From the Vault Friday: Postcard

Images: SPRA fonds 164

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a postcard from the Gabriel Basly fonds (fonds 164).

Gabriel (Gaby) Rene Basly was born on March 28, 1885 in Gennevilliers (Seine-St. Denis), France, a district on the Northern edge of Paris. In 1907 he immigrated to Canada with his sister Blanch Pivert and her family. Gaby and the Pivert family took out homesteads in Big Valley, Alberta, about 67 km east of Innisfail. In August 1914, Gaby was informed by the French Consulate that he should report for mobilization with his army corps, so with several other young men from Big Valley who were also French, he made his way back to France to “save the motherland.” It was in the Battle of Verdun that Gaby earned his “Croix de Guerre,” an award for bravery. In April 1917, he was granted permission to travel back to Canada on a three-week leave.

Gaby never went back to the war. His relatives and friends from Big Valley, who had also returned to France at the outbreak of the war had all decided that they would be fools to return. They had given three years of their lives and lost many good friends and former neighbours from Big Valley.

Gaby settled back into farming, and in 1926 headed for Grande Prairie with the Pivert family to start a new life. There he acquired many horses, working the land with them in the summer and hauling coal in the winter. He also worked as a “Bull Cook” for a lumber camp at Big Mountain.

Read more about the Gabriel Basly fonds (fonds 164) here.

View a selection of photos from the Gabriel Basly fonds (fonds 164) on Alberta On Record.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.