55th Battalion, New Brunswick
26th Battalion, New Brunswick
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.
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.