The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

B801204 Cpl Allan James John Clayton

2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Midland Regiment
3rd Bn, Cdn Inf Regt (48th Highlanders), CAPF
10th Ind. M.G. Coy (The New Brunswick Rangers), CIC, CASF
2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

Allan James John Clayton was born on 16 Mar 1925. Parents Allan and Mary (née Pole) would raise five children, of which Allan James was the eldest.

Clayton enlisted in the Non-Permanent Active Militia (N.P.A.M.) of Canada on 15 May 1942 at Bowmanville, Ont. Joining the 2nd Battalion, The Midland Regiment, he was given the regimental number C453406. Clayton joined the Headquarters Company of the regiment, which had been relocated to Bowmanville from Lindsay, Ont., effective 15 May 1942.

The Midland Regiment originated in Cobourg, Ontario on 5 October 1866 as the 40th "Northumberland Battalion of Infantry." The regiment was redesignated in 1900 and 1920, and amalgamated with the Durham Regiment in 1936. The Midland Regiment saw details called up in 1939 for local protection duties and mobilized The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham), Canadian Active Service Force (C.A.S.F.) for active service on 24 May 1940. This active force unit, the 1st Battalion, The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham), C.A.S.F., served in Canada in a home defence role with the Prince Rupert Defences, 8th Canadian Division. In late 1940, after the mobilization of the C.A.S.F. battalion, the N.P.A.M. unit was redesignated the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham) and continued in the Militia role throughout the war.

Clayton attended the annual Militia training camp with the Midland Regt. in the summer of 1942. He did not attend Camp in 1943. On 6 May 1944, Clayton was struck off strength to Active Service when he enlisted with the C.A.S.F. at District Depot No. 2, Toronto, on 6 May 1944. He was transferred to No. 31 Canadian Infantry Basic Training Centre at Cornwall, Ont. On 1 Jun 1944. On joining the C.A.S.F., Clayton received a new service number, B161362.

After one month at the Basic Training Centre, Clayton moved again when he was posted to the A-11 Canadian Machine Gun Training Centre (C.M.G.T.C.), Camp Borden, on 1 Aug 1944. He qualified as a trained soldier on 6 Nov 1944. From this date he was entitled to wear the "Mars badge" denoting this achievement. His rate of pay also increased to $1.50 per day.

On 22 Nov 1944, Clayton was struck off the strength of the C.M.G.T.C. to overseas Serial 2590. He boarded ship two days later and on sailing from Canada on 25 Nov 1944 he was taken on the strength of the Canadian Army (Overseas).

Clayton disembarked ship in the United Kingdom on 5 Dec 1944. The following day he reported for duty at 4th Canadian Infantry Training Regiment (4 C.I.T.R.).

It was not until February 1945 that Clayton would proceed to North West Europe. On 15 Feb 1945, he was struck off the strength of the C.I.T.R. and flown to the continent. On deplaning he was taken on the strength of the X-4 List, which identified him as an "Unposted Reinforcement" awaiting assignment to a front line unit. Six weeks later, on 27 Mar 1945, Clayton was posted as a reinforcement to The 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers), C.I.C., C.A.S.F.

The New Brunswick Rangers (designated as such on 15 March 1920) began as the 74th Battalion of Infantry at Sussex, New Brunswick on 12 August 1870. The lineage document published by the Canadian Armed Forces for the Royal New Brunswick Regiment, of which the N.B. Rangers are an amalgamated regiment, summarizes its operational activities during the Second World War as follows:

"The regiment mobilized the '1st Battalion, The New Brunswick Rangers, CASF' for active service on 1 January 1941. It was redesignated: 'The 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade Support Group (The New Brunswick Rangers), CIC, CASF' on 1 November 1943; and 'The 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers), CIC, CASF' on 24 February 1944. The unit served in Labrador in a home defence role as part of Atlantic Command from June 1942 to July 1943. It embarked for Britain on 13 September 1943. On 26 July 1944, the company landed in France as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, and it continued to fight in North-West Europe until the end of the war. The overseas company was disbanded on 15 February 1946."

