Capt. Clarence Lea MC, Norm Stewart's great grand-uncle, served with the 4th CMR for the duration of the war.

Born in York, Ontario, in 1892, Clarence came from a family steeped in Canadian history; coming from two of the oldest pioneer families to settle in what was to become Toronto: the Playters and the Leas. His father, Charles Lea, was a Captain in the 12th York Rangers, and marrying Charlotte Playter, Clarence had two sisters, Estella and Florence (Norm Stewart's grandmother) and a brother, Herbert.

Clarence was unmarried and living in Toronto when he enlisted on December 3rd, 1914. His occupation at the time of signing up was farmer and he had served 3 years in the 2nd Welland Dragoons, and commissioned as a Lt. he was guarding the Welland Canal when war was declared in 1914.

Made a temporary Captain on June 3rd, 1916, no doubt as a result of being one of the few to survive the onset of the "Battle for Mount Sorrel" on June 2nd, 1916, Clarence was awarded the Military Cross on January 1st, 1917. Cited without specific detail in the London Gazette of 29th December 1916, LG29886 page 45, The Toronto Star newspaper of states the award was for his actions in bringing up transport for the 4th CMR under heavy fire on that June 2nd - although the paper incorrectly details his action as being at Courcelette, which he was nowhere near at the time.

Latterly, Clarence was Transport Officer for the 8th Brigade and was demobbed on March 20th, 1919. It seems to be indicated that at some point Clarence may have been gassed, as sadly, whilst being discharged in good health, he subsequently became seriously ill and died on September 24th, 1919. Buried with military honours on September 29th, 1919, at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ont, the Toronto Star of September 29th, 1919, reported that the firing party, formed by the Canadian Dragoons, was 100 strong and that floral tributes came from the 4th CMR and the 2nd Welland Dragoons. Officers of both regiments acted as main and honorary pall bearers.

Biography and photo credit goes to Norm Stewart.

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