Soldier Spotlight: Corporal Emile Desilets

Image: excerpt from Emile’s military service file, including a note about his Distinguished Conduct Medal (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 628057
Rank: Corporal
Branch: 47th Battalion; 16th Battalion

Emile was born in Ste. Camille, Wolfe County, Quebec on February 3, 1888. He enlisted in Vernon, BC on June 18, 1915, and had previously served with the 11th Regiment, Irish Fusiliers of Canada. While serving overseas, Emile sustained a shrapnel wound to his left arm in June of 1916, and a gunshot wound to his right thigh and buttocks. On September 2, 1918, Emile was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 2nd September, 1918, in the second battle of Arras. During the fighting he with his section engaged large numbers of the enemy on three occasions as they emerged from dug-outs, bombing the occupants and taking the survivors prisoners. He was slightly wounded when steadying his men under enfilade fire.” Emile filed on a homestead at 35-76-21-W5. He died in Vancouver on December 12, 1955.

Sources: Guy p. 287

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.