Cliff was educated in Galway Grammar School until he was 12 or 14 at which time he was expelled for taking the cane away from the master and breaking it over his knee. As Galway was then a fairly active seaport his dad had him placed on the crew of a German-North Lloyd sailing ship then in port; thus began Cliff's adventurous seafaring career. The sailing ship proved to be a tough life, particularly when they sprung a leak in the North Atlantic and every one had to man the pumps 8hrs. on and 8 hrs. off!
Cliff survived it and never served on a steamship until the first World War, even though he had joined the British Navy earlier and indeed won a medal for some campaign in Africa. At some point during the war he transferred to the Australian Navy and was on a cruiser searching for the German raider, the "Emden". His ship however was not the one that finally ended the Emden's career. At some point he served on the Navy's China station and could relate tales of pranks he enjoyed together with getting himself tatooed back and front with Chinese dragons!
After the war he went to work on a sheep ranch in Australia, then emigrated to Canada about 1920, working in the CNR shops in Rivers for a brief period. He went east and because of his sea-going experience got a job painting the buoys on the Trent canal. At some point he passed through Fenelon Falls and there met and married Meta Moffat about 1922.
They settled in Peterborough, ON, where he worked as Building Superintendent for the Barrie Fur company and where they raised three children, Robert, Jane and Bury. However, when World War II started the old war horse rose to the challenge and joined the home guard of the Canadian Army, doing duty in Halifax and some other centres. After the war he returned home and eventually finished his days in an old folks home in Peterborough where he is buried. His son, Robert distinguished himself by becoming the youngest Sergeant in the Canadian army, getting commissioned in the field and in peacetime serving as Lieut. Colonel of the Brockville Rifles. His civilian career was also distinguished in that he rose to be President of Black & Decker Canada who were based in Brockville.