Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 19, 1867
Place of BirthSt-Philippe, Quebec
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGédéon Robert (father), St-Philippe, Quebec
Trade / CallingCarpenter
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number199165
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion30th Reserve Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentRedditt, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 13, 1916
Age at Enlistment49
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Robert, Joseph

Private Joseph Robert enlisted in Kenora, Ontario in March 1916, at age 49. He served overseas in Great Britain for three months and was discharged for medical reasons in November 1916.

Joseph and his twin sister Marie Alexina were born on 19 February 1867 in the parish of St-Philippe, Quebec. Their parents were Gédéon Robert, a farmer, and Henriette Aubry (Aubril). Gédéon and Henriette were married in St-Philippe in 1860 and they had at least one other daughter and five more sons: Marie Henriette, Elzéar, Philippe, Firmus, Alphonse and Joseph Wilfred. Marie Alexina  died at age six months, Marie Henriette at age two and Joseph Wilfred at age one. They are all buried at St-Philippe.

Joseph was married on 22 January 1889 in the parish of St-Constant, La Prairie County, Quebec. His wife, Rose Anna Barbeau, was born in St-Constant on 9 November 1870, the daughter of Médérie Barbeau and Délia Veau. The communities of St-Philippe and St-Constant are on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, directly across from Montreal. Joseph and his wife settled in Montreal where he worked as a carpenter. Between 1890 and 1909 they had twelve children: Gédéon, Joseph Orphie, Délima, Marie Anne (died as an infant), Alberta, Ulric, Délia, Léon, Léona, Géraldine, Armand and Joseph Wilfred. Sadly, Rose Anna died on 25 May 1909 and the youngest child, Joseph Wilfred, died four months later.

Joseph married again on 28 March 1910 in the parish of St-Zotique, Montreal. His second wife, Marie Hélenda Labrosse (née Brunet), was born in 1870, the daughter of Alexandre Brunet and Marie-Louise Gerard. She was married in 1889 and her husband Bruno Labrosse passed away in Montreal in 1906. When the 1911 census was taken Joseph and Hélenda were living in St-Paul, Montreal. The household included his ten surviving children and five of Hélenda’s children, who were aged 8 to 20: Antoinette, Antoine, Wilfred, Aimé and René Labrosse. Sometime after this the marriage ended and when Joseph enlisted he was living in northwestern Ontario.

By the fall of 1915 the war was in its second year and Joseph signed up in Kenora, Ontario on 13 March 1916. His occupation was carpenter and his address was Redditt, a small village north of Kenora. He was 49 years old but he passed himself off as 44, and when he had his medical he was found fit for service. He joined the 94th Battalion, which was based in Port Arthur and recruited in towns throughout northwestern Ontario. The Kenora lads headed to Port Arthur on 25 May and left for the east coast on 9 June. They spent a short time at the military camp in Valcartier, Quebec before sailing from Halifax on 28 June on the SS Olympic. They disembarked at Liverpool about eight days later.

A week after arriving in England Joseph was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then, at the end of August, to the 30th Reserve Battalion. A medical exam on 29 September found he was overage and suffering from rheumatism in both legs, a condition he had before enlisting. He was able to perform only light duty. He returned to Canada a few weeks later, arriving in Quebec on 31 October on the Lake Manitoba. He was back in Kenora on 8 November and his official discharge was on 21 November 1916, due to no longer being physically fit for war service.

Joseph may have stayed in the Kenora area for awhile but by the time his war service gratuity cheque was mailed to him in 1919 he had moved. Nothing further is known about his life and his date of death and place of burial have not been found. His father died in 1917 in St-Philippe and his mother in 1929 in St-Mathieu-de-Laprairie.

By Becky Johnson

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