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

Lieutenant Howard Roger Cluff

71st Canadian Overseas Battalion
21st Canadian Infantry Battalion
2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps (C.M.)

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

Howard Roger Cluff was born at Brussels, Ontario, on 26 Sep 1889. The family, with parents Reverend William Cluff and wife Annie Laura, can be found in the 1901 and 1911 Canadian Censuses. In the earlier census they are in Strathroy, Ont., and, in the latter, Stratford. Howard is the middle of three children, with an older sister, Laura (b. 1887), and a younger brother, "Rex" (Reginald, b. 1891). Both Howard and Rex would serve during the Great War. Rev. Cluff also served, in the Canadian Militia, achieved the rank of Major and was the chaplain of the 28th Perth Regiment while the family lived in Stratford.

By October, 1906, Cluff is shown in the quarterly Militia List as a Cadet Lieutenant with No. 114, The St. James Cadets, Military District No. 1, Stratford, Ont. He holds this appointment until at least April, 1912. In the spring of 1912, Cluff completed his Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating from Trinity College in Toronto. His younger brother, Rex, passed his first year exams with honors the same year.

Holding the appointment of provisional Lieutenant in the 28th Perth Regiment, Cluff successfully completed his examinations qualifying him for the rank of Lieutenant on 14 Oct 1915. His status in the Canadian Militia secured, Cluff was also preparing for overseas service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.). Throughout the First World War, Cluff would continue to be shown in the Militia Lists as an officer of the 28th Perth Regiment at Stratford, Ont. His name would be annotated with "(E)" to show that he was seconded to the Expeditionary Force. His brother Rex would be similarly listed in 1916, and their father William continued to be shown as the regiment's chaplain.

On 1 Nov 1915, Cluff was subjected to a medical examination to determine his fitness for active service . A 24 year old law student, Cluff was described on his medical history sheet as 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds, with a 35-inch chest, good physical development, a dark complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination, which was recorded on his Officer's Declaration form, was Church of England. Cluff identified his father, Rev. William T. Cluff, as his next of kin.

Howard Cluff's appointment with the 71st Overseas Battalion was published in the 4 Nov 1915 edition of The Brussels Post. The news item read: "Howard Cluff Appointed — Still another of Stratford's young men has been honored by the Militia Department and has received his appointment to lead a corps of gallant Canadians in the European struggle. On Friday afternoon Lieutenant Howard Cluff, son of Rev. and Mrs. W.T. Cluff, received official notification of his appointment as Lieutenant, to be attached to D Company of the 71st Battalion, which is to Winter at Woodstock. Lieut. Cluff reported Saturday at London. Lieut. Cluff was successful in his officers' exams, following a six-weeks' course at the Officers' Training School at London, which concluded recently. The young gentleman is a nephew of Barrister and Mrs. Sinclair, Brussels. Rev. And Mrs. Cluff were former residents of the town. We wish Lieut. Cluff success as he goes to fight for the grand old flag."

Cluff completed his Officers' Declaration, offering to serve in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, at Stratford, Ont., on 17 Nov 1915. He identified that he was currently serving in the 28th Perth Regiment and that he had also served a year with the Canadian Officers' Training Corps at the University of Toronto. Cluff was accepted as an officer of the 71st Overseas Battalion, C.E.F.

The winter of 1914-16 constituted months of preparatory training for the battalion. General military skills, marksmanship, general fitness training and marksmanship would have been common and repetitive activities. Cluff's officer training also continued, on 11 Dec 1915 he successfully completed the qualifying examinations for the rank of Captain. Further training for the unit, based on current experiences at the front in France and Flanders, awaited the officers and soldiers of the 71st Bn. in England. It was on 2 Apr 1916, that the 71st Bn. embarked at Halifax aboard the S.S. Olympic and sailed for England. The unit disembarked at Liverpool on 11 Apr 1916 and headed for Shorncliffe.

