|Date of Birth||August 7, 1876|
|Place of Birth||Joliette, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Mrs P Charest, friend, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||December 2, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||39|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 20, 1957|
|Age at Death||81|
|Buried At||St Boniface Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
According to his attestation papers, Peter Lapierre was born on 10 May 1884 in Montreal, Quebec. However by all accounts it is more than likely that he was Joseph Delphis Lapierre who was born on 7 August 1876 in Joliette, Quebec. His parents Benjamin Lapierre and Marguerite Marineau (Austin dit Marineau) married on 28 August 1866 in St-Guillaume-d`Upton, Québec. A boulanger (baker), Benjamin and Marguerite gave birth to son Adelard the next year in Joliette before moving across the St Lawrence to Pierreville where they gave birth to Corinne (1869) and Josephine (1871). After moving to back to Joliette, Delphis was born followed by Marie Anne (1878), Marie Angelina (1881), and Marie Marguerite Virginie (1884). By the time of the 1900 US census Delphis, his parents, and a couple of his sisters were living in Thompson, Windham, Connecticut. His sisters were threaders in one of the local mills while Delphis was working as a day labourer. From there the family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts to work in the mills in the area. On 3 January 1906, in New Bedford, Delphis married Rose Tetreault. Born on 26 March 1871 in St Sebastien, Quebec, Rose was the daughter of Benjamin and Adelaide Tetreault. Along with her family she had immigrated to New Bedford as a young child. It appears that the marriage did not last although Rose remained in New Bedford. Delphis’ mother died in 1908 and his father in 1921, both in New Bedford.
With a change in forename, Peter was living in Keewatin, Ontario when he signed his attestation papers with the 94th Battalion on 2 December 1915 in nearby Kenora. His occupation was given as labourer although elsewhere in his service record it was noted that he was a lumberman and bricklayer. He gave his next of kin as friend Mrs P Charest of Kenora. Along with a number of fellows from Keewatin and Kenora, Peter left Kenora for training in Port Arthur in late May of 1916, with a crowd gathering to see the train off. As a Private with the battalion, Peter embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 June.
Once in England Peter was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 43rd Battalion, embarking for France on 24 August. While in Le Harve Peter was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No 1 and forfeited all ordinary pay for 21 days for drunkeness and possessing a bottle of liquor. In February of 1917 Peter was admitted the No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance with asthenopia, discharged the same day. Early that March he was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No 1 and forfeited 21 days pay for ‘when on active service drunk’. Later that month he forfeited 2 days pay for losing by neglect equipment. In early July Peter was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No 1 for being absent without leave and forfeited 3 days, sent to APM (Assistant Provost Marshall) Cage. He rejoined the unit on 18 July. In October he forfeited 10 days pay and in early November 4 days pay and sentenced 28 day Field Punishment No 1, both times for being absent without leave. In December Peter was admitted to the No 24 General Hospital in Г‰taples for Retinitis Pigmentosa, defective vision. He was invalided sick to England and admitted to Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital and/or Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital, Millbank. On 15 January 1918 January Peter was transferred to Bearwood Convalescent Hospital, discharged the 29th. It was noted in his file that he had been sent to England ‘as useless for duties as a soldier’ and unfortunately it was found that his defective vision that had its onset since 1897 could not be improved with glasses. He embarked from Liverpool for Canada on 23 February and was discharged from service as medically unfit on 4 April 1918 in Winnipeg.
Once back in Canada Peter returned to the Keewatin/Kenora area. According to his service record by 1921 he was living in Vonda, Saskatchewan but was to eventually make Winnipeg his home. On 27 July 1932, in Winnipeg, Peter, forename given as Pierre, married widow Anna Clement. Born in 1875 in St Jerome, Quebec, Anna was the daughter of Zotique Clement and Eliza Belanger. Her family had moved to Manitoba where she married Stanislas Gariepy in 1895. Stanislas died in 1930 in the Rm of St Rose where they had been living. A 1935 Voters List found the couple living on Hargrave Avenue in Winnipeg, Peter listed as retired. Anna died on 12 September 1939 in St Boniface. In early August of 1943 Peter was taken to the Winnipeg General Hospital. His landlady where he was living on Smith Street, smelling gas, had found Peter on the floor of his apartment, the burners on the gas stove having been left on. A newspaper article about the incident noted that he was a blind war pensioner. A 1957 Voters List noted Pierre Lapierre, retired, as living in St Boniface.
Peter Lapierre died on 20 October 1957. His Veteran Death card listed his next of kin as friend Mr Jerry Vulfaure of Norwood. Peter is interred in the St Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg, age of death given as 81 on his gravemarker. He is commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque and on a Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour Plaque, both now housed at the Lake of the Woods Museum in Kenora. A demonstration was held in Keewatin in August of 1919 to honour those who had served during the war. The mayor presented badges and medals to the veterans and to the families of the fallen, with Peter’s name on the list of those honoured as published in the Kenora Miner and News.
By Judy Stockham
Gravemarker photo: courtesy of Donald Schmidt, findagrave.com