|Date of Birth||November 25, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs H Billedeau, mother, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Student|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Canadian Mounted Rifles|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||September 21, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 30, 1959|
|Age at Death||62|
|Buried At||Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, British Columbia|
Born on 11 November 1897 in Keewatin, Ontario, Hector George Albert was the son of Hormidas Bilodeau/Billedeau (b Beauharnois St Clement, Quebec) and Sarah Pelletier/Pelchie (b Aroostook Junction, Victoria, New Brunswick) who had married 5 November 1893 in Keewatin. The Billedeaus (most common spelling used) had a large family, and Albert’s siblings included Addie May, Marie Josephine Dilima Adelina, Hormidas Joseph (also served), Jerome William (also served), Joseph Archibald, Garfield, Elizabeth, Ernest Joseph, Florence Jane Mae, and Evelyn Elvina. The family was found in the 1901 census living in Keewatin, occupation of his father listed as general labourer. In the 1911 census the family was also in Keewatin on 8th Street, occupation of father given as mail carrier and souper, employed at the flour mill.
At only age 17, Albert Billedeau enlisted on 21 September 1915 in Kenora, occupation given as student and signing his signature as Albert Billedau. Albert left Keewatin for Camp Sewell located near Brandon, Manitoba to train with the 79th Battalion while waiting to go overseas. The 79th Battalion had been raised in Brandon and recruiting had begun during the summer of 1915. According to a newspaper report of 22 April 1916, a large crowd of family and friends of the local men with the 79th Battalion, gathered at the train station in the wee small hours of the morning to wish the fellows well as they passed through on their first leg of the journey to the front.
With the 79th battalion, Private Albert Billedeau embarked from Halifax aboard the SS Lapland on 24 April 1916. Once overseas, he attended Brigade Grenade School at East Sandling, and then along with a number of other lads from the 79th, Albert was transferred to the First Canadian Mounted Rifles in June. Also raised in Brandon, the First Canadian Mounted Rifles had left Montreal for overseas on 12 June 1915 and arrived in France 22 September 1915. The 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles were involved in many major battles: Mount Sorrel, Somme in 1916, Fleurs-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Arras 1917, 1918, Vimy 1917, Hill 70, Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Amiens, Scarpe 1918, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Cambrai 1918.
Landing in France on 7 June 1916, Albert arrived to the unit for duty two days later. In late January of 1917 he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge in the field. From 18 May until 24 July 1917 he served with the 7th Field Company of the Canadian Engineers. Shortly after returning to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, Albert was granted a 10 day leave to Paris in August. Rejoining the unit from his leave, Albert became ill with tonsillitis in October, admitted to the No 9 Canadian Field Ambulance, then the No 42 Casualty Clearing Station and by the 17th, to the No 10 General Hospital in Rouen. A few days later he was on his way to the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England. In late November Albert was transferred to the Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Wokingham, Berkshire. In late December he was attached to the Canadian Convalescent Depot at Bramshott. After a short stint with the 15th Reserve Battalion, on 11 September 1918 Private Albert Billedeau proceeded overseas for service again with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Returning to England in February, Albert was found on the passenger list of the SS Cretic that arrived back in Canada in Halifax on the 24 March 1919.
After the war, Albert married Olive Constance Pitts, daughter of Albert Walter and Charlotte (Smith) Pitts formerly of Ainwick, Northumberland, England. The marriage took place on 17 October 1919 in Winnipeg. Albert later married Valentine Olerie LeBleu, daughter of Joseph Charles and Marie Pamela (Rougeau) LeBleu, the LeBleu family found on the 1901 census living in Keewatin. Albert had three children: Victor, Raymond, and a daughter, Mrs. R Weiff.
Albert Billedeau died on 30 October 1959 in the Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is interred in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Vancouver. At the time of his death, he was a conductor for the CNR out of Vancouver.
Private Albert Billedeau is commemorated on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour plaque and the Municipality of Keewatin plaque, both housed in the Keewatin Legion. In August of 1919, the municipality of Keewatin held a demonstration to honour their lads that had served, each given a medal and badge. Albert was honoured at the service.
by Judy Stockham
photo of Albert: Herbert Rickards
grave marker photo and obituary: Christi Pelky
Birth year given on attestation papers as 1896, correct year 1897: Archives of Ontario, MS929, reel 139
There were many different spellings used for the surname of this family: Billedeau, Billadeau, Belladeau, Billideau, Bellodeau, Billedan, Bilodeau, Billedau, Billodeau. Albert’s father was baptized as Hormidas Bilodeau.