Pay documents in Cluff's service record for April, 1916, show that, as a Lieutenant in the C.E.F., Cluff was paid $2.00 per day (twice the rate of pay of a Private). He also received 60 cents per day field allowance (six times that received by a soldier) and $1.00 per day messing supplement. Totaling $3.60 per day, each month this would be sent to his bank.

While the battalion was training at Shorncliffe, Cluff was admitted to the camp hospital on 22 May 1916. Two days later, he was transferred to Helena Hospital at Shorncliffe with a left-sided hernia that had developed in the preceding month. He was operated on and two weeks later transferred to Beresford Lodge, Birchington, for convalescence. Cluff would remain his hospital until being discharged on 25 Jul 1916. Case notes recorded at Helena Hospital on 26 Jul 1916 states: "Present Condition: Good, abdominal wall at site of operation seems firm; could do light duty, but not yet fit for full duty." A Medical Board conducted at Shorncliffe on 27 Jul 1916 found him to be "Unfit for any duty, 3 weeks, sick leave."

Reboarded on 17 Aug 1916, Cluff was pronounced fit for general service. He returns to duty from convalescence on 20 Aug 1916 and was transferred to the unit headquarters, being appointed Adjutant of the 71st Battalion on 1 Sep 1916. At the end of September, Cluff was detailed to proceed overseas to France, initially to join the 54th Battalion. He crossed the Channel on 5 Oct 1916 and, arriving at the Canadian base Depot, was actually taken on the strength of the 21st Battalion.

On 7 Oct 1916, Howard Cluff arrived as a reinforcement to the 21st Battalion at the front, a battalion of the 4th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The Battle Honours award to the 21st battalion over the next few months include the major actions Cluff may have been in the field for:

During the winter of 1916, Cluff was also detached from the unit to the Composite Battalion from late October to early December. A notice printed in printed in The Brussels Post on 4 Jan 1917 gave news of Cluff's employment in France: "Lieut. Cluff has Important Post. — Lieut. Howard Cluff, son of Rev. And Mrs. W.T. Cluff, Stratford, and nephew of Barrister and Mrs. Sinclair, Brussels, has recently received an important promotion at the front, according to word received by his parents. Lieut. Cluff recently completed a special course at the army instruction school at Boulogne and has been placed in command of a company of officers and N.C.O's whose duty it is to instruct the men who come across from England and are to be drafted into the 21st Battalion. Each Battalion furnished a similar company and Lieut. Cluff's friends will be pleased to learn that he has been entrusted with such an important work."

On 26 May 1917, Cluff reported sick in France with general pains, and the same day was admitted to No. 1 Canadian Field Ambulance, P.U.O. and pains in legs. "P.U.O." was the abbreviation use for pyrexia (i.e., fever) of unknown origin, commonly applied to the colloquially named "trench fever." By 31 May 1917, Cluff had been evacuated to No. 14 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne. His rearward movement, however, would not halt there, and on 7 Jun 1917, he was invalided (sick) and detached to the Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot (E.O.R.D.), Seaford, crossing the Channel aboard the hospital ship H.S. St. Andrew. The E.O.R.D. was part of the new regionally based reinforcement system, with named Depots taking in troops from battalions raised in those areas in Canada and providing reinforcement drafts to similarly designated fighting units. The 21st Bn. was associated with the E.O.R.D. These Depots also became the parent unit for any soldiers returned to England from their affiliated battalions in France and Flanders.

On 7 Jun 1917, Howard Cluff was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, with P.U.O. (trench fever). His medical case sheet reads: "Trench fever. Invalided sick, May 26th, pyrexia and pains in legs and shins. Has been in hospital at Boulogne. In France 9 months." The following week, on 16 Jun 1917, a Medical Board in the London area pronounced him to be "Unfit for service, 1 month." Discharged from Hospital a few days later, Cluff was before another Medical Board in the London area on 17 Jul 1917. Still recovering from his bout of trench fever, the board recommended "Fit home service, unfit general service, 1 month."

