Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 30, 1894
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAlfred LaRocque, brother, Fort Frances, Ontario
Trade / CallingLumber Jack, Farmer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number439123/475127
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Canadian Divisional Train
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMarch 29, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 11, 1962
Age at Death67
Buried AtSacred Heart Cemetery, Sioux Lookout, Ontario

LaRocque, Hillary Ulric

Hillary Ulric LaRocque was born on 30 January 1894 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His parents Augustin LaRocque and Henriette Boivin had married on 14 April 1873 in Ottawa. Augustin had previously married Marie Clare Rochon in St Eustache in 1866 but sadly she died in 1872 in Ottawa, the couple childless. Augustin and Henriette lived in Ottawa for a number of years where they gave birth to children Emery (1874-1954), Alfred (1877-1965), Leonie (abt 1879), and Alexina (1881-1958). After the birth of Alexina the family moved to Winnipeg and gave birth to children Archibald (Archie) (1883-1935), Ferdinand (1885-1965), and Joseph Adolphus (1887-1970). By the time of the birth of their next child Albert (1890-1956) the family had relocated to Rat Portage where Augustin found work as a labourer. Other children born in Rat Portage were Dorothee (1892-1939) and Hillary. By the 1901 census the family was farming in the area of Pinewood near the US border between Rainy River and Emo. As the children grew the family scattered with some staying in Pinewood. The 1911 census found Augustin and Henriette in Selkirk, Manitoba where Augustin was running a general store although Henriette returned to Pinewood at some point after Augustin’s death in 1913 in St Boniface, Manitoba.

Hillary signed his first set of attestation papers on 29 March 1915 in Fort Frances with the 52nd Battalion. His occupation was given as lumber jack and his brother Albert in Fort Frances as next of kin. However just days later in Port Arthur Hillary was found to be medically unfit and was discharged from service on 15 April. That August he signed his second set of attestation papers in Winnipeg on the 7th, giving his occupation as farmer and his mother Henriette in Pinewood as next of kin. Hillary was very tall for the day, standing at over 6 feet.

With a draft to the 8th Battalion that had arrived in France in February of 1915, Hillary arrived in England in early September, taken on strength with the 11th Reserve Battalion. After spending most of February of 1916 in the Military Hospital at Shorncliffe (vdg), in early April he embarked for France to serve with the 3rd Canadian Divisional Train, Canadian Army Service Corps, attached as a Driver to the 9th Canadian Field Ambulance. That December Hillary was sentenced to 4 days extra fatigue and forfeited 4 days pay for being absent from fatigue while on active service for 1 1/2 hours. He was granted two fourteen day leaves to Paris in 1917, one in May and the other in December. In May of 1918 he was sentenced to 5 days Field Punishment No1 for when on active service not complying with an order. In mid November Hillary was admitted to the No 26 General Hospital in Etaples, suffering an accidental contused back and dislocated clavicle. Later that month he was transferred to the No 10 Convalescent Depot in Ecault with discharge on 5 December. With the end of the war Hillary returned to England in March of 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Mauretania on 3 May. He was discharged from service on 13 May in Winnipeg.

Hillary’s brother Adolphus¬†enlisted with the 141st Battalion in Fort Frances in January of 1916 and served in Europe with the 8th Battalion, returning to Canada in May of 1919.

On 23 September 1919 in Fort Garry (now a suburb in Winnipeg), Hillary married Helene Anastasia Gosselin. Born on 19 March 1899 in Richot, Manitoba, Helene was the daughter of Joseph Gosselin and Marie Nault who had married in 1885 in Cartier, Manitoba. The 1921 census found the couple living in Sprague, Manitoba where Hillary was working in a general store. The couple adopted a daughter, Alice Mary. According to a border crossing card, in 1930 the family was living in Seven Sisters Falls in Manitoba where Hillary was working as a contractor. However the marriage failed, with Helene and Alice moving to British Columbia where Helene, with the surname of Lund, died in May of 1978 in Vancouver.

Hillary eventually ended up in Thunder Bay where he married Frances Ibey. Born on 7 June 1907 in Fort William, Frances was the daughter of Patrick and Alexina (Perrier) Madigan. She had previously been married to Leonard Ibey and had five children, George, Donald, Lloyd, William, and Frances. Voters lists showed the couple living in Port Arthur where Hillary drove taxi. After the death of Frances in 1958 Hillary moved to the Sioux Lookout/Hudson area in northwestern Ontario where he drove taxi for a living. Sadly, along with a passenger, Hillary was killed in an accident while driving taxi just west of Sioux Lookout on 11 January 1962 when the taxi hit a stalled pulp truck. At the time of his death Hillary was survived by brothers Alfred and Adolphus in Vancouver and Ferdinand in Hurkett, Ontario, a small community northeast of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior. He was also survived by his daughter Alice Mitchell in British Columbia. Hillary is interred in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Sioux Lookout.

by Judy Stockham

LaRocque-Hilary-2 Larocque-Hillary-3

gravemarker photograph courtesy of Karen Costello, Sioux Lookout


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