Harley Clifton Elsley
Private Elsley’s name appears on the Haltonville Cenotaph.
Private Elsley’s body was not recovered as he was “Lost at Sea”. He is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial, Nova Scotia.
The Halifax Memorial commemorates the men and women lost at sea who have no know place of burial. You will find Private Elsley listed on the right side of the list about 1/3 of the way down. Click on the image to see the larger scale where his name is clearly visible.
Private Harley Clifton Elsley was born in Nassagaweya (Milton), Ontario. He attested to the #1 Field Ambulance Depot of the Canadian Army Medical Corps on March 23, 1916. His service records show he was taken on strength to the 16th Canadian Field Ambulance in April 1917 and then transferred to the Hospital Ship “Llandovery Castle” in April 1918.
Private Elsley will not be known for what he did in the years serving in the CAMC in France or Flanders, but rather for the fact that he was one of the 89 members of the CAMC who lost their lives (along with many others) when the hospital ship was torpedoed by a German Submarine, contrary to Military Law. The ship was returning from Canada to England, so luckily no wounded were on board. After the torpedo attack it is reported that the submarine sank the life boats with the survivors, including many nurses.
The German Submarine officers were tried and convicted for war crimes, however the officers mysteriously escaped.