Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 11, 1894
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinPeter L'Heureux (father), 270 Bay Street, Port Arthur, Ontario
Trade / CallingPharmacy student
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number198758
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentPort Arthur, Ontario
Address at Enlistment270 Bay Street, Port Arthur, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 3, 1916
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 16, 1969
Age at Death74
Buried AtMount Peace Roman Catholic Cemetery, Mississauga, Ontario

L’Heureux, Cecil Peter

Private Cecil Peter L’Heureux enlisted in January 1916 and arrived in France seven months later. He was wounded twice that same year, in September at the Somme Offensive and in December at the Vimy front. He was invalided back to Canada in September 1917.

Cecil was the son of Peter L’Heureux and Ellen (Nellie) O’Hara of Port Arthur, Ontario. Peter, a railway engineer, was from Quebec and his wife was born in Ontario to Irish parents. They were married in 1886 in Brandon, Manitoba and their first child, Marie Louise, was born in Brandon in 1887. Not long after that the family moved to Rat Portage (now called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. At least six more children were born there: Elena, Wilfred, Cecil (born 11 November 1894), Eva, Frank and Helen. They were still living in Rat Portage for the 1901 census but by 1911 they had moved to Port Arthur. Cecil’s brother Wilfred played amateur hockey in Port Arthur and in the 1920s his team won the Allan Cup several times.

By the fall of 1915 the war was in its second year and Cecil enlisted that winter, signing up in Port Arthur on 3 January 1916. He was a pharmacy student at the time and he joined the 94th Overseas Battalion, a local unit that was being raised in towns throughout northwestern Ontario. The recruits left for Quebec in early June and spent a short time at Valcartier, a military camp near Quebec City, before embarking from Halifax on 28 June on the SS Olympic. In England the men were absorbed into reserve battalions to be used as reinforcements for other units.

Cecil was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion on 17 July and six weeks later he was sent to France. He was attached to the 5th Battalion and he joined them in the field in mid-September. Just a few days later they moved to Albert and on 26 September they took part in the Battle of Thiepval Ridge. Over the next two days the 5th Battalion suffered about 380 casualties. Cecil was one of the wounded, with a shell or gunshot wound to his shoulder. He was admitted to No. 25 General Hospital in Hardelot on 27 September then transferred to a convalescent depot in Boulogne nine days later. After a month there and a short time at a rest camp he rejoined his unit in mid-November.

By late 1916 the Canadians had left the Somme and moved north to the Lens-Arras area, across from Vimy. The 5th Battalion formed work parties to repair trenches and on 4 December they started a rotation in the front and support lines. Cecil was wounded on 5 December, this time suffering a broken right arm (humerus). He was admitted to No. 13 General Hospital in Boulogne then evacuated to England on 16 December on the hospital ship St. Denis. He spent five months at Cornelia Hospital in Poole, Dorset followed by three months at Granville Special Hospital (orthopaedic) in Ramsgate.

In August 1917 Cecil was moved to Lord Derby War Hospital in Warrington and a medical board decided he should be invalided to Canada for further treatment, as his arm had not healed properly. He embarked from Liverpool on the Llandovery Castle on 19 September, arriving in Halifax ten days later. From 24 October to 21 December he was a patient at the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital and the Winnipeg General Hospital. He was discharged from service on 25 February 1918, due to being medically unfit.

In August 1918 Cecil returned to the College of Pharmacy in Toronto to resume his studies. After graduating he moved to Bateman, Saskatchewan where he was the proprietor of Bateman Pharmacy. He was married in the neighbouring town of Gravelbourg on 3 September 1924. His wife, Annie Marie Mehlhoff, was the daughter of John and Louisa Mehlhoff of Gravelbourg. John was from Russia and his wife was born in the U.S. to Russian parents. Annie was also born in the U.S. and her family had moved to Canada when she was a baby.

Cecil and Annie had two daughters, Constance (1925) and Patricia June (1933). Cecil had a long career as a pharmacist and by 1940 he and his family had settled in Toronto. He was still working in 1965 and they were living on Glenellen Drive East in Etobicoke. His daughter Constance (Mrs. Walter Desrochers) was also living in the Toronto area. She had a career in pharmacy like her father and she was the first female pharmacist in southern Ontario. Patricia (Mrs. Bruce Bellingham) studied music at the University of Toronto and became pianist and a professor of piano and music history. She moved to Connecticut and taught at a university there.

Cecil passed away at St. Joseph Hospital in Toronto on 16 March 1969, at age 74. His funeral was held at St. James Church two days later and he’s buried in Mount Peace Cemetery in Mississauga. Patricia died in Connecticut in 1999 and she’s buried in Coventry Cemetery. Constance had moved to Saskatoon and Annie passed away in Saskatoon in 2005, at age 98. She’s buried at Hillside Memorial Gardens and Cecil is remembered on her grave marker. Constance died in Rosthern, Saskatchewan in 2015.

By Becky Johnson

Annie’s grave marker photo courtesy of CanadianHeadstones.com


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