|Date of Birth||November 2, 1885|
|Place of Birth||Billé, Ille-et-Vilaine, Fourgeres and Vitre, Brittany|
|Trade / Calling||Priest|
|Service Record||see images below|
|Battalion||8th and 2nd Regiments|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 27, 1963|
|Age at Death||77|
|Buried At||Girouxville Notre Dame de Lourdes Cemetery, Girouxville, Alberta|
Paul Marcel Joseph Marie Serrand was born on 2 November 1885 in Billé, Ille-et-Vilaine, Fourgeres and Vitre, Brittany in France. He was the son of Jean Serrand and Adelaide Dunorand. Following the example of his older brother and attracted to the priesthood, he entered the college of Saint Augustine in Vitre in 1899 and then the grand seminary in Rennes in 1904. Obliged to leave his studies for compulsory military service, Paul served from 7 October 1905 to 18 September 1906. He was promoted to Soldat 2nd Class and was awarded a good conduct certificate. In late October or early November of 1906 Paul entered the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and was ordained as a priest on 10 July 1910.
Paul immigrated to Canada in 1911, arriving in Quebec aboard the Lake Erie on 4 July. The passenger list indicated that he was on his way to Athabaska in Alberta. After about nine months of learning the English language and expectations, he was sent to the Saint Francois Xavier mission on Sturgeon Lake as an assistant to the resident priest. According to the Oblate records, he stayed on the reserve until October of 1915, then was posted to Grande Prairie until June of 1916. A Grande Prairie newspaper report suggested that he assisted with a wedding in Grande Prairie in 1914. The Grande Prairie Herald reported on 6 June 1916 that ‘Reverend Father Serrand of the Catholic Mission of Grand Prairie and Reverend Father Hauting of the Catholic Mission in Pouce Coupe (BC) have been called to the colours and left for France last Wednesday’.
Reporting for duty on June 28th, Paul was assigned to medical (infirmee) sections (aid stations/stretcher bearers etc) – 15th Section. His record indicated that during the war he had service with the 8th regiment (Infantry) in the Orient Army and later the 2nd regiment (Infantry) in the fall of 1918. He was promoted to Sergeant June 1918. WW1 Campaigns he took part in were:
July 1916 to 25 December 1916, German (Interior – i.e. service within France with support troops)
26 December 1916 to 1 September 1918, Orient (service Crimea (Gallipolli) Bulgaria/Greece, Palestine)
2 Sept 1918 to 11 November 1918, German (General – including possible front line service)
Released from service in 1919, Paul returned to Canada that June, arriving in New York on the 23rd on the La Touraine. He was retained on the reserve army list until age 45 in 1930.
Back in Canada, Paul was sent to Kenora, Ontario to serve at Notre Dame du Portage Church until that November when he returned to Alberta. Once in Alberta he served at the St Augustine mission until June of 1920, in charge of serving the small missions situated north of the Peace River within a radius of forty miles. From July 1920 to February 1930 Paul was the missionary of Grande Prairie, an assistant to Father Josse. From there he worked in the region of Pouce Coupe and Dawson Creek in British Columbia until 1934. In between, Paul travelled to France for a visit in July of 1932, arriving back in Canada on December 4th on the Montcalm. After a brief stint in Girouxville, Paul lived at the Indian Mission of Saint Bruno (Joussard). Located between the two reserves of Sucker Creek and Driftpile, the mission had a large boarding/residential school. Paul was the missionary of both reserves and principal of the school. He left the mission in 1947, spending a year in the neighbouring Oblate. By 1948 he was assigned to Fort Vermilion in northern Alberta where he became a director. Seriously ill, Paul left in March of 1957. Spending fourteen months of half time work at Grouard as he recuperated, he served at Saint Charles Mission at Wabaska until March of 1959 when he became ill again. Flying to Edmonton to be treated, he returned to Lake Sturgeon where his golden jubilee of priesthood was celebrated on 19 May 1960.
Taking ill again in the fall of 1960, Paul was first treated at McLennan Hospital in McLennan, Alberta and then was transferred to nearby Whitelaw. He was able to take part in a few excursions to nearby reserves, but his health continued to decline. A 1962 Voters list for Whitelaw listed him a patient at Hotel Dieu.
Paul died on 27 January 1963 in at Hotel Dieu in Whitelaw. On the 27th a combined funeral was held in Girouxville for Paul and for another priest who had recently died in a car accident, Alfred Litzler. More than forty priests and seventy sisters attended the funeral, with five members of the Fort Vermilion parish flying in for the service. Paul is interred in the Girouxville Notre Dame de Lourdes Cemetery in Girouxville.
By Judy Stockham
Service record provided by Joël Flottat, France
Grave marker photo by Yvonne Cruikshank on findagrave.com
Obituary provided by Alison Glass
Additional research information provided by Joan Bowman from the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogy Society
Translation of WW1 service record by Bob Stewart
Information about Paul’s service as a priest: from the University of Alberta Peel’s Prairie Provinces Oblates of Mary Immaculate (contributor) . ‘Le R.P. Paul Serrand, 1885-1963’. Missions de la Congrégation des missionnaires oblats de Marie Immaculée (Rome: Maison Générale O.M.I) nos308-309 (Mar/Jun 1963), pp. 182-186.