• Chesley McLean
  • Decorations - Picture courtesy of Huron North Museum
  • Picture courtesy of Huron North Museum

MCLEAN, Chesley

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Second Lieutenant
Date of Death
Age at Death
21 years 10 months
Biographical Summary

SQUADRON:                     4th Fighting Squadron
                                             Royal Air Force
DATE OF BIRTH:            September 26, 1896
                                             Wingham – East Wawanosh / Turnbull Townships – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           August 16, 1918                   21 years      10 months
MEMORIAL:                    Hollybrook Memorial – Southampton – 
                                             Hampshire – England 
PARENTS:                         Mr. and Mrs. John McLean – Wingham - Ontario
Enlistment:                         September 26, 1917
Enlistment Age:                 21 years

Chesley enlisted into the 161st Battalion in 1915, and then into the Royal Air Force on his twenty-first birthday. His first two months were spent in Toronto. From there he went to Texas, where he trained during the winter of 1917-1918. His first two flights were taken in Texas. He then returned to Toronto.
He then embarked from Canada and arrived in England during the month of February 1918.
2nd Lieutenant Mclean continued with his training while in England. In August of 1918 while flying Sopwith Camel B7240, one wing of the aircraft collapsed and he fell into the North Sea and was drowned. At the time of his death he was flying a training mission.
Of him it is said – “He fell while training for the King. His life a precious offering; To shield us all in a needful hour, from fiendish hate and Hunnish power. A sturdy youth, a noble soul. His name’s cut deep in our Honour Roll.”
The Sopwith Camel was difficult to handle but had a very high level of manoeuvrability.