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The Cenotaph, erected in the St. Norbert Cemetery, was an over-grown, long forgotten homage to the thirteen men who fought and died in World War I and who were connected to the St. Norbert area.

In 2008, Art Bloomfield, long-time St. Norbert resident, took a closer look at the overgrown monument while walking his young grandson to preschool. Soon after, he and his family made it their personal mission to ensure that the cenotaph and those thirteen men whose names are etched in stone were forgotten no more.

Celebrate and honour these men at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

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image placeholderFrancois Cardinal
Regimental No. 1072228

Born:  December 30, 1898, St. Norbert MB

Occupation:  Labourer

Enlisted:  March 30, 1917, 250th White Eagles Battalion in Winnipeg

Killed in Action:  August 9, 1918 (aged 19 years) near Rosieres, France - by machine gun fire


Frank, as he was known, was the fifth child (of ten) born to Charles River Cardinal and Marie-Josephine (Parisien) Cardinal.  His brother, Marcien Peter Cardinal, Regimental No. 1072105, also fought for Canada. At the time of his enlistment, Frank's family lived at 102 1/2 Goulet Street in Norwood, MB.  According to Google Street View, the house would have stood at the corner of Goulet and Tache in St Boniface, but is long gone now.  

At the tender age of 18, Frank was a young, single, Roman Catholic man. His enlistment papers describe him as having a dark complexion, with brown eyes and black hair. He stood 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 135 lbs. With no previous military experience, Frank was one of countless men who were compelled to fight in service of our country.

On March 30, 1917, at age 18, he enlisted with the 250th Battalion in Winnipeg.  During the summer of 1917, the battalion was sent to Valcartier Camp in Quebec for further training before going overseas.  In October 1917, the 250th was merged into the 249th Battalion, a unit from Saskatchewan.  The 249th Bn remained in Valcartier until shipping out to England aboard the SS Saxonia and SS Metagama from Halifax bound for Liverpool.  According to his service file, Frank was aboard the Saxonia.

Arthur Carrier Cap Badge
28th Battalion
Cap Badge

On March 04, 1918, the day they landed at Liverpool, the entire battalion was posted into the 15th Reserve Battalion at Bramshott, Hampshire.  The 249th Bn now effectively ceased to exist.  The 15th Reserve Bn was a training and reinforcing unit, preparing newly arrived soldiers for the front.  Soldiers would regularly be grouped into reinforcing drafts and sent to the Canadian Base Depot at Havre, France.  About a week after he arrived in England, though, Frank was exposed to Mumps.  This was then and still is a very serious disease for adult men, and Frank was quarantined at the base hospital for nearly a month.  Frank's turn came on May 10, 1918, when he was posted to the 28th Bn of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division.  His draft proceeded to France that day.  Frank's first war experience came on May 30, the day he joined the 28th.  According to the battalion war diary, the 28th was in front line trenches near Mercatel, France, just a few miles south of Vimy Ridge.  It's an indication of how static the war was, as the front lines had not moved since the previous August.

On August 08, 1918, the Allies launched what became known as the Last One Hundred Days campaign near Amiens, France (One Battle of the Somme).  This day saw some of the most impressive advances of the war to date.  The German High Command called it the "black day of the German Army".  The 28th was in support that day, but the following day, August 09, the battalion was tasked with capturing the town of Rosieres-en-Santerre.  Somewhere near Rosieres, Frank was struck by machine gun fire and was killed in action.  His remains were recovered and buried nearby.  His name appeared on the casualty list dated August 18. 

Attestation Paper
He is interred at the Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension, I C 02
He has been commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance, page 380
His name is inscribed on the St Norbert, MB War Memorial
Veterans Affairs Canada link
Library and Archives Canada File RG150, 1992-93/166, Box 1491-69

*with files from Jim Busby and Brian Cyr

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