|Date of Birth||August 1, 1899|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Horace Carpentier (father), Marchand, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Rainy River, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Marchand, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||February 14, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 5, 1965|
|Age at Death||65|
|Buried At||St. Boniface Roman Catholic Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Private George Gabriel Carpentier of Marchand, Manitoba enlisted in February 1917 at age 17. He served for eighteen months in England then spent three months in France and Belgium with the 52nd Battalion, returning to Canada in March 1919.
Gabriel was the oldest son of Horace Carpentier and Marie Philomene Gosselin. Horace and Marie were married in the RM of La Broquerie, Manitoba in 1897 and a short time later they moved to the town of Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario. Gabriel was born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) on 1 August 1899. While he was growing up his family lived in Rat Portage, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan before settling in Marchand around 1911. Gabriel had at least four sisters (Sarah, Irene, Dallas and Louise) and three brothers (Horace, Richard and Wilfred). Another boy died as an infant.
In August 1916 Gabriel turned 17 just as the war entered its third year. A few months later he went to Rainy River, Ontario where he enlisted with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. He signed up on 14 February 1917, passing himself off as 18 years old which was the minimum age for recruits at the time. He was employed as a labourer with his residence listed as Marchand, but he may have been working in the Rainy River area. Another lad from Marchand, 20-year-old Albert Morand, enlisted in Rainy River the same day and they were likely friends who had travelled there together. Albert was one of the witnesses on Gabriel’s military will, dated 21 February 1917. The two lads were sent to Port Arthur where the 141st Battalion was training and on 20 April the recruits headed to the east coast. They embarked from Halifax on the SS Olympic at the end of the month and arrived in Liverpool nine days later.
-Gabriel was assigned to the 18th Reserve Battalion on 7 May 1917
-in December his correct age was discovered and he was transferred to the Young Soldiers’ Battalion, based at Bramshott Camp
-in March 1918 he spent three weeks at the School of Instruction in Chelsea, London
-in August 1918 Gabriel turned 19, which was old enough to serve at the front
-he was posted to the 18th Reserve Battalion in October
-he was transferred to the 52nd Battalion on 8 November and sent to France
-the Armistice ended hostilities on 11 November
-the 52nd Battalion was in Belgium at the time and they stayed there for another three months, until 5 February 1919
-the battalion embarked from Le Havre, France on 10 February
-the men were sent to Bramshott Camp and most of them were immediately given leave
-they embarked for Canada on the SS Olympic on 17 March
When the 52nd Battalion arrived back in Port Arthur, Ontario there was a huge homecoming celebration for them and the unit was demobilized there at the end of March. Gabriel returned to Marchand and at the time of the 1921 census he was living with his parents and working as a railroad labourer. On 20 September 1921 he married 17-year-old Eva Jeanne Cougnon in the RM of La Broquerie. Eva was born in France and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1907, when she was three years old. Gabriel and Eva made their home in Marchand and in Winnipeg and they raised five children, sons George, Maurice and Achille, and daughters Louise and Eva. Gabriel worked for the CNR and he was a member of the Canadian Legion and president of the CNR War Veterans Association. He retired in February 1964 and passed away in Winnipeg on 5 February 1965, at age 65. His wife Eva died in 2002, at age 98, and they are both buried in St. Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg.
By Becky Johnson