|Date of Birth||October 8, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Cartier, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Narcisse Giguere, Keewatin, Ontario (father)|
|Trade / Calling||Carpenter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Forestry Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Swift Current, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Prussia, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||April 6, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 20, 1954|
|Age at Death||66|
|Buried At||St. Mary's Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta|
|Plot||Section K, Block 2, Lot 30|
Birth date and location: Edmond Giguere was born in the RM of Cartier, Manitoba, on October 8, 1887, forenames given as Joseph Narcisse on the Manitoba birth record. His parents, Narcisse and Elzir, both of whom had been born in Quebec, moved their family to Manitoba about 1883 or 1884. Until that time, Narcisse had been a grocer.
According to the 1891 Canadian Census for Manitoba, Edmond’s siblings included Valeda (born Quebec about 1877); Raoul (born Quebec about 1882); Eva (born about 1884); Marie Anne (born about 1886); and, Marie Marthe (born about 1890). The last three children, like Edmond, were all born in Manitoba. The family was of the Roman Catholic faith. Through the ancestry of his paternal great grandmother Morel, Edmond can trace his family back to the early 1700’s in Ste. Anne de Beaupre, Montmorency, Quebec. There are also several generations of the Giguere family associated with this parish.
Early life: According to the obituary of Narcisse, who died March 8, 1932 in Keewatin, the family had moved there in 1898 where Narcisse began working for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. He retired from the mill in 1930 at the age of 76, two years before his death.
At the time of the 1901 census the Giguere family was listed in Keewatin, Narcisse’s occupation given as carpenter and the surname spelled as Gagnie. For the 1911 census Narcisse, Elzir, and daughter Martha were living on Front Street in Keewatin while Edmond was residing in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, name given as Edward Gegure on the census. Living in a boarding house with 4 other men, he was working as a carpenter. There is a record for the marriage of Edmond’s brother, Raoul, in Manitoba in 1904. His oldest sister, ‘Valida’ died on June 10th, 1906, and was buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario. Her obituary is in the Kenora Miner and News. At the time of his enlistment, Edmond had been living in Prussia, Saskatchewan, and was employed as a carpenter. He was single at the time.
War experience: On April 6, 1916, six months before turning 28 years of age, Edmond enlisted with the 212th Battalion in Swift Current and was sent to the Clearing Depot at Camp Hughes, where, on October 15, 1916, he was transferred to No.1 Overseas Training Depot. His Regimental Number was 261164. Edmond was described as being 5 feet, seven inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He had never served in the militia or military prior to this. His father was recorded as next of kin and his mother was the recipient of his pay. His date and place of birth was given as October 8, 1888 in St. Norbert, Manitoba.
Edmond left Canada on December 20, 1916 and arrived in England December 28, 1916, where he was taken on strength at the Canadian Army Service Corps (CASC) Training Depot in Shorncliffe, England (the branch of the military responsible for supplying troops in the field). On May 5, 1917, he was taken on strength with the 15th Reserve Battalion at Bramshott, England where he was stationed for two months. On July 11, 1917, Edmond was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps and was sent to the Base Camp at Sunningdale on July 13 in preparation for embarkation to France.
The role of the Canadian Forestry Corps was to make and prepare items needed such as ‘sitprops’ and ‘sleepers’, saw logs and wooden axe handles. Some also cleared land, and levelled and graded sites for aerodromes in both England and France. Thus, Edmond would have carried out such duties in both countries.
Edmond arrived in LeHavre on July 15th and was taken on strength with the 24th Company but was immediately transferred to the 53rd Company, under the command of Captain C.F. Gillies and was sent into the field; however, there is no evidence of him actually taking part in battle. On November 11, 1917, 53 Company joined with others companies in Bordeaux, France, under the command of Major K. McDougall. Edmond remained with the 53rd throughout the duration of the war and received War Service Badge Class A # 80715.
Edmond remained healthy and received no injuries or wounds that needed to be treated while in service. Departing from Liverpool on the Belgic on February 22, 1919, Edmond arrived in Halifax on March 1, 1919. It appears he travelled to Quebec City arriving on March 3rd where he was honourably discharged on March 18th, due to demobilization. Upon his discharge, Edmond’s plan was to travel to Keewatin; however, an alternate destination mentioned in his Military records was the Peace River District of Alberta where logging and forestry were becoming a huge business.
Life after the war: There are three significant records to which Edmond’s name is attached in Keewatin. In the Kenora Miner and News of August 9, 1919, he is one of many listed as being from Keewatin, who were recognized with war medals. Edmond is also listed on the Keewatin ‘Roll of Honor’ (Edmund Gigure) and on another Municipality of Keewatin Honour Board that hung in the halls of the Keewatin Legion until its closure in 2016. There, he is recorded as E. Gignerre.
Edmond may have briefly returned to Keewatin but according to his later Alberta death record as well as his obituary he was living in the province of Alberta by 1920. He made the Three Hills area (later known as Kneehill #48) his home where he farmed.
At the time of the 1921 census Narcisse and Elzir were living on 10th Street in Keewatin, occupation for Narcisse given as a carpenter at the flour mill. According to the obituaries of both Elzir (1930) and Narcisse (1932), all five children were still alive. The three daughters were all living in Kenora: Mrs. J.E. Charbonneau; Mrs. M. Brin; and Mrs. W.E. Heath. Edmond was recorded as living in Three Hills, Alberta in 1932. Narcisse, Elzir and their daughter Martha, who died in 1969, are all buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario.
A further search shows Edmond’s brother, Raoul and his family were living in Springfield, Municipality of Fort Garry, Manitoba in the 1921 Census. Although there is a picture of Raoul, his wife and their children on ancestry.ca, the owner of that page has not granted permission to use the photo. One of the sons is named Edmond, perhaps in honour of his uncle. Raoul died in 1969.
Death and Burial: Edmond died on April 20, 1954 at the Baker Memorial Sanatorium in Robertson, Alberta, the area now in the city of Calgary. He had been a resident at the sanatorium for just over 19 months. Diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis around 1945, his Alberta death record also gave 1945 as his last year working as a farmer. Ultimately his death was deemed due to congestive heart failure due to heart disease and TB. At the time of his death he was survived by a sister in Kenora and two brothers in Winnipeg. Edmond is interred in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Calgary.
Prepared by Susan [Hillman] Brazeau – in support of the Kenora Great War Project – honouring all who served, remembering those who died.
Sources and resources:
Photographs and other information contributed by a family member and Judy Stockham
Grave marker photograph by SHenley, findagrave.com
Ancestry.ca (Giguere and name variation searches in a variety of records, such as census records, briths, marriages, deaths, voters’ lists, passenger lists, family trees, the Drouin collection, and United States general searches. Two queries were also sent to Giguere family researchers).
Calgary Herald (obituaries)
FamilySearch (general name searches)
Keewatin Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (location of honour rolls)
Kenora Great War Research (search for related tributes)
Kenora Miner and News (obituaries)
Library and Archives Canada (First World War Personnel and Military History records)
MyHeritage (Queries sent to Giguere researchers)
Northern Ontario Grave Marker Gallery (Lake of the Woods Cemetery)