The 10th Ind. M.G. Coy. (N.B. Rangers), as it's name suggests was a support fire unit of the 10th Infantry Brigade, a formation of the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division. The 10th Brigade's principal units were The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, The Algonquin Regiment, and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's). The 4th Division had entered joined the fight against the Germans in late July 1944 for the campaign through North West Europe.

Providing invaluable fire support to the units of its brigade, the 10th Ind. M.G. Coy. was mentioned in the official history (The Victory Campaign; The Operations in North-West Europe, 1944-45; Col;. C.P. Stacey, 1960) for its actions on 6-8 Mar 1945 at Veen (quoting Paterson, "10th Canadian Infantry Brigade"):

"For two days and nights the 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers) had guarded the left flank with continuous fire on the Latzen Busch, a small wood north of the Algonquin positions. They fired 135,000 rounds of Vickers, and with 2720 mortar bombs reduced the wood to what their C.O. described as "a series of holes joined together by bits of mud."

Heavy fighting continued for the 4th Division and its units after Clayton had joined the 10th Brigade's machine gun company. The official history mentions the Company again in its description of the crossing of the Kusten Canal, 17-19 April 1945:

"At one o'clock on the morning of the 17th [April] The Algonquin Regiment made a boat attack across the Kasten Canal. They were supported by the divisional artillery, the 28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment) and the 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers). The latter dug its Vickers guns into the south bank of the canal, giving very effective assistance from this forward position. The initial attack went well and before dawn the Algonquins were firmly established on their objectives. Thereafter, however, continuous shelling and mortaring hampered our engineers' bridging efforts, and the marines proved to be very persistent antagonists. During the day our artillery and air support were most helpful. At dusk a crisis developed when a German force, supported by a self-propelled gun, counter-attacked strongly; the gun got close to the canal before being driven back. The bridgehead was in danger, but it held. Late in the day two companies of the Argyll and Sutherland joined the Algonquins in the bridgehead, then about 1500 yards wide and between 300 and 400 yards deep."

Less than two weeks after V-E Day, Clayton volunteered on 19 May 1945 for service in the Pacific Theatre. In order to proceed to Canada for training with the Canadian Army Pacific Force (C.A.P.F.), Clayton was struck off the strength of the 10th Ind. M.G. Coy. On 6 Jun 1945 and transferred to the Canadian Infantry Corps' No. 41 Canada Draft (C.D.) for Military District No. 2.

Planning for a Canadian force for the Pacific Theatre had begun in late 1944. By the time the campaigns in North West Europe were coming to a close, it was realized that to create a Canadian division for the Pacific Theatre, it would require trained and experienced volunteers from the European Theatre. Many soldiers, like Clayton, volunteered to continue serving in the new theatre. This would also mean a faster return to Canada for many who would not otherwise have a high priority due to the points system being established to determine eligibility for repatriation. The expectation of 30 days' leave on return to Canada and a higher rate of pay for the Pacific Theatre may also have inspired many young soldiers to volunteer.

The 6th Canadian Division, C.A.P.F., was to be organized and equipped along American lines. Three regiments (i.e, brigades) of infantry, each of three battalions, were formed. Soon after, the units of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Canadian Infantry Regiments regained distinctive national identities with the parenthetical naming identifying them with familiar Canadian regiments.

Having joined No. 41 C.D. for return to Canada, Clayton was flown to the UK on 11 June and attached for all purposes to No. 6 Repatriation Depot. He would wait eleven more days before embarking for Canada. On 22 Jun 1945, he was also struck off the strength of the Canadian Army (Overseas).

On departing the European area of operations, effective 23 Jun 1945, Clayton was taken on the strength of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (48th Highlanders of Canada), C.A.S.F., a unit of the newly formed Canadian Army Pacific Force. When hostilities against Japan ceased on 14 Aug 1945, the need for the C.A.P.F. disappeared and the main effort for the Force was its own dissolution.

Clayton was struck off the strength of the C.A.P.F. and the 48th Highlanders on 11 Sep 1945. He was transferred to a holding unit at Camp Barriefield, Ont., A-21 Canadian Ordnance Electrical Mechanical Engineer Training Centre Holding Establishment (C.O.E.M.E.T.C. H.E.). On 24 Oct 1945, he was transferred again, this time to No. 26 Basic Training Centre at Orillia, Ont.

