|Date of Birth||December 18, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Jujurieux, Ain, Rhône-Alpes|
|Trade / Calling||Merchant|
|Service Record||see images below|
|Branch||Train des Equipages Militaire|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Wauchope, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||March 29, 1915|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 2, 1918|
|Age at Death||31|
|Buried At||Carré militaire du cimetière Clamart, Chaumont, Haute-Marne, France|
Noël François Victor Bernuy was born on 18 December 1887 in Jujurieux, Ain, Rhône-Alpes, France. His parents François Bernuy, a grocer, and Josephine Guiguet married on 23 October 1886. Children born to the couple were Victor, Louis (1889), Jean Marius (John) (1893), Emile Joseph (1894), and Gabriel Eugene (1898). Victor was the first to immigrate to Canada, arriving in Montreal on 15 July 1905 aboard the Sardinian. The rest of the family followed in 1906, arriving in Montreal on 15 July 1906 on the Pomeranian, recruited as settlers by a Catholic priest on behalf of the Ottawa government. The family settled in Wauchope, Saskatchewan, a thriving French settlement of the day, now home to only a few families. Shortly after arrival François bought the Wauchope general store and post office.
According to a family history, Victor married Alice Plaisir in 1910. Born in 1884 in Chateauroux, France, Alice immigrated to Canada in 1907, found on the passenger list of the Parisian that arrived on 11 May. She was on her way to Laurier, Manitoba to work as a domestic but by the time of the marriage she was living in Wauchope and working at the local hotel. A short time after the marriage the couple moved to Kenora in northwestern Ontario where they owned the Starland Theatre on Main Street. Son Francis Joseph was born on 11 December 1911 in Kenora. Selling the theatre in 1912, by October of 1913 and the birth of daughter Jeanne, the family was living in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan where they had a store. A third child, son George, was born in September of 1915 in Wauchope, a few months after Victor had left for overseas.
As given in his service record, although living in Canada at the time, on 16 October 1908 Victor was placed on the auxiliary service list (likely the French Army Reserve). By the decree of 9 September 1914, he was subject to recall to active service. On 29 March 1915 he was notified of recall and reported for duty on 20 May 1915. Following training, Soldat (Private) Victor Bernuy was assigned to the 334th Infantry Regiment of the 66th Division on 29 October 1915. A later newspaper article of 1919 stated that he served in Alsace for two years and later on the Aisne as a despatch bearer where he suffered shell shock. Likely given a leave, Victor, and his brother Emile who also served with the French Army, returned to Canada aboard the Scotian in March of 1917, a border crossing that May indicated that they were returning to France. On 13 October 1917 he was transferred to the 19 Squadron Train des Equipages Militaire, rank of Conducteur (Driver). A second trip to Canada was made during his service, arriving in New York aboard the Espagne on 14 March 1918, and returning to France that August. The passenger list gave his occupation as ‘soldier service Franco American in Paris’. The newspaper article had also stated that Victor was transferred to the ministry of war in Paris and was later attached to the American Army as an interpreter.
Victor died on 2 December 1918 in the Chaumont Hospital Haute-Marne of congestion pulmonaire grippale (pneumonia). He is interred in the Carré militaire du cimetière Clamart, Chaumont, Haute-Marne. Victor is commemorated for his service on the Saint Boniface Cathedral War Memorial in Winnipeg, Manitoba and on his father’s grave marker in the Saint Regis Catholic Cemetery in Wauchope. Nommé BERNAY sur la plaque commémorative de Biesles (52) dédiée Г ‘la mémoire des interprètes près l’Armée Américaine morts pour la France’ – Les soldats français du 19 ème E.T.E.M. étaient interprètes (Named BERNAY on the commemorative plaque of Biesles (52) dedicated to ‘the memory of the interpreters near the American Army died for France’ – French soldiers of the 19th ETEM were interpreters). His father François died in 1930 and his mother Josephine in 1945, both interred in Saint Regis along with other family members.
Victor’s brothers Louis, Emile, and Gabriel all served during WW1, Louis and Emile with the French Army. According to the newspaper article of 1919, Louis was taken prisoner on 13 September 1914 and was repatriated in January of 1919. He returned to Canada for a brief while but by 1920 he was back in France where he worked as a photographer. Louis died in 1947. The article stated that Emile joined the army in November of 1914, transferring from the infantry to the engineers and taking part in the Champagne offensive in September of 1915 and later in defense of Verdun and the Somme. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Emile died in St Adolphe, Manitoba in 1992. Gabriel enlisted with the CEF in November of 1916 and served overseas with the 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1918. Gabriel died with Victor’s son Francis in an automobile accident near Wauchopte on 20 June 1985. A family account said brother Jean attempted to enlist but was turned back. Jean died in 1977 in Los Angeles, California.
Victor’s wife Alice and the children remained in Wauchope where she was post mistress from the mid 1920’s until her retirement in 1948 when son George and his wife took over the business. She served on the town council from 1936 to 1942. A few years later Alice moved to Winnipeg to live with her daughter Jeanne, a nurse at St Vital Hospital. Alice died on 20 April 1978 in Winnipeg. She was survived by her son Francis and family of Wauchope and son George and family of St Vital. She was predeceased by her daughter Jeanne in 1968 in Winnipeg. Francis died in the automobile accident in June of 1985 near Wauchope. George, who served with the Canadian Army in Canada and overseas in WW2, died in 1993 in Winnipeg. Alice and the children are all interred in the Saint Regis Catholic Cemetery in Wauchope.
By Judy Stockham
Birth, service and death records: provided by Joël Flottatt, France
Photographs and information about the family: Precious memories of time : A Salute to the Pioneers of Wauchope and Parkman
Grave marker photographs: Juliann Parsons, Saskatchewan Cemetery Project