Cluff ceased to be on leave effective 31 Jul 1917 and was "On Command" (i.e., a temporary duty assignment without change of parent unit) to the Officers Training Battalion. Three weeks later, on 21 Aug 1917, a board at Seaford found him to "Fit home service, unfit general service, 1 month." Another month passed before he was considered "Fit General service" but his medical problems were not yet over. On 27 Sep 1917, Cluff was admitted to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital, Brighton, with scabies (burrows interdigital) and he was posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion as his parent unit while under treatment. He would be discharged from the hospital on 18 Oct 1917.

At the end of October, 1917, Cluff was heading back to the front. He was posted to the 6th Reserv Bn. from the E.O.R.D. on 29 Oct 1917 and transferred to the 21st Bn. on 21 Nov 1917 while at the 2nd Canadian Infantry Base Depot. Cluff left the Depot for the unit on 26 Nov 1917, joining the unit in the field two days later. While winters on the Western Front may not have featured large scale operations, the need to continue training officers and soldiers continued. Cluff was away from the unit from 9-20 Dec 1917 and again from 8-23 Feb 1918 attending courses.

Cluff was back at the unit in late February, 1918. The 21st Battalion remained in billets in Divisional Reserve at "Alberta Camp, Carency until the 27 Feb. Working parties at the front trench lines, baths and rifle ranges filled part of the time while the Battalion "rested." On the 27th, an advance party of six officers proceeded to the LENS Sector in preparation for a return to the forward trenches.

On 28 Feb 1917, the 21st Bn. relieved the 26th Bn. (6th Brigade) in Brigade Support in the LENS Sector. Companies were deployed in Billets in the town of Leiven and the majority of the unit was employed on working parties improving defences in the LENS Sector.

Advanced parties from the Battalion moved forward on 3 Mar 1918 in preparation to take over a section of the front line, relieving the 19th Battalion. The relief was completed that evening and no casualties were reported.

On 4 Mar 1918, the unit War Diary provides the brief note:

"Front Line 4-3-19
"An enemy raid on a large scale commencing at 5:54 a.m. resulted in Casualties of, Officers wounded 3; Other Ranks, killed 3, wounded 38."

A more detailed narrative of the action was attached to the War Diary for the month:

21 Canadian Infantry Battalion
March 1916; Appendix B

21st Canadian Battalion
March 5th, 1916

Reference Sheet; 36C S.W.1, 1/10,000

21st Canadian Battalion
Narrative of Enemy Raid LENS Section (Left Sub-Section)
Morning of March 4th, 1918

By stern resistance and prompt action the 21st Canadian Battalion foiled the efforts of the enemy when the Boche attempted a raid on a large scale against the 2nd Canadian Division front (LENS SECTION) at daybreak on March 4th, 1918. The hostile infantry operated under cover of liquid fire and were supported by the heaviest bombardment which has featured raiding operations on this front during the past winter. According to the statements of 55 R.I.R. prisoners, four parties each of 60 and 40 from a special Storm-Troop Battalion were engaged in the raid. Though a party of Huns forced an entrance, and occupied our trenches for a short period, they were driven out and retired to their line carrying their wounded, but leaving at least two score of dead in our trenches and "No Man's Land." None of our men were taken prisoners, but three of his seriously wounded were brought in by us from "No Man's Land," and they gave valuable information to the intelligence staff when interrogated. Our casualties were: Officers, wounded 3; Other Ranks, killed, 3; wounded 38.

At 5.54 o'clock, upon signal of a red flare, a heavy hostile barrage was laid on our front and support trenches. About four minutes later it lifted, and the attack of parties of the infantry were launched. Heavy shelling of the whole Divisional front and active counter-battery work increased in intensity. Particular attention was paid to Battalion headquarters. Our artillery, Trench Mortars and machine Guns quickly responded to the S.O.S. and accounted for many of the enemy's casualties.

