National Aboriginal Veterans day 2018

On November 8, we honour the contributions and sacrifices of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis men and women who have served in military and peace operations at home and abroad.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, we would like to remember a few of the Métis from St. Albert who served in the First World War.

Patrick William Benoit – Enlisted with the Canadian Army, Edmonton, July 6th, 1917, age 18

Patrick was born in St. Albert in 1899. He served overseas during the First World War. Before enlisting, he worked as a labourer in Morinville, Alberta. When he came back to St. Albert he got a job with the railway. He married Mary Rowland and they eventually moved into the Benoit family home next to “the Brick School”.

Napoleon Gagnon – Enlisted with the Veterinary Corps, 66th Overseas Battalion, Vernon Camp, BC, June 2nd, 1915, age 31.

Napoleon Gagnon was born in Edmonton. He was the brother of Hector, Laurent, and Moise. Before enlisting, Napoleon, a widower, worked as a farm labourer, and had served for four years with the 19th Alberta Dragoons. World War I ended for Napoleon when he was wounded and was “invalided to Canada for further treatment” in September 1918.

Hector Henry Gagnon – Enlisted with the 66th Overseas Battalion, Edmonton, November 8th, 1915, age 22.

Hector was born in Dunvegan, Alberta, to Georges and Nancy Gagnon. According to his attestation papers, he served for three years with the Alberta Mounted Rifles, and worked as a farmer before enlisting for overseas duty. Three of his brothers, Napoleon, Laurent, and Moise, also served in the First World War.

These soldiers and more are commemorated in a new exhibition, Alberta & the Great War, an exhibition from the Provincial Archives of Alberta. With artifacts, photographs, letters, and newspapers, this exhibition informs us about how this earth-shattering global event affected St. Albert, the province, and the country.

The Musée Héritage Museum will be open on Remembrance Day from 9am – 1pm.

Join us on Saturday, November 17 starting at 2:30 PM for Letters from the Front: a reading of First World War letters from Alberta soldiers. Walk through the Alberta and the Great War exhibition, hear letters from the front read aloud, and view a series of short films about the First World War.