|Date of Birth||February 2, 1883|
|Place of Birth||Plabennec, Finistère|
|Next of Kin||Louis Bernicot, brother, Camper PO, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||18th Reserve Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Camper PO, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||June 18, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||35|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 11, 1970|
|Age at Death||87|
|Buried At||Northway Cemetery, Sioux Lookout, Ontario|
Yves Marie Bernicot was born on 2 February 1883 in Villaric, Plabennec, Finistère, in northwestern France. His parents were Louis Bernicot who was from Plabennec and Marie Anne Kerbrat who was from Guisseny, also in Finistère. The couple married on 30 January 1864 in Plabennec. Yves’ known siblings were Marie Francoise (1867-1869), Jean (1869), Jean Louis Marie (1876), Jean Francois Marie (1880), Gabriel Francois (1880-1881), Anne Marie (1885), and Marie Jean (1889). Two other children had also been born that were stillborn or died shortly after birth (1874 and 1877). Yves’ mother died in 1902 and his father in 1905, both in Plabennec.
Yves immigrated to Canada in 1906, found working as a hired hand for the Collet family in Rathwell, Manitoba at the time of the census. His siblings Louis, Francois, Anne Marie, and Marie Jeanne immigrated in May of 1907, arriving in Montreal on the 25th aboard the Pomeranian. Along with other families from the same area of France, including Kerbrats, they all settled in the Camper, Manitoba area just south of Ashern in the Interlake Region. Paying the required $10, Louis, Francois, and Yves all applied for homesteads at some point after arrival while the girls married French speaking immigrant farmers. To make ends meet Yves also worked as a fisherman during the winters.
With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, Yves signed his conscription papers on 18 June 1918 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as farmer, his address as the Camper post office, and his brother Louis in Camper as next of kin. With a draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, he arrived in England aboard the Nellore on 15 August, taken on strength with the 11th Reserve Battalion. In January of 1919 he was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion. In May Yves arrived in France to serve with the Canadian War Graves Detachment. He returned to England in July and embarked for Canada aboard the Saturnia on the 25th. Yves was discharged from service on 9 August 1919 in Winnipeg.
Yves’ brother Jean Francois enlisted on 1 April 1915 in Ashern, going overseas with the 108th battalion and later transferring to the 43rd Battalion. He was reported as killed in action on 8 August 1918 and is interred in the Hourges Orchard Cemetery, Domart-Sur-La-Luce, France. His medals and decorations were later sent to Yves and plaque and scroll to his brother Louis.
After the war Yves returned to his farm near Camper. Along with friend and neighbour Francois Salou who was originally from the same general part of France as the Bernicots, Yves moved to the Kenora area in 1924 where they both found work at the Indian Residential School. According to a later newspaper report the men had come to the area to make some money to buy equipment for their farms back in Manitoba. On 5 November 1924, in Kenora, Yves married Agnes Parenteau. Born about 1905, Agnes was the daughter of Severe Parenteau and Mary Pitchenese. Her father was a trapper and the family lived on Parenteau Island on Wabigoon Lake about 150 kilometres east of Kenora. Best man at the wedding was Francois, both men having courted Agnes. The next year, on 12 February 1925, Francois shot Yves in the jaw, shot and killed the assistant superintendent at the school thinking he was Yves, and then turned the gun on himself. Surviving the wounding, Yves was admitted to St Joseph Hospital in Kenora.
A 1935 Voters list place Yves and Agnes in Wabigoon where Yves was working as a fisherman. They eventually made Sioux Lookout their home, a community about 75 kilometres northeast of Wabigoon where Yves found work at Farlinger’s lumber mill where he was in charge of the horses and the barn. The couple had three known children, Jean Paul, Victor, and Thomas. Jean Paul served during WW2, details of his service unknown.
Yves died on 11 March 1970 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was predeceased by his son Jean Paul (1965) and his wife Agnes in July of 1968. Ives is interred in the Northway Cemetery while Agnes is in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, both in Sioux Lookout.
By Judy Stockham
Research on the Bernicot family in France: courtesy of Joël Flottat
Photo of St Mary’s Indian Residential School: Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
Family photos: courtesy of Yves’ son Tom
Gravemarker photos: courtesy of Karen Costello
Sioux Lookout obituary: courtesy of the Sioux Lookout Public Library