Soldier Spotlight: Private Rene Gicquel

Image: Trapper and his dog team coming through the bush on the banks of the Wapiti, ca. 1930 (SPRA 177.084)

Regimental Number: 437843
Rank: Private
Branch: 7th Battalion

Rene was born in Ploërmel, France on February 17, 1894. In 1913, he emigrated to Canada. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in November of 1915.

On September 7, 1916 at the Somme, Rene was buried by a shell explosion. He was deaf and dumb for three months afterward due to shell shock. Rene also suffered from weakness and palpitations afterward, and had tremors in his hand that went away when he was alone. Rene was discharged on February 18, 1918, having been found medically unfit due to shell shock.

After the war, Rene worked for the Forestry Department and ran a trap line in the Fort Vermilion area. Rene married Marie C. Bourgault (Lizotte?) on January 7, 1931. They were transferred to Hythe in 1945 and remained there until 1967, when they retired to Vernon, BC. Rene died on January 7, 1975.

Sources: surname file; Pioneer Round Up p. 82a

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.