September 17, 1916: Private John Angus Boudreau


Date of Birth: September 15, 1887 at Salem, MA

Parents: John E. & Margaret (Johnson) Boudreau

Siblings: One sister, Mary

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Lumberman/Riveter

Enlistment: September 15, 1915 at Sussex, NB

Unit: 64th Overseas Battalion; 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada, Montreal)

Service #: 470223

Rank:  Private

Previous Military Service: None

Next of Kin: John E. Boudreau (Father)

Date of Death: September 17, 1916 at Courcelette, France

Memorial: Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France

John Angus Boudreau was born at Salem, Massachusetts. He was a great-grandson of Hilarion Boudreau, who was born at Chezzetcook, Halifax County to an Acadian family displaced in the 1755 Expulsion. Sometime after 1800, Hilarion settled at Tracadie, where John Angus’s father, John E. Boudreau, was born. John E. later moved to Massachusetts, where he worked as a carpenter and married Margaret Johnson, daughter of Angus Johnson and Christine MacNeil, Red Islands, Cape Breton. The family eventually returned to Tracadie, and was residing there at the time of the 1911 Canadian census.

John Angus Boudreau enlisted with the 64th Battalion at Sussex, NB on September 15, 1915. His attestation papers incorrectly state that he was born at Big Tracadie, Antigonish Co.. He also reported that he was single, although Massachusetts records indicate he was married to Nellie May Putman of Enfield, New Hampshire, and the couple had a daughter, Mary, born on May 7, 1914. Later in life , Mary married and gave birth to a son, James Phillip Johnson. Mary B. (Boudreau) Johnson died at Burlington, Vermont on August 1, 2005.

After John Angus’s enlistment, the 64th Battalion travelled to Halifax and departed for overseas aboard SS Adriatic on March 31, 1916. After arriving in England on April 9, the battalion moved on to Bramshott Camp the following day. In June 1916, the 64th battalion was dissolved and John Angus was transferred to the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada, Montreal). The 24th was assigned to the 2nd Canadian Division’s 5th Brigade, along with the 22nd (Van Doos), 25th   (Nova Scotia Rifles) and the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalions.

The Canadian Corps’ 2th Division attacked and captured the Sugar and Candy Trenches in front of Courcelette, France on September 15, 1916, seizing control of the village by evening. The front line, now located beyond the village, lay below a ridge containing a well-fortified German position the Canadians named “Regina Trench.” In the days following Courcelette’s capture, the Canadian Corps prepared to resume their advance.

On September 17, having been pushed out of Courcelette two days earlier, German artillery heavily shelled the area. John Angus was among a party of soldiers carrying supplies through the town to the new front line when an exploding shell killed him instantly. While documents record the details of his death, there is no mention of a gravesite. John Angus Boudreau is commemorated on the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy, France.

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