Born at Dundee, Scotland on 18 July 1882, his family ran a textile manufacturing facility but McLaren decided to study law in Scotland before moving to Canada to pursue a life of adventure. Prior to emigrating he served in the Battalion of the Black Watch in Scotland.
Upon his arrival at Brandon, he worked as a farm hand near the city and worked for Canadian Pacific Railway in the freight sheds. A. S. Rose, the Principal of Brandon Public schools, encouraged him to enter Normal School and become a teacher. He qualified as a physical education instructor and began working for the Brandon School Board.
He was a steadfast supporter of programs for youth, helping to organize the first Girl Guide program in Brandon as well as the Brandon Cadet programs. In 1914, at the outset of the First World War, he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He joined the 12th Manitoba Dragoons as a Private and within three years had achieved the rank of Major. His battalion was one of the first to go overseas. On 23 April 1915 he died in combat at Ypres, Brandon’s first citizen to die in the First World War.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: McLaren School (1031 Sixth Street, Brandon)
Biography files, S. J. McKee Archives.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada.
This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 December 2013
This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.
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