172255 Sapper Earl Ernest McCallum was born on 17 August 1897 in Cross Hill, Waterloo County, Ontario, son of Peter James McCallum and Elizabeth Ann Petch.
McCallum had been serving with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada for 16 months before enlisting with the 83rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9 September 1915, aged 18. On his attestation papers he listed his trade as clerk and his religion as Methodist. He was 5′ 7 3/4″ tall, with hazel eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.
With his battalion he sailed from Halifax on 24 April 1916 on the SS Olympia. Having arrived in England, the 83rd was disbanded for reinforcements and he was transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion on 22 May 1916.
By 3 June he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Training Depot in Shorncliffe. From 4 August to 14 September he was treated in two military hospitals for “V.D.G.” – Venereal Disease Gonorrhea. Throughout 1917 and 1918 he was posted to duty in Shorncliffe, then to the 5th Canadian Division Signals Company in Witley, and to the 2nd Division Signals Company. He arrived in France 11 April 1918.
Throughout this service he assigned $20 per month of his pay to his mother.
He was struck off strength to Canada 12 May 1919 and discharged 17 May “having served in France and Belgium.”
In 1921 he was a bookkeeper in a banking office at age 23 and earned $600/year. In 1945 he was an inspector, living at 365 Elm Rd. Toronto, and in 1963 a mortgage evaluator living at 807 Kingsway Drive, Burlington.
He died at age 75 in Burlington and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Burlington.
Earl’s great great nephew was Major John Stephens, CD (Ret’d) who was appointed as the fourth Curator of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Museum and Archives in 2012.