously ill.”
William Alfred McLean died at midnight on 17th March 1919 and is buried in St.Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He was awarded The British War medal and The Victory Medal.
William left his last effects to his brother Charles David McLean.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.