Alan Arnett McLeod was born to Dr. Alexander Neil McLeod and Margaret Lyllian Arnett on 20 April 1899. A small, quiet child, Alan had a normal childhood. He learned to drive at an early age, as his father (a doctor) had an early Ford to make house calls.
Alan dreamed of a military life early, and in 1913 – when McLeod was just 14 – he was permitted to join the 34th Fort Garry Horse’s summer militia camp. His duties included shoveling manure and grooming horses, but he was released when World War I began in 1914.
In January, 1909 the Stonewall Argus reported nine-year-old Alan McLeod exhibited the same courage, kindness, and modesty that he would later display as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps. McLeod removed a trap from the foot of a stray dog, while townfolk watched. He could not understand the fuss over his action.