|Date of Birth||August 30, 1899|
|Place of Birth||Norman, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John Milliard, father, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Chauffeur|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||34 Valade Street, St Boniface, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||December 27, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 14, 1974|
|Age at Death||74|
|Buried At||Forest Lawn Cemetery, Rainy River, Ontario|
Joseph Rene Milliard was born on 30 August 1899 in Norman, Ontario. His parents Joseph Jean and Marie (née Lebel) Milliard were both originally from the Kamouraska area in Quebec. The couple had married 2 July 1889 in Rat Portage (later named Kenora), Ontario. Eventually moving to nearby Keewatin, the family grew. Children included Rose Alma (1894-1929), John (1897-1977), Rene, Alfred Louis (1901-1936), Albert Horace (1906-1977) and Mary Lisa (1910-abt 1910). Over the years Rene’s father worked in a lumber yard and then later as a carpenter.
Although underage, Rennie Milliard signed his attestation papers on 27 December 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a Private with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 230th Battalion, he left Halifax on 26 January 1917 aboard the Grampian, arriving at Plymouth, England on 6 February. Upon arrival the 230th was absorbed into the Canadian Forestry Corps for service in England and France, with Rene arriving in France on the 19th for service with the No 10 Company, CFC. ‘The Canadian Forestry Corps provided lumber for the Allied war effort by cutting and preparing timber in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe in both the First World War and the Second World War. Forestry units also cleared terrain for the construction of installations such as airfields and runway, prepared railway ties, as well as lumber for the creation of barracks, road surfaces, ammunition crates, trench construction, etc. These units were sometimes called on in the First World War to perform as infantry.’ (canadiansoldiers.com)
Having reoccurring appendicitis attacks classified as severe, Rennie was first admitted to the No 36 Canadian Field Ambulance on 24 March 1917, on to the No 6 Stationary Hospital in Frevent, and by the 30th he was at the No 22 General Hospital in Camiers. He was invalided to England in late April, admitted to the King George Hospital in London before transferring to a couple of convalescent hospitals. Rene was eventually returned to service in late August, posted to No 51 District, CFC (Inverness, Scotland) in late October and then on to No 55 District, 109 Company (Stirling, Scotland) in mid November where he was to stay for the duration of the war. Returning to England in late March of 1919, he arrived back in Canada aboard the Celtic on 15 May. Rene was discharged from service by reason of demobilization on 19 May 1919 in Winnipeg.
Once home, Rene moved to Rainy River and on 17 January 1928, married Annie Borsk, daughter of Austrian immigrants Semko (Sam) Borsk (Borszcz) and Frances (Francski) Skawinska (Skawiski). Their first child Alfred Ray Clement Milliard was born premature on 23 November 1929 and died two days later. The couple went on to have two more sons, Joseph Ronald and Patrick John. Over the years Rene, later going by the forename of Roy, worked for the Canadian National Railway, eventually retiring as conductor.
Predeceased by his father (1927) and mother (1958) and some of his siblings, Roy died on 14 May 1974 at his home in Rainy River. Along with his wife Anna, he is interred in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Rainy River. His brother John served with the 52nd Battalion during the latter part of the war. The two brothers were honoured in a celebration by the town of Keewatin in August of 1919, presented with medals and badges for their service during the war. Their names are also on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque.
By Judy Stockham
Grave marker photo: Gravemarker Gallery
Obituary provided by the Rainy River Public Library
Other forenames/spellings used include Rennie and Roy and they are spelled a such for the appropriate times that they were used.