The raid was chiefly directed against the front of our left ('D') Company — ALOOF Trench, from a point N.13.d.65.0- (south-west of Divisional boundary) to the railway at N.13.d.35.47. The party observed working along the railway embankment at the southern Company boundary, attempted to force an entrance into our line at this point was broken up by Lewis Gun and rifle fire. A party heading through the culvert in the railway embankment at N.13.d.65.25 was dispersed by Lewis Gun and rifle of "C" (the centre) Company, directed by Lieut. E.E. Smythe. The raiders presented another good target, when from twenty-five to thirty mounted the embankment near the culvert. Again the Boche endeavoured to scale the embankment at the point of the salient in this Company's line, and threw "Cylindrical Sticks." Firing at such excellent targets and observing the decisive results was greatly enjoyed by our men. Even "B" Company, on the right, had a share in registering the expensive toll which the enemy paid for his raid. Its Lewis Gunners and riflemen, firing enfilade, too full advantage of the appearance of the Huns on the embankment.

But the right hostile party, operating against our left flank, met with a small, but temporary, measure of success. Upwards of 75 reached our front line and, using liquid fire, lost no time in immediately working down COTTON C.T. [comunication trench] towards the Company Headquarters, bombing dugouts and throwing Cylindrical Sticks. At the point where this party entered, the personnel of the night posts had five minutes previously retired to the support line on account of the necessity of evacuating these posts before daylight. The observers in the posts at the time were driven out, due to the might of the enemy's numbers. Also, a Lewis Gun in position in close support was put out of action during the preliminary bombardment.

The Officer Commanding the Company, Captain A.W. Black, quickly appreciated the situation, organized and lead the counter-attack, which resulted in the Boche being ejected. They hastily retired into "No Man's Land," assisting their wounded. The defeated enemy were followed by the rifle fire of your men. After the re-establishment of our line the garrison was quickly re-organized and casualties, the more serious of which were dressed in the front line by Captain E.A. McCusker, M.C. (Medical Officer), were evacuated. Our casualties in Officers were Captain A.W. Black, who returned to futy after having a head wound dressed; Lieut. H.R. Cluff and Lieut. G.E. Burtt. Both Platoon Commanders were seriously wounded, when directing the defence of the line. (Lieut. J.H.W. Cobb (4th Trench Mortar Battery) took an active part in the fight.)

Major H.E. Pense, M.C., who was returning to Battalion Headquarters after an inspection of the front, established an advanced Battalion Headquarters.

Lieut. N.J. MacCrimmon and Lieut. D.J. More, M.C., Commanding "B" and "C" Companies respectively, kept headquarters in touch with the situation on the Southern part of the Battalion front. Thirteen of the casualties (killed 2, wounded 11) were sustained by "A", "B" and "C" Companies. The Support Company, under Captain J.G. Wiggins, "Stood To" ready for counter-attack if necessary.

Lieuts. E.S. Sawell, M.C., and R.J. Gill reported to "D" Company to replace Lieuts. Cluff and Burtt. Many distinctive acts of gallantry will stand to the credit of Non-commissioned Officers and men as well as Officers.

Lieut.-Colonel E.W. Jones, D.S.O., Commanding, and the Battalion, received congratulatory messages from Brigadier General H.D.B. Ketcham, C.M.G. (Commanding 2nd Canadian Division) and Brigadier General H. Rennie, C.M.G., M.V.O., D.S.O. (Commanding 4th Infantry Brigade).

Seriously wounded, Cluff was evacuated from the front line on 4 Mar 1918 and admitted to No. 5 Casualty Clearing Station (C.C.S.). His wounds included S.W. (shot wounds, which could refer to either bullet or shrapnel) of the left knee, face, palm, toes of right and left feet, and scrotum. In addition he was affected by gas. At the C.C.S., Cluff had operations performed on his left knee, his toes were amputated, and his testicle removed. Medical notes in his service record mention that his wounds were caused by a grenade. The same day, Cluff moved again, being transferred to No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance.

