|Date of Birth||May 24, 1886|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Josephine Brabant, sister, 11037 130th Street, Edmonton, Alberta|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive Fireman|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Edmonton, Alberta|
|Address at Enlistment||Royal George Hotel, Edmonton, Alberta|
|Date of Enlistment||March 2, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||31|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
According to his attestation paper, George Edouard Deschambeau was born on 24 May 1886 in Kenora, Ontario (Rat Portage at the time). His father George Deschambeault, born at Fort Cumberland, Northwest Territories, was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company as was his grandfather, also George Deschambeault. His mother Virginie Genthon was born in Manitoba and the couple married on 29 February 1876 in St Boniface, Manitoba. Over the years the surname had a number of spellings: D’eschambeault, Deschambeault, and Deschambeau and was associated with a Métis heritage.
George and Virginie had five known children, Josephine (1879), George, Emma (1888), Arthur (1891), and Elie (1893). With George Sr listed as a clerk with the Hudson’s Bay Company, the family was living in Cumberland South, NWT for the 1881 census and Carrot River, Saskatchewan for the 1891 census. By the time of the 1901 census they were in Saint Francois Xavier, Manitoba, with George Sr listed as a fur trader. George Sr died in 1908 followed by Virginie in 1909, both interred in the St Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg.
By 1912 George was living in Lac la Biche in Alberta where he made application for a Homestead grant. With the onset of conscription during the latter part of the war, George had his medical examination on 15 October 1917 in Edmonton, Alberta and attested on 2 March 1918, 1st Depot Battalion Alberta Regiment. His occupation was given as locomotive fireman, his address as the Royal George Hotel in Edmonton, and his sister Josephine Brebant, wife of Angus Brebant, of Edmonton as next of kin. He was granted a conditional leave of absence until class B2 were called. On 12 September 1918 George was struck off strength on return to Registrars records at Calgary.
George’s brother Arthur enlisted in Winnipeg on 3 July 1915 and went overseas with the 78th Battalion. Sustaining a gunshot wound to the spine in August of 1918, Arthur was a paraplegic from the time of the wounding. Invalided to Canada, he died as a result of his wounds on 20 May 1920 in Winnipeg and is interred in the St Boniface Cemetery. His medals and decorations were later sent to his brother Elie in Winnipeg and his plaque and scroll to George in Lac la Biche.
In 1920 George married Mary Caroline (Tannie) Spencer. Born in 1892 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tannie was the daughter of James and Lilly (Elmore) Spencer. The family had arrived in the Lac La Biche area in 1900 when James assumed the position of factor at the Lac la Biche Hudson’s Bay Company post. In 1908 Lilly and the children moved to nearby Big Bay (Barnegat).
According to a Lac la Biche history book, George and Tannie gave birth to six children, Stewart, Charles, Marvin, Alphonse Irwin (Peter), Angus, and Alvina. Although George was listed as a railroader in Waterways, Fort McMurray for a 1945 Voters list, it appears that they lived in the Lac la Biche/Big Bay area. By a 1958 list George and Tannie were retired and living in Big Bay/Barnegat along with a number of their children and their wives. By the next found Voters list of 1974, Tannie was listed as widowed. She died in 1991. Although there is no gravemarker, George and Tannie are likely interred in the Our Lady of the Snow Cemetery in Big Bay or in the Lac la Biche Cemetery, fire having destroyed some of the interment records.
By Judy Stockham