On 4 Nov 1945, Clayton was transferred one last time to No. 2 District Depot at Toronto. From the Depot, he was placed on Indefinite Leave from 5 Nov 1945 with a planned end date of 2 May 1946. Clayton, however, was recalled from leave on 24 Apr 1946 and on 2 May 1946, he was discharged from the C.A.S.F. on demobilization. On discharge, he was received a clothing allowance and a rehabilitation grant.

For his operational service in the Second World War, Clayton was eligible to receive the France & Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, and the 1939-45 War Medal. These were despatched to him on 10 Sep 1954. He also received the General Service Badge for wear with civilian clothing. Clayton's medals were replaced (on prepayment of $7.45 to the Government of Canada) in January, 1976.

Allan Clayton would return to civilian life for four years after his service in Second World War. In 1950, he returned to the Army. Answering the recruiting call for service in Korea, Clayton enlisted for the Canadian Army (Special Force) at Toronto on 18 Aug 1950. On attesting for service, he identified his next of kin as his mother, Mrs. Mary Clayton. Taken on strength of No. 6 Personnel Depot at Toronto, he was given the service number B-801204 and transferred to No. 25 Canadian Base Reinforcement Group (C.B.R.G.) Company at Camp Petawawa.

On 25 Aug 1950, Clayton was posted from the reinforcement group to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, which was being formed for service in the Korean War. Training with 2RCR, Clayton accompanied the unit to the United States and arrived at Fort Lewis, Washington, on 20 Nov 1950. Early the following year, on 28 Feb 1951, he was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal.

2RCR embarked for the Far East on 21 Apr 1951 and sailed from the west coast of the USA. The unit disembarked on 4 May 1951.As part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, 1st Commonwealth Division, 2RCR would serve in Korea from 5 May 1951 to 25 April 1952.

While serving in Korea, Clayton was promoted to Acting Corporal on 1 Oct 1951. Other than his promotion, Clayton's service record is sparse on details with no major notes until 18 Oct 1951.

On 18 Oct 1951, Clayton was evacuated from the field and passed from 25 Field Ambulance to 25 Field Dressing Station. As of this date, Clayton's service record shows him transferred to the X-3 List, which held soldiers medically evacuated from the front lines (further details have been redacted in the available copy of his file). The battalion's War Diary notes "A mortar bomb landed just over the hill in the 4.2 in Mortar area, causing one casualty." This may refer to Clayton, but the unit's Part II Orders also note that three other soldiers were transferred to the X-3 List on 18 Oct.

In any case, Clayton would not return to the unit. On 30 Oct 1951 he was transferred to the Canadian Administration Unit and the X-9 List (Undecided, Re-boarded, etc.) and on 14 Nov 1951 to the X-8 List (Return to Canada). Clayton was struck off the strength of the Canadian Army (Far East) on 3 Dec 1951 and on return to Canada, he was taken on the strength of No. 6 Personnel Depot at Toronto.

Allan Clayton was discharged from the Canadian Army (Special Force) on 12 Mar 1952. He received clothing and rehabilitation allowances for his return to civilian life.

For his Korean War service in Canada and the Far East, Clayton was awarded the Canadian Korea Medal and the United Nations Service Medal for Korea. These were sent to him on 1 Dec 1954, and replacement medals were sent to him on prepayment on 11 Mar 1976. In May 1989, Clayton would receive the Korean Service Badge, numbered 9723.

On 2 Jul 1993, Clayton was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea. This medal was sent to him on 28 Jan 1993 by Rideau Hall.

Clayton died on 7 Jun 1995. The recorded cause of his death was cirrhosis of the liver. Clayton appears in the Last Post list of departed Legionnaires maintained by the Royal Canadian Legion. His online entry notes his unit as New Brunswick rangers, service in the Second World War and Korea, and his Second World War service number, B161362. He was a member of the Sir Sam Hughes Branch, Lindsay, Ontario, Canada.

Violet May (née Geach) Clayton survived her husband by 15 years. She died at Lindsay, Ont., on 11 Aug 2010. "Vi's" obituary notice identified that her husband, the "late Allan (Pete) Clayton (1995)," had gone by the name "Pete."

Pro Patria

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