Two days after he was evacuated, the 21st Battalion struck back at the enemy with a raid of their own before being relieved in the trenches that night. The War Diary noted: "One prisoner captured, many enemy casualties and a severe shock to the morale of the enemy was inflicted by a raiding party of the 21st Canadian Battalion on the morning of March 6th." The Battalion suffered two killed and 10 wounded, but inflicted a much higher cost on the enemy defenders.

Cluff soon left the Field Hospital, being transferred on 9 Mar 1918 by Ambulance Train No. 16. He was next admitted to the Duchess of Westminster's 1st British Red Cross Hospital at Le Tréport, France, where a second operation was performed on his left knee. News of his wounding traveled to his family quickly and as was often the case, it was shared through the social medium of the small town newspapers where he had family and acquaintances. On 14 Mar 1918, The Clinton New Era printed a very brief item titled "Lieut. Cluff Improved" and reading "A cablegram was received by Rev. and Mrs. W.T. Cluff, from their son, Lieut. Howard Cluff, in France, stating, "Feeling Fine. Have Written." It was thought on Wednesday that Lieut. Cluff was dangerously wounded, but the cable dispels anxiety."

On 4 Apr 1918, news of a letter received by Cluff's mother was also printed in The Clinton New Era. Titled "Lieut. Cluff Recovering," the item read: "Mrs. W.T. Cluff, of Stratford, has received a letter from her son Lieut. Howard Cluff, the first he has written since he was wounded. He states he is receiving very good treatment in the hospital and is progressing favorably. In addition to his other wounds he has a fractured knee cap. In the next bed to Lieut. Cluff is an officer who had his foot blown off by the same shell that struck the Stratford officer. "Thank God that I escaped as well," said Lieut. Cluff. The many friends of the young officer in Clinton will be glad to hear of his progress."

After a month is hospital in France, Cluff was deemed healthy enough to be moved again. On 8 Apr 1918, he was "Invalided (wounded)" and evacuated to England aboard the hospital ship H.S. Newhaven. On crossing the Channel he was struck off the strength of the 21st Battalion and attached to the E.O.R.D. Once in England, Cluff was admitted to Bathurst House Hospital, 12 Belgian Square W., London, remaining here another month.

A Medical Report completed on 15 Apr 1918 contained the following details on Cluff's wounds:

Cluff was admitted to Granville Canadian Special Hospital at Buxton on 11 May 1918, for "G.S.W. Multiple." Cluff would remain in this facility for 24 days. A few days later his status was changed to "On Command" to the Headquarters, Overseas Military Forces of Canada (O.M.F.C.) pending being invalided to Canada.

On 14 May 1918, Cluff condition was reported by one more Medical Board, this time conducted in the Buxton Area. The Board concluded that he was "Unfit any service, [to be] returned to Hospital in Canada." The Medical Board Report states:

"S.W. Multiple, March 4th, 1918, at Lens.

"Multiple wounds. Left forearm, small fragments entered front of forearm in lower 1/3 and his hand injuring median nerve. Right forearm, small flesh wound upper 1/3. Scrotum, injury to left testicle necessitating removal, same day. Left knee, fragment entered front on knee fracturing patella. Left foot, 4th and 5th toes removed at metatarsi-phalangial joints. Right foot, great toe removed at metatarsi-phalangial joint. Hosp. No. 1 B.R.C. 5 weeks. Bathurst Hosp. 12 Belgram to May 11/1918."

"General condition fair only. Ambulation good. Left forearms wound healed, complains of numbness in distribution of median nerve in hand. Diminished sensitivity to pin prick and cotton wool on this area. Right forearm, healed no disability. Scrotum, wound still discharging. Left knee, wound healed May 7/19. Remaining fragments of patella slightly movable. Pass in ?? full, flexion to 170° only. Left foot, stumps of toes still discharging. Right foot, wounds almost healed."

"Board recommends Invalid to Canada as a stretcher case on ship, but fit to sit up on bed."

