|Date of Birth||August 9, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||mother, Florida Degagne of 34 Valade St., St. Boniface, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||chauffeur and office clerk|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||34 Valade St., St. Boniface, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||December 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 3, 1953|
|Age at Death||59|
|Buried At||St. Boniface Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Pierre Emile (Pete) Degagne was born on 09 August 1894 in Rat Portage (now Kenora), Ontario. His parents were Pierre George Degagne and Florida Charron. Siblings included: George (1893-1970), Joseph (1896-1966), Leo (b. 1897), Maria (1899-1899), Albert (1901-1901), Ida (1902-1903), Flora (b. 1904) and Clovis (1906-1915). The 1911 census shows the family living in the neighboring town of Keewatin where Pierre was working as a boat builder.
By 1916 the Degagne family had moved to St. Boniface, Manitoba. Pete was working as clerk in The Blue Store on Main Street, Winnipeg. He enlisted with the 230th Forestry Battalion on 12 December 1916 – just days after his father and older brother, George, had signed up with the same battalion. They all sailed to England aboard the S.S. Scandinavian arriving on 06 February 1917.
On 09 May 1917 Pete was attached to the Canadian Forestry Corps and posted to No. 2 District in Carlisle. The Canadian Forestry Corps provided lumber for the Allied war effort by cutting and preparing timber in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe. Forestry units also cleared terrain for the construction of installations such as airfields and runway, prepared railway ties, as well as lumber for the creation of barracks, road surfaces, ammunition crates, trench construction, etc.
In July of 1918, Pete was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps and posted to the Canadian Engineers Motor Transport Company in France. He served there until May of 1919 when he returned to England. On 07 June 1919 Pete sailed for Canada. His official discharge from the Military Transport Company came on 22 June 1919 at Halifax and was due to demobilization.
Pete returned to St. Boniface and on 20 October 1919 he married Marie Lapointe. (Note: marriage records at Manitoba Vital Statistics have his name recorded as “Joseph Pierre Degagne” and Marie’s name as “Mary R. Delima Lapointe”). For 18 years he was parts and service manager for General Motors Corporation in Montreal and later became western manager of Chrysler Corporation with headquarters in Winnipeg. In 1947 he founded his own business, De Gagne Motors, St. Boniface. According to his obituary, Pete served as Major with the Army Ordinance Corps during WW2.
While holidaying in the east, Pierre Emile (Pete) De Gagne died on 3 December 1953 in Hamilton, Ontario. His wife predeceased him by several months as she passed away on 26 August 1953. At the time of his death he was survived by his brothers George, Joseph, and Leo, and sister Flora (David) Tafe. Along with his wife he is buried in St. Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg. (Note: Emile’s service record states his death date as 03 January 1954)
Gravemarker photo: Albert Riezebos, Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project