|Date of Birth||1 June 1889|
|Place of Birth||Letellier, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Marie (Messier) LaRiviere, mother, Norman, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Norman, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||November 25, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 19, 1960|
|Age at Death||71|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
|Plot||RC B - 16 - 3|
Joseph Alexandre Seraphin LaRiviere was born on 1 June 1889, birth registered in the RM of Montcalm in Manitoba. His parents were Gedeon and Marie Louise (née Messier) LaRiviere who had married in 1884 in Saint Marcel, L’Islet, in Quebec where their families farmed. Three children were born to the couple in Quebec, Joseph Antoine (1885-1885), Marie Louise (1886-1969), and Joseph Gedeon (1887-1967). By the time of Alexandre’s birth in 1889, the family had moved to the francophone area of Letellier/Saint Joseph in the RM of Montcalm in southern Manitoba where they farmed. Today the area is host to the Saint Joseph Windmill Farm. Children born in Manitoba were Alexandre, Joseph Alfred (1891-1892), Marie Anne (1892-1979), Rose Delima Philomene (1894-1985), and Elsie Anna (1895-1895). By the 1901 Canada census the family had relocated to the small community of Norman in northwestern Ontario where Gedeon found work in a local sawmill. Norman later became part of Kenora.
With occupation given as labourer and his mother Marie as next of kin, Alexandre signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 25 November 1915. Although born in 1889, his birth year was recorded as 1884. With headquarters in Port Arthur, Ontario, recruiting for the 94th Battalion had begun earlier that fall although the battalion was not officially authorized until late in December. After training locally for a number of months, in May of 1916 men from C and D Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to Port Arthur. A large crowd gathered at the Kenora station to say goodbye and wish the men well. In early June the battalion left for Valcartier Camp in Quebec and embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on the 28th. On board was Private Alexandre LaRiviere.
Once in England Alexandre was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion at East Sandling. In September he was struck of strength to the 25th Battalion, joining the unit in the field in France on the 28th. Organized in October of 1914 with recruitment in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 25th Battalion had arrived in France by mid September of 1915. The battalion was to participate in many of the major battles of WW1.
Alexandre was granted a ten day leave in mid November of 1917. In March of 1918 he was sent on course for twelve days and then to the 1st Army SOS school on 25 October 1918, returning to the unit on the day after the Armistice. He was granted a two week leave to the UK later that month, and returned to England in April of 1919. Alexandre was discharged from service on demobilization in late May.
Returning to Norman, Alexandre worked as a sawyer and carpenter. For fifteen years he was employed by the Ontario Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company. He was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion and the Sacred Heart Church in Norman.
Predeceased by his mother Marie Louise in 1918, and his father Gedeon in 1934, as well as some of his siblings, Alexandre died at the Ontario Hospital in Port Arthur, Ontario on 19 May 1960. His Veteran Death Card listed his sister, Mrs. John (Rose Delima) McIlwaine of Kenora, Ontario as his next of kin. He is interred in the Roman Catholic section of Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Blessed Gardens Block, in Kenora, Ontario.
by Judy Stockham