August 19, 1918: Private Francis “Frank” Bouchie


Date of Birth: December 28, 1897* at East Havre Boucher, Antigonish County

Parents: Maurice (Morris) and Susan (Briand) Bouchie

Siblings: Half-sisters Marie Elizabeth, Margaret Louise, Catherine Jane (2nd); half-brothers John Henry & William; full brothers Henry, Simon Joseph & David

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Farmer

Enlistment: May 4, 1918 at Halifax, NS

Unit: 1st Depot Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment

Service #: 3182200

Rank: Private

Previous Military Service: None

Next of Kin: Susan Bouchie, East Havre Boucher, Antigonish County (mother)

Date of Death: August 19, 1918 at Liverpool, England

Final Resting Place: Kirkdale Cemetery, Liverpool, England

*The 1911 Canadian census, Frank’s military service file and the signature on his attestation papers spell his surname as “Bouchie.” The 1901 census recorded the family name as “Bouché.” Common usage today is “Boucher.” Date of birth obtained from 1901 census. Frank’s attestation papers list his birthday as December 15, 1894.

Francis “Frank” Bouchie was born at East Havre Boucher, the son of Maurice and Susan (Briand) Bouchie. Susan was Maurice’s second wife. His first spouse, Sophie Fougere, passed away sometime after 1885 and he remarried around 1887. Susan was the daughter of Joseph Briand and Osite “Elizabeth” Coste (Decoste). Joseph, a fisherman by occupation, was born at Cape Jack, the son of Louis-Francois Briand, a fisherman from Isle De Miquelon, a French territory.

Frank’s father, Maurice, was the son of Simon and Olivie (Pettipas) Bouchie, both of whom were East Havre Boucher natives. His grandfather, Paul Bouchie, was born at Arichat, the son of Honore “dit Villedieu” Bouchie, an Acadian refugee from the Grand Pré area of Nova Scotia. The Bouchie family resided on a family farm near Bennett Road, then known as Paint Road. Neighbours were the family of Patrick Chisholm, the Anderson family, and Maurice’s elderly uncle, Fidel (Fedel) Bouchie, and his family. Fidel passed away on November 24, 1904, at 85 years of age.

On November 5, 1917, Frank Bouchie completed his medical examination as required under the terms of the Military Service Act, which the Canadian Parliament had passed earlier in the year. At the time, Frank weighed 125 pounds and was feet two inches in height, with blue eyes and black hair. As three older brothers resided on the family farm, it was inevitable that Frank would be “called up” for military duty.

On May 4, 1918, Frank attested with 1st Depot Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment, the training unit for Nova Scotian conscripts, and was assigned to Company “D.” He spent three months completing basic training at Camp Aldershot and by late July was ready to depart for England, where he would join the 17th Reserve Battalion, the unit that provided reinforcements for the 25th and 85th Battalions, Nova Scotia’s two front-line units.

On August 2, 1918, Frank departed Halifax aboard the transport Ixion. The crowded conditions on board provided ideal conditions for the spread of contagious disease, and a significant number of the soldiers contracted influenza and pneumonia during the vessel’s two-week passage. When the ship docked at Liverpool, England, on August 15, 1918, a total of 22 soldiers were admitted to hospitals for medical treatment.

While officially taken on strength by the 17th Battalion upon arriving overseas, Frank never reported for duty. He was among the soldiers who fell sick during the voyage and was immediately transported to the Toxteth Park Auxiliary Hospital, Liverpool, for treatment of influenza and pneumonia.

At the time of his admission, notes in Frank’s service file indicate that he had a “high temperature,” with “moderately extensive pneumonic involvement of [the] lungs.” While staff administered several medications and therapies over subsequent days, Frank’s condition failed to improve. He died of pneumonia at 1:20 a.m. August 19, 1918.

Private Frank Bouchie was laid to rest in Kirkdale Cemetery, Liverpool, England. He was not the only Ixion passenger who passed away only days after arriving overseas. Of the 22 soldiers admitted to hospital, four other young Nova Scotian conscripts died before month’s end—Private Charles Abner Barss, New Harbour, Guysborough County; Private Warren L. Godfried, Little Harbour, Shelburne County; Private Pearley Parker Goucher, Albany Cross, Annapolis County; and Private Lawrence A. Shannon, Lennox Ferry, Richmond County.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s