Harry Desermeau
Also spelled Desormeau



Dec 13, 1892

Born in Mattawa, Ontario to Frank and Maggie Desermeau


Feb 11, 1915

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario 

Ø      Number 59258 (temporary number 1237)

Ø      Next of kin given as Maggie Neville, mother, Mattawa, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Labourer

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Roman Catholic

Ø      Assigned to the battalion’s Base Unit

o       He was later transferred to “D” Company 

The battalion trained in the Kingston area through the winter with headquarters in the Kingston Armouries 

Harry had 2 brothers who also joined the 21st Battalion, Albert, 59256, and Frank, 59257


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec


May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Jul 24, 1915

Sentenced to 10 days detention and restricted to half pay for 1 month for being AWL (Absent Without Leave) from July 19 to July 23, 1915


Aug 3, 1915

Sentenced to 2 days detention for breaking out of the Guard Room


Sep 3, 1915

Sentenced to 28 days detention and forfeiture of 2 days pay for being absent from August 31 to September 1, 1915


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone

It would appear that he was released early from detention in order to proceed to France with the battalion


Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Apr 30, 1916

Sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment #1 for being absent from duty for less than 6 hours and insolence to an NCO on April 13, 1916


Jul 4, 1916

Sentenced to 28 days Field Punishment #1 for being absent from July 1 to July 3, 1916 and forfeited 3 days pay


Jul 15, 1916

Sentenced to an additional 10 days Field Punishment #1 for being absent from 2 pm July 14 to 9 am July 15, and forfeited 2 days pay


Feb 12, 1917

Admitted to the 139th Field Ambulance with a diagnosis that reads Carries Dentine (tooth cavities).  He was transferred the same day to the 41st Division Rest Station for treatment


Feb 14, 1917

Discharged to his unit from the rest station 

Attached to the 250th Tunnelling Company Canadian Engineers for duty


Jun 5, 1917

Admitted to the 59th Field Ambulance with a diagnosis that reads VDG (Venereal Disease Gonorrhea)


Jun 7, 1917

Transferred to the No. 51 General Hospital in Etaples


Aug 1, 1917

Discharged from hospital and joined the No. 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) in Etaples


His pay was deducted at the rate of 50¢ per day and loss of Field Allowance for the 55 days he was in hospital as punishment for the Gonorrhea infection


Aug 23, 1917

Left the CIBD to join the entrenching battalion


Aug 25, 1917

Joined the 2nd Entrenching Battalion in Hersin


Sep 1, 1917

Left the entrenching battalion and rejoined the 250th Tunnelling Company


Sep 2, 1917

Left the tunnelling company and joined the 21st Battalion in billets in Villers au Bois, France


Sep 30, 1917

Admitted to the No. 6 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) with a diagnosis that reads VDG, and transferred the same day to the No. 10 CFA for treatment


Oct 12, 1917

Discharged from the field ambulance and rejoined the 21st Battalion in the Suburban Camp in Villers au Bois


Nov 9, 1917

While on the Passchendaele front, Private Desermeau received severe shrapnel wounds to his arms, legs and buttocks.  He was admitted to the No. 1 CFA for first aid then transferred to the No. 3 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) where surgery was performed to remove shrapnel from his right arm, buttocks and thighs


Nov 10, 1917

Transferred via the No. 16 AT (Ambulance Train) and admitted to the No. 9 Lakeside USA General Hospital in Rouen


Nov 18, 1917

His wounds became septic and he was placed on the dangerously ill list


Dec 16, 1917

His left leg was amputated below the hip


Jun 8, 1918

Private Harry Desermeau died of his wounds while still in the No. 9 Stationary Hospital and was buried in the nearby St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

Following the war the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his father, Frank Desermeau, Timmins, Ontario

The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Mrs. M. Desermeau, at the same address


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