Kalbfleisch, Clarence Eckert

  • Township: Embro & West Zorra
  • Rank: Private
  • Branch: Oxford Rifles; Royal Canadian Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry
  • Regiment number: A4528
  • Date of birth: August 4, 1917
  • Where born: Maplewood, West Zorra Township, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada
  • Date of death: December 25, 1943
  • Wars Served: World War II
  • Commemorated: Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Ortona, Italy; Cenotaph,Tavistock; & Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Tavistock
  • Years of service: Oct. 1940 - Dec. 25, 1943
  • Country enlisted with: Canada


Clarence Eckert Kalbfleisch was born at Maplewood, West Zorra Township on August 4, 1917, the son of Emerson and Christina Kalbfleisch.  He was farming with his parents at Lot 32, Concession 8, until he was called up under the National Resources Mobiliza­tion Act for 30 days of training with the Oxford Rifles in October and Novem­­ber 1940. He then returned to the family farm, but on January 12, 1942 was enroled in the Canadian Active Service Force at London, Ontario.  He trained in Kitchener and at Camp Borden, and then was given four months of leave without pay to help on the farm. On October 6, 1942, he married Alice M. Currah also of Maplewood.  On December 10, 1942 he sailed overseas to England.   On March 5, 1943 he joined the Royal Canadian Regiment and served with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division.  From July 10 to August 4 1943, the RCR fought in Sicily and then on September 3 landed at Reggio di Calabria in Italy.  The battalion fought at Motta, San Marco and Campobosso in October, and then spent most of November 1943 in a rest area.  In December the 1st Division were ordered to capture Ortona, a small town of some 10,000 people on the east coast of Italy.  Unfortunately, the Germans chose to contest the issue and moved up frack formations including 1st Parachute Division, 90th Light Division and the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division.  With this opposition, the battle became a three-week slogging match with heavy casualties.  Almost one quarter of Canadian fatalities in Italy took place at Ortona.  Private Kalbfleisch fought at San Leonardo December 6-10 and the bloody failures at the Ortona Crossroads December 18-19.  In an offensive on Christmas Day 1943, he was among the RCR’s many casualties, killed in action.  He is buried in the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery in Ortona, Italy.  Private Kalbfleisch was survived by his wife Alice Kalbfleisch and their infant son George Emerson (born after Clarence went overseas), his parents and a brother Gordon.




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