James Edward Clarence Brennan's signature

James Edward Clarence Brennan signed up in Kingston on this day in 1915. Brennan was born in Bogart, Ontario on October 9th, 1897, the son of Frank Brennan and Annie (née Hogan). The Brennans were living in Deseronto in the 1901 and 1911 censuses and James Edward Clarence attended the Deseronto High School.

When he signed up, Brennan was five feet, four and three-quarters inches tall, with a medium complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He had been working as a ‘Timekeeper’. His regimental number was 89751 in the 26th Battalion. His service record shows that he arrived in England on August 18th, 1915 and left for France on January 16th, 1916 to serve with the Canadian Field Artillery. Brennan was with the 5th Brigade at Mill Cott, east of Ypres, when he was injured by a shell on November 16th, 1917. The war diary of his unit noted the injury:

Clarence Brennan injured

Extract from war diary of the 5th Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

Mill Cott Nov 16/17 … 1 O.R. [other rank] wounded …

The previous page of the war diary noted that on November 16th there had been:

Very heavy enemy Barrage laid down between 12.30-2.30 Pm in back country. Heavy intermittent shelling of our batteries.

Clarence had shrapnel wounds to his left thigh, calf and ankle and was temporarily deafened in his left ear by the blast of the shell. He spent the next few months in hospital in England, recovering from his injuries, but was left unable to walk properly, suffering from foot drop. He was discharged back to Canada, arriving in June 1918 on the hospital ship Goorkha. The Intelligencer newspaper reported on June 28th that a reception was held for him in Deseronto by members of St. Vincent de Paul church. Brennan was discharged from the army on August 21st, 1918, classified as medically unfit for further service and eligible for a pension due to his disability.

He married Evelyn May Fairbairn on September 15th, 1921, in Pembroke, Ontario. He was killed just over a year later, on September 19th, 1922, when a tree fell on him in Flanders, Ontario, fracturing his skull. He was buried in the St. Vincent de Paul cemetery in Deseronto.