Clarence Russell Porter


    Clarence Russell Porter was born in Tara, Ontario, on August 13, 1896. His mother, Mrs. Julia Dunn, lived in Owen Sound.1 Clarence attended the OSCI, and then worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a freight branch clerk. He was very well-liked by his friends and coworkers.2 On November 11, 1914, Porter enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Toronto - he had turned eighteen just three months earlier. He belonged to the active militia, and had served for one week with the 31st Regiment. Clarence Porter was assigned to the 20th Infantry Battalion, and trained in Canada until the following spring.3


    On May 15, 1915, Porter and his unit arrived in England and began further training at West Sandling. The 20th Battalion did not embark for France until January 10, 1916.4 On September 15, zero hour for the Canadian assault against Courcelette, the 20th Battalion jumped off at 6:20am.5 As the guns opened up against the German positions, the battalion faced stiff resistance in their sector. By 7:00, the 4th Infantry Brigade, including the 20th Battalion, were successful in reaching their objectives.6 During the advance by the Canadian troops, Clarence Porter became another tragic casualty.7


    In an after-action report made on October 6, Porter was reported missing in the field and on 16 October he was declared ‘missing after action’.8 It was not until August 18, 1917, that Porter was for official purposes presumed to have died on or since September 15, 1916.9 On October 10, 1917, his possessions were signed off by the Estates Branch to his mother. In 1921 Porter was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.10


    Clarence Porter is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France, one of over 11000 Canadians killed in France during the First World War, with no known grave.


1. "Porter, Clarence Russell," RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 760-46, Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

2. "Relieved Killed," The Sun Times (Owen Sound, ON), November 10, 1916.

3. "Porter, Clarence Russell."

4. "Porter, Clarence Russell."

5. G.W.L Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War (Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1962),169.

6. Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, 169.

7.  "Circumstances of Casualty: Private Clarence R. Porter," Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

8. "Porter, Clarence Russell."

9.  "Circumstances of Casualty: Porter."

10. "Porter, Clarence Russell."