Clarence was born at Ashford NSW, the third child and eldest son of John and Stuart McElroy. He had served a six year apprenticeship at Inverell with Chemist Charles Dowe when, at the age of twenty five, he volunteered to enlist in 1915.
Clarence became a member of the 30th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement and departed Australia on HMAT A35 Berrima in December 1915. He served in Egypt, was transferred to the 13th Battalion and promoted to Corporal before his unit was sent to France in June 1916. Two months later he was wounded and evacuated to England to hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm.
After returning to France Corporal McElroy was Killed in Action in February 1917 and buried at Bancourt British Cemetery, Picardie, France. His few personal effects including cards, photos, medical book, wallet and pipe were returned to his mother at Inverell.
The Inverell Times newspaper 20 March 1917 reported ‘... McElroy was good to his mother, faithful to his employer, and kept good companions, his chief friend being the late Corporal Cecil Norris.’
Corporal McElroy has his name inscribed on the Inverell Honor Roll and Cenotaph and on the Tingha War Memorial. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.