|Date of Birth||May 6, 1898|
|Place of Birth||Jujurieux, Ain, Rhône-Alpes|
|Next of Kin||Mrs François Bernuy, mother, Wauchope, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Telegraph Operator|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Wauchope, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||November 10, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Medal|
|Date of Death||June 20, 1985|
|Age at Death||87|
|Buried At||Saint Regis Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wauchope, Saskatchewan|
Gabriel Eugene Bernuy was born on 6 May 1898 in Jujurieux, Ain, Rhône-Alpes, France. His parents François Bernuy, a grocer, and Josephine Guiguet married on 23 October 1886. Children born to the couple were Noël François Victor (1887), Louis (1889), Jean Marius (John) (1893), Emile Joseph (1894), and Gabriel. Victor was the first to immigrate to Canada, arriving in Montreal on 15 July 1905 aboard the Sardinian. The rest of the family followed in 1906, arriving in Montreal on 15 July 1906 on the Pomeranian, recruited as settlers by a Catholic priest on behalf of the Ottawa government. The family settled in Wauchope, Saskatchewan, a thriving French settlement of the day, now home to only a few families. Shortly after arrival François bought the Wauchope general store and post office.
Gabriel enlisted on 10 November 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With occupation given as telegraph operator, he had recently been working as the agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway at Napinka, Manitoba. He gave his place of birth as Belley, Aisne, France, his home address as Wauchope, and his mother back in Wauchope as next of kin.
As a Sapper with the No 12 Signal Draft to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot, Gabriel arrived in England aboard the Olympic on 19 April 1917, proceeding to the Signal Pool in France in mid July. He served with the 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company, Canadian Engineers for the balance of the war.
‘Visual signalling and telephony were the responsibility of the Signal Service throughout the war. Telegraphy was a function of the Canadian Engineers. The telephone soon became the vital means of communication in France and Belgium and signal companies were increasingly occupied in the laying, maintenance and repair of air lines and cables. Divisional signal companies consisted of a headquarters section, a wireless section and two cable sections. The companies provided telephone and wireless service (including policing and interception) and visual signalling. Each had motorcycle dispatch riders, a pigeon service and personnel for airline and cable construction, electric light and battery charging. They also operated repair shops for mechanical transport and for telephone, telegraph and wireless instruments.’ (Library and Archives Canada)
On 31 August 1918 Gabriel was awarded the Military Medal and on 10 November 1918 he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. Over the course of his service he was granted two leaves, fourteen days to Montefleury in February of 1918 and a ten day special leave to France in February of 1919. With the end of the war, Gabriel embarked for Canada aboard the Scotian on 6 May 1919 and was discharged from service on 19 May in Toronto. His intended residence was given as Wauchope.
Gabriel’s brothers Victor, Louis, and Emile all served during WW1 with the French Army. Victor, a reservist, was called up in March of 1915. He served with the 334th Infantry Regiment of the 66th Division and later with the 19 Squadron Train des Equipages Militaire. Victor died of pneumonia on 2 December 1918 at the Chaumont Hospital Haute-Marne, leaving behind a wife and three small children back in Canada. He is commemorated for his service on the Saint Boniface Cathedral War Memorial in Winnipeg, Manitoba. According to a newspaper article of 1919, Gabriel’s brother Louis was taken prisoner on 13 September 1914 and was repatriated in January of 1919. He returned to Canada for a brief while but by 1920 he was back in France where he worked as a photographer. Louis died in 1947. The article stated that Emile joined the army in November of 1914, transferring from the infantry to the engineers and taking part in the Champagne offensive in September of 1915 and later in defence of Verdun and the Somme. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Emile died in St Adolphe, Manitoba in 1992. A family account said brother Jean attempted to enlist but was turned back. Jean died in 1977 in Los Angeles, California.
After the war Gabriel resumed his career as an agent with the CPR. On 14 December 1920, in Wauchope, he married Marguerite Marie Huybrecht. Born on 7 December 1899 in the RM of Sifton, Manitoba, Marguerite was the daughter of Aristide Huybrecht and Clotilde Buisine. Along with their first child, the couple immigrated to Canada in 1897 from France. They homesteaded in the Pipestone area of Manitoba until moving to Wauchope in 1907 where Aristide became a farm implement dealer and later a co-owner of the lumber yard.
Over the years Gabriel and Marguerite would move a number of times with Gabriel’s work as an agent with the CPR. They lived in Deleau, Bagot, McTavish, and LaSalle in Manitoba before moving to Keewatin, a small town in northwestern Ontario near Kenora in 1954. It appears that the couple did not have any children. After retiring in June of 1963 the couple moved to LaSalle where other family members were living. During winters they travelled south to California and over the years spent summer times at their cottage in St Laurent and later at Blindfold Lake near Kenora.
Gabriel died in a car accident on 20 June 1985 near Carlyle, Saskatchewan, about 28 kilometres west of Wauchope. Also killed in the accident was Gabriel’s nephew, Victor’s son Francis Bernuy. Gabriel was predeceased by his father François in 1930 and his mother Josephine in 1945. Marguerite continued to live in LaSalle where she celebrated her 100th birthday. She died on 11 January 2000 in the Fort Garry Care Centre. Along with many family members, Gabriel and Marguerite are interred in the Saint Regis Catholic Cemetery in Wauchope.
By Judy Stockham
Photographs and information about the family: Precious memories of time : A Salute to the Pioneers of Wauchope and Parkman
Grave marker photographs: Juliann Parsons, Saskatchewan Cemetery Project