On 3 Jun 1918, Cluff sailed for Canada as an invalid patient aboard the hospital ship H.S. Neuralia, sailing from Avonmouth. On sailing, he was struck off the strength of the O.M.F.C. and posted to No. 1 District Depot (No. 1 D.D.) in London, Ontario.

Cluff arrived in Canada 14 Jun 1918 and two days later was posted to the Hospital Section, No. 1 D.D. On arrival he was granted a leave of absence with subsistence allowance from 17 Jun to 1 Jul 1918 and admitted to the Victoria Military Hospital. While still on leave, Cluff's new place of employment was determined, on 22 Jun 1918 he was taken on strength of the No. 1 D.D. Paymaster's Office. Although held on the strength of the Paymaster's Office, it is undetermined when Cluff may have actually started working there. In July, 1918, Cluff's overseas service recognized when he received authority to wear three blue Service Chevrons for his three years overseas.

With Howard Cluff wounded, and now back in Canada recovering though still in uniform, his brother Rex was still overseas. On 15 Aug 1918, The Clinton News Record noted the visit to that town of Rev. and Mrs. Cluff. It went on to share the news that Rev. Cluff had just received a wire informing them that "his son, Lieut. Rex, who went overseas with the 161st Battalion, had been wounded. No particulars were given as to the nature or seriousness of the wound but it is hoped that it may not be serious. Mr. Cluff's elder son was invalided home some months ago after service in France."

On 16 Sep 1918, Cluff was posted to the Depot's Company from the Military Hospital. He was categorized "Ciii" which meant fit for home service only. A week later, on 23 Sep 1918, Cluff went to new employment when he was struck off the strength of the District Depot and attached to the Canadian Army Pay Corps (C.A.P.C.) for duty in the office of the District Paymaster, No. 1 Military District.

The effects of Cluff's wounds received on 4 Mar 1918 returned him to hospital in June, 1919. On the 4th of that month, he was admitted to Western Ontario Military Hospital at London, Ont.. While in hospital, he would undergo another operation during July to remove some remaining shrapnel from his left foot.

Cluff would again be discharged to duty on 28 Aug 1919. The following day he was medically examined at London, Ont., prior to being discharged. Cluff's Medical History form includes the following notes:

Howard Cluff was struck off the strength of the C.E.F. (C.A.P.C.) on general demobilization on 15 Sep 1919. He was entitled to a War Service Gratuity of $549 which was paid to him in installments between September 1919 and February 1920. For his service in the CEF, Cluff was entitled to receive the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These were despatched to him at 404 Talbot St., London, Ont., on 2 May 1921.

Despite his wounds in the Great War and the lengthy time he spent in recovery, Cluff's military career was not yet over. With an effective date of 18 Oct 1921, Howard Cluff's name reappears in the quarterly Militia List. The edition published in December, 1922, shows him as a Captain holding the appointment of Paymaster in the 2nd Machine Gun Brigade, Canadian Machine Gun Corps (C.M.G.C.) of the Canadian Militia. Authorized on 1 Jun 1919, the newly formed units of the C.M.G.C. in the Non-Permanent Active Militia recreated that valuable battlefield capability which had demonstrated its worth during the Great War. These new brigades would eventually by renamed battalions and, in 1936, be amalgamated into local infantry units of the Militia across the country. Their lingering legacy for many years was the addendum of "(M.G)" in the amalgamated unit titles.

The Militia List of September, 1925, lists Cluff with the following entry summarizing his service: "CLUFF, Howard Roger (Capt. (Pmr.) 2 M.G. Bn.) "The War of 1914-21. France and Belgium 17/10/16 to 7/6/17; 22/11/17 to 4/4/18. Wounded. British War Medal, Victory Medal." The 2nd Battalion of the C.M.G.C. was headquartered in London, Ont., with one of the battalion's companies also located there.

In the years after the war, Cluff established his law practice at London and got on with his life in a post-War Canada. On 31 Dec 1927, 38-year-old Howard Cluff married 24 year old Dorothy May Sproull, a bookkeeper. The wedding was conducted by Rev. William Cluff at Stratford, Ont. The couple would have two children.

