|Date of Birth||February 2, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||H Billedeau Sr, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Barrel cooper|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 18, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||19|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 2, 1942|
|Age at Death||46|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Born on 2 February 1896 in Keewatin, Ontario and baptized in Kenora, Joseph Hormidas Bilodeau was the first born 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, spelling of surname used most of the time, were a large family and Hormidas’ siblings were Addie May, Marie Josephine Dilima Adelina, Hector George Albert (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. For 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 and Hermidas (spelling used) was a labourer at the saw mill.
Harmidas Billedau (spelling used at the time) enlisted in Kenora 18 February 1915, occupation given as barrel cooper. With brown eyes and light hair, he was only 19 years of age.
‘The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, CEF was raised in Northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its mobilization headquarters at Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario. The Battalion joined the 9th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division on February 23, 1916 and thus began the trial by fire for the men of the north in the trenches of France and Belgium. The battalion sailed from St John 23 November 1915 aboard the SS California, arriving in Plymouth England 3 December 1915. After completing weeks of training, the 52nd joined the 9th brigade in Belgium in February 1916.’ (from the now defunct 52nd Battalion website)
In January of 1916 Harmidas underwent surgery for appendicitis in England, remaining at the Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Wokingham, England and unable to stay with the battalion as it went on to Belgium. He returned to Canada from England on 21 July 1917 aboard the Olympic, his arrival back in Keewatin as reported in the Kenora Miner and News on 28 July 1917.
Harmidas Billedau (spelling used on marriage certificate) married Ida Mongrain, daughter of Alfred and Mary (Perrault) Mongrain of Kenora on 30 September 1915 in Port Arthur, Ontario while training at the 52nd Battalion headquarters. It is not known if they had any children. He died on 2 August 1942 in LaBroquerie, Manitoba as the result of an accident and is interred in the Military section of Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His gravemarker reads Hermide Billedeau.
Lance Corporal Hormidas 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. H Billedeau was honoured at the service.
by Judy Stockham
Research notes: Hormidas’ name is found on the 52nd Battalion website and on the battalion’s Nominal Rolls spelled as Hormidas Billedan. Baptized Joseph Hormidas Bilodeau, there are multiple spellings of his forename in various documents: Harmidas, Hermidas, Hermidos, Hermide, Hormidas as well as for the surname: Billedeau, Billadeau, Belladeau, Billideau, Bellodeau, Billedan, Bilodeau, Billedau. His father was also baptized as Hormidas Bilodeau. A family tree on ancestry, researched and completed by a direct relative, uses the spelling as Hermidas Bilodeau/Billedeau.