|Date of Birth||March 18, 1893|
|Place of Birth||St Clements, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Mary Hourie, mother, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||July 28, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 8, 1918|
|Age at Death||25|
|Buried At||Hourges Orchard Cemetery, Domart-Sur-La-Luce, France|
Roderick Hourie was born on 18 March 1893 in St Clements, Manitoba. His parents were George and Mary Ellen (née Calder) Hourie. The couple had married 17 February 1892 in Selkirk, Manitoba. Roderick had four known siblings, Mabel, Florence, George, and Henry who died in infancy. The 1901 Canada census found the family living in Selkirk, with George working as a teamster. The family was listed as Cree or part Cree in racial/tribal origin. George Sr died on 7 March 1902 and at some point after that family members moved to Kenora, Ontario. Mary Ellen and Florence were found in Kenora in the 1911 Canada census, working at a local hotel.
On 28 July 1915 Roderick Hourie enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, giving his mother Mary Ellen as next of kin. Standing 5 feet, 8 inches, his occupation was given as teamster. Based in Brandon, Manitoba, the 79th Battalion, CEF had begun recruiting during the summer of 1915 and it was with this battalion that Private Roderick Hourie embarked from Canada on 24 April 1916 aboard the Lapland. On 28 June he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion, taken on strength the next day in the field in France.
Roderick suffered numerous health problems over the course of his service. During training camp in Brandon he received medical attention for a sprained knee, colds, and conjunctivitis. Once overseas he was first admitted to No 39 General Hospital in Havre for an undetermined illness followed by another hospital admission in Etaples in April of 1917 for pyrexia of unknown origin. Diagnosed with myalgia, throughout 1917 he was in numerous hospitals in England, Buxton, Bristol, Dibgate, Wokingham, and London. Recovery slow and difficult, it was not until April 1918 that Roderick rejoined the 43rd Battalion in the field.
‘From 8 August 1918 until the Armistice, the 43rd took part in several battles, slowly pushing the German Army back. The first of these was at Amiens. During the early morning hours of 8 August, the battalion attacked Dodo Wood which lay just south of the Amiens-Roye Road. At 4:20 AM, the protective barrage began and the 43rd began moving out of their assembly trench. However, a minute later, a German counter-barrage hit and there were many casualties. Even so, the men moved forward. Company had a stiff fight up the hill towards the wood but were successful in capturing it, along with 20 trench mortars, 35-40 machine guns, and 267 prisoners.’ (cameronhighlanderscanada.com)
It was during this battle that Private Roderick Hourie was reported as killed in action. From the CEF burial register for Roderick: ‘Killed in Action’ He was killed while taking part with his Unit in operations near Dodo Wood, in front of Dumart, but no details are available relative to the actual circumstances under which he met his death. From the War Diary for the 43rd Battalion, 8 August 1918: Zero hour was 4:20 a.m. and ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ companies were all in or near Dodo Wood. Casualties reported by the 43rd were 19 killed, 122 wounded, 48 missing. Roderick Hourie is interred in the Hourges Orchard Cemetery in Domart-Sur-La-Luce Cemetery, Somme, France.
Roderick’s mother Mary Ellen died on 19 November 1929 in Kenora, death reported by son-in-law James DC Smith. She is interred in St Clements, Manitoba. Roderick’s sister Florence had married James Dudley Cheyne Smith on 26 December 1914. James was involved in the lumber business as well as mining operations. In later life he held the office of mining recorder and crown land agent in Kenora. Florence and James had at least one child, daughter Helen. Roderick’s brother George signed recruitment papers twice in Winnipeg, once on 11 November 1917 (date of 27 February 1918 scratched out and replaced by November date), discharged in April 1918, and then again on 28 May 1918. It is not known if he actually served. George died on 17 May 1934 in The Pas, Manitoba. No records could be found for sister Mabel.
Private Roderick Hourie is commemorated on page 432 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Selkirk Cenotaph in the Veterans Memorial Gardens in Selkirk, on the National Métis Veterans’ Memorial Monument and on the Aborignal Veterans Tribute Honour List.
by Judy Stockham