Howard Cluff died on 1 Apr 1936. He suffered a heart attack while en route from London to Toronto by train and was taken off the train at Hamilton where he died in hospital. At the time of his death, Cluff and his family were living at 55 Victor St., London, Ont. Howard Cluff was buried in Maitland Cemetery, Stratford, Ont., on 4 April 1936.

The Clinton New Record of 2 Apr 1936 reported on Howard Cluff's death:

"A Sudden Death

"Howard R. Cluff, prominent London lawyer, died in a Hamilton hospital yesterday morning, having been taken off the train as he was on his way to Toronto. His death was due to a heart attack.

" Mr. Cluff, born at Brussels, was a son of the late Canon Cluff and of Mrs. Cluff of London, and a nephew of the late R.J. Cluff of Clinton. He was a prominent member of the bar of Western Ontario and had taken part in several important cases within the past few weeks. With Chas. E. Bell of Hamilton he had defended Meisner at both his trials, and succeeded in having him acquitted of the Labatt kidnapping. He it was who gave Meisner money to take him to Windsor after his acquittal. He was going to Toronto to confer with Mr. Bell when his fatal illness occurred.

"Mr. Cluff was thirty-six years of age and is survived by his wife, two children, his mother and one brother, R. Cluff of Strathroy. Both brothers served in the Great War."

The 2 Apr 1936 Montreal Gazette also reported on Cluff's death, adding a few more details and using the high profile kidnapping as their hook for the reader's attention:

"Meisner's Lawyer, H.R. Cluff, Is Dead
"Sudden Heart Attack Ends Career of Prominent London Counsel

"Hamilton, Ont., April 1—(CP)—Howard R. Cluff, London, Ont., lawyer who defended David Meisner against charges of complicity in the kidnapping of John Labatt, died in hospital after being removed from a train from London. Death was attributed to heart disease.

"Cluff was connected as defence counsel with Meisner during his first trial at which he was convicted of participation in the kidnapping and sentenced to 15 years in jail, and during the second trial at which Meisner was acquitted. He was associated in the defence with C.W. Bell of Hamilton.

"En route to Toronto to appear at Osgoode Hall today, Mrs. Cluff complained of feeling ill at Brantford and he was taken from the train at Hamilton, where he was rushed to hospital by ambulance. He died shortly before noon.

"Son of the late Canon William T. Cluff, he graduated in arts at Trinity College, Toronto. After he graduated in law from Osgoode Hall in 1912, he and a classmate, Donald L. Menzies, set up a partnership in legal offices at London. Mr. Menzies was appointed city magistrate this year.

"Mr. Cluff is survived by his widow, Dorothy, two small children, Sally and Billy, and his mother."

In 1967, responding a query about the life and military service of Howard Cluff, the Archivist at the Office of the Librarian, Trinity College, provided the following summary of Cluff's military service from the Trinity War Memorial Volume:

"Lt. 28th Perth L.I.; Lt. and Adjt. 71st Bn, September 15, 1915; O.S. March 30, 1916; 47th Bn.; France, October 5, 1916; 21st Bn.; Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917; trench fever June, 1917; Officers' Trg. Bn., Seaford, August 1917; O.C. No. 1 Coy.; France, November 21, 1917; wounded March 4, 1918; ret'd from O.S. June 14, 1918; Dist. Pay Adjustment Officer, M.D. No. 1."

Although no longer awarded, Trinity College has provided the following information on the Howard Cluff Trophy donated and presented for some years in his honour:

"The Howard Cluff Trophy was established in 1945, presented to the Athletic Association of the College by Mrs. W.T. Cluff in honour of her son. According to the Constitution of the Trinity College Athletic Association, the trophy "…is to be awarded by a ballot vote of the Executive Committee and the Senior Managers to the student outstanding in Trinity or University Athletics. Qualities to be noted are leadership, sportsmanship and performance." The trophy is on display in the athletic association case at Trinity."

Pro Patria

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