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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.

Then one day in 2008, Art Bloomfield, an area resident, took a closer look at the overgrown monument while walking his young grandson to pre-school. 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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Photo of James NormandJames Normand
Regimental No. 288291

Born:  January 4, 1896 (per 1901 Canadian Census),
St. Norbert MB

Occupation:  Farmer

Enlisted:  April 4, 1916, 8th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Killed in Action:  February 15, 1918 (22 years) by poison gas near Lens, France.

Awarded:


Born to Boniface Normand and Marguerite Lamirande in Richot, MB, James was brother to Albert Norman, Regimental Number 288314. James was an illiterate farmer, who, at age 19, signed his mark "X" on his enlistment paper. He was a simple man who knew his birth year, but not his actual date date of birth. He stood 5 foot 10 inches, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

His medical conditions should have excluded him from service. But like many young men, he felt a sense of urgency and duty to serve and protect his country.

Arthur Carrier Cap Badge
8th Battalion
Cap Badge

Private Normand enlisted in the 221st Battalion along with Roger Chartrand, Joseph Frobisher, and brothers Alfred and Ernest Ryan

In April 1917, a medical board recommended that he be discharged and not re-enlisted.  There is a clue here as to the difficulties the army was having in recruiting in that the board's recommendation was not approved. The 221st Bn dealt with the problem using the time-honoured army practice of transferring him elsewhere.  He was posted to the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry (militia) Regiment.  The 106th Reg't was not part of the CEF.  Instead it provided men for local defence, and training cadres for other recruiting battalions.  In mid-September he went AWL.  Rather than serve time in jail, the 106th passed him off to the 2nd Independent Company, and off he sailed to England.  In mid-January, 1918, he was posted to the 8th (Winnipeg Rifles) Bn.  Two weeks after joining the 8th, he was killed in action during a trench mortar gas attack.  It is rare to have details about the death of any Other Rank, but in this case, his death is referred to in the 8th Bn War Diary entry for February 14, 1918.  The war diary referred to the deaths of two OR's, the result of a trench mortar gas attack.  The other OR killed was Private Samuel Finlay, Regimental No. 829240.  They are buried side by side at Aix-Noulette.

In another "it's a small world" story, the 8th Bn War Diary referred to a trench raid on February 13th "... by the battalion on our left ..."  That raid was conducted by the 15th Battalion.  The 15th Bn raiders went over the top from Hugo Trench, along the eastern edge of Bois Rase.  That night, the 8th Bn was in the front lines in front of Cite St Emile.  It's in this location that James Normand died of gas poisoning. Today, the remains of Hugo Trench can still be found along the eastern edge of Bois Rase.  (The woods now front onto a shopping mall.)


He is interred at Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery, II A 03
He is commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance, page 478
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 7363-52

*with files from Jim Busby and Brian Cyr

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