This is my Great Uncle 158661 Pte. Ernest Parent, who was a proud French-Canadian born on 10th December 1896 in Trois Rivières (Three Rivers), Quebec, Canada. Ernest was the sixth of seven children born to Joseph A. Parent 1865-1924 and Georgiana Parent (née Dionne) 1859-1937.

Ernest's family were farmers who spent their time tilling the soil in different areas around what was then known as the Champlain District, Uncharted Territory, on both sides of the St. Lawrence River, from Three Rivers in the south to St-Roch-de-Mekinac in the north on the Matawin River.

Sometime around 1910 the whole family relocated to St. Catharines, Ontario, where they again took advantage of the fertile farm lands and continued farming.

On August 25th 1915 Ernest attested into the CEF in St. Catharines. He was assigned to the 81st Reserve Battalion, training at the Canadian National Exhibition Fairgrounds in Toronto. On April 28th 1916 the Battalion sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia and landed in Liverpool, United Kingdom, in early May. On June 9th 1916 Ernest, along with approximately 400 Officers and other ranks were assigned to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in the forward rest area at Steenvoorde, France, as a rebuilding draft after the huge losses suffered by the 4th CMR's in the 'Battle for Mount Sorrel' on the 2nd. They were trained in the manners of trench warfare and front line patrols.

On July 1st 1916 the 'Battle of the Somme' commenced and would last for roughly five months, with many battles and heavy casualties on both sides. It was during one battle, on September 16th 1916, in the area around Courcelette/Pozières while fighting at Mouquet Farm, when Ernest was wounded in action, sustaining a gun shot wound to his right knee. This wound in all likelihood saved Ernest's life as it prevented him from doing forced marches therefore preventing his return to the front lines.

It is of special note to mention that during the 'Battle at Mouquet Farm' tanks were introduced to the battlefield for the first time.

Ernest was subsequently used in different clerical assignments for roughly a year, but eventually, after a short stay in hospital (with appendicitis) he had a medical review and was deemed "UNFIT" and was sent back to Canada where he was discharged on April 9th 1918.

Although I never had the opportunity to meet Ernest, my mother was always talking about her "Uncle Ernie" and how she would help pack "care packages" to send to the troops overseas. It was because of my mother that with the help of the internet and Canadian Archives and Library Veterans Search that I was able to do research on Ernest. I was able to obtain a digital Copy of his WW1 Service Record from Attestation to Discharge, and thereby able to connect him with the 4th CMR.

Parent / Hebert family portrait. Ernest was not present as this was taken sometime later in 1915, after he had signed up.

Back Row L-R

Joseph Xavier Francois "Frank" Parent (older brother),

Joseph Hebert (brother-in-law),

Joseph A. Parent (father),

Joseph Alfred Parent (little brother).

Seated L-R

Laura Hebert [née Parent] (oldest sister),

Georgiana Parent [née Dionne] (mother).

The little girl in white is Mary Jane Georgina Hebert (Ernest's niece) and my Mother (1914-1998), who was about one and a half years old in this photo.

Biography and images credit: Chuck Ellis