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Les soldats de la Grande Guerre : Projet de biographies historiques sur les soldats de Fredericton

Les textes explicatifs, les descriptions archivistiques, les commentaires, les en têtes de champs de données et les messages d’assistance à la navigation dans le site Web des Archives provinciales du Nouveau Brunswick sont en anglais et en français. Lorsqu’un élément est extrait d’un document pour être inséré dans une base de données ou présenté comme fac similé, il apparaît dans la langue du document d’origine.

Cormier, Edmond

Private 70300
55th Battalion, New Brunswick
26th Battalion, New Brunswick

Background

Edmond Cormier was born on May 31, 1895 in St. Marys, Kent County, New Brunswick to Calixte Cormier and Philomene Gauvin. While information is limited on their early life together, marriage records suggest that Calixte and Philomene met one another while living in the Adamsville, just south of Rogersville, marrying August 13, 1888. According to records, Calixte and Philomene would have three children together including one daughter, Marie Nathalie, and two sons, Edmond and John Napoleon. Records reveal that Philomene was particularly young when she married Calixte at the age of seventeen. However, Calixte would work as a farmer in the area and together they would raise their children over the next twelve years. It is at this point that few records exist to explain what happened to Edmond’s mother, Philomene, as Calixte would become a widower and re-marry a woman named Marguerite Arsenault by 1905. Marriage records show that Marguerite was a widow herself, having been married previously to Francois Babinault, and information in documents also shows that she came from the Adamsville area and had likely known the Cormier family before. In the spring of 1905, Calixte and his family, as well as Marguerite, were living in the Moncton area.

At some point before the war, Edmond, now a teenager and finding work as a labourer, would make his way to Fredericton. There are few details linking Edmond and the Cormier family to Fredericton apart from the likelihood that he was working in the area and built relationships with people through local churches and through soldiers connected to the 26th Battalion, the unit he would eventually serve with during the war. By the spring of 1915 Edmond would make his way to the Chatham area again where he would formally enlist on April 23, 1915 at the age of 19. According to his attestation papers, Edmond was single and had no prior military experience. He was described as having a fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, and stood approximately five feet and seven inches tall, weighing 150 pounds. Private Edmond Cormier would never return home.

Wartime Experience

Edmond would spend only a few months with his unit in Canada until leaving with the 55th Battalion for England aboard the S.S. Caledonia, arriving June 24, 1915. He would spend the next few months in England at Shorncliffe Camp until joining the 26th Battalion in November and arriving in Roulles, France November 19. Private Cormier would be active with the 26th Battalion over the winter of 1915-1916 where he would see a break in major fighting until the battles of St. Eloi, Mount Sorrel, and the Somme in the summer of 1916.

By June, 1916, according to the war diaries of the 26th Battalion, Private Cormier would be with his unit in the area of Renighelst, Belgium and by June 28 they would relieve the 28th Battalion in the St. Eloi trench sector. Edmond’s circumstances of death record reveals that as he was moving with his unit into the trenches they were taking over that day he was hit in the head by a bullet and died instantly. Edmond was 20 years old.

Lest We Forget

Private Edmond Cormier is buried and remembered with honour at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, in the village of Renighelst, Belgium. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery is 9.5 kilometers south west of Ypres and has 792 identified casualties.

*This biography was researched and written by Serena Chase, Grade 8 student (2015-2016) at George Street Middle School located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

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