Veteran Stories:
Hercule Lefebvre

Army

  • Hercule Lefebvre

    Hercule Lefebvre
  • Major Hercule Lefebvre during World War I. Collection courtesy of Mr. Lefebvre's granddaughters, Lyse Brooks and Danièle Bond.

    Major Hercule Lefebvre during World War I. Collection courtesy of Mr. Lefebvre's granddaughters, Lyse Brooks and Danièle Bond.
  • The 12th Battalion disembarking at Plymouth, England, on October 20, 1914. Hercule Lefebvre accepted the rank of Lieutenant in order to go overseas with the 12th Infantry Brigade.

    The 12th Battalion disembarking at Plymouth, England, on October 20, 1914. Hercule Lefebvre accepted the rank of Lieutenant in order to go overseas with the 12th Infantry Brigade.
  • Hercule Lefebvre sent this postcard to his future wife, Juliet Brosnan, on January 16, 1915, from Lark Hill Camp in England. On the reverse he wrote "Just as usual every day occurrence, military transport stationed for the night."

    Hercule Lefebvre sent this postcard to his future wife, Juliet Brosnan, on January 16, 1915, from Lark Hill Camp in England. On the reverse he wrote "Just as usual every day occurrence, military transport stationed for the night."
  • Hercule Lefebvre's rationing order that he used while serving with the 10th Canadians in 1918.

    Hercule Lefebvre's rationing order that he used while serving with the 10th Canadians in 1918.
  • Hercule Lefebvre made notes in this notebook while he was training in Reading, England, to get his flying wings in June, 1918. This page shows his drawings of a B.E. 2c airplane.

    Hercule Lefebvre
  • Hercule Lefebvre received the Military Cross in 1917 for his distinguished and meritorious services during the battle of Hill 70.

    Hercule Lefebvre
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

Transcript

I'm Lyse Brooks, and I am the granddaughter of Hercule Lefebvre, and we are going to talk about his involvement in the First War.

Our grandfather, Hercule Lefebvre, was born April 18, 1888 in Laprairie, Québec. He's our mother's father. Growing up, our mother often talked of her dad, our grandfather, as someone she greatly admired. Through the years and especially through our mom's Alzheimer we came to understand how our mom's admiration for her dad stemmed from her life long quest for her dad's approval and praise. You see our grandfather's military career, his participation in both wars combined with extensive related travels to Brazil, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Russia to name only a few, kept him away from his home during most of our mom's precious years growing up. It is with great pride that we dedicate this to our mom who would have been so proud of the Memory Project.

In 1903, at the age of 15, H.Lefebvre became a Cadet at Mont St. Louis Collège. In June of 1910, he joined the 85th Regiment as Lieutenant and in October of 1913 he was promoted Captain. He enlisted for active service in Valcartier, Québec and accepted the rank of Lieutenant in order to go overseas with the 12th Infantry Brigade. He transferred to the First Contingency of the 10th Canadian Infantry as Lieutenant to go to France. There, he was promoted to Captain in October 1915, was Acting Major in June 1916 and Temporary Major in June 1917.

In May 1918 our grandfather joined the Royal Air Force. A newspaper article stated that our grandfather had made some sort of a record at his training school in Scotland where he went solo after three hours of dual flying instruction. Although our grandfather received his wings a month before Armistice, during that time he flew on artillery observations and was an instructor.

Several newspaper articles we have found make references to our grandfather having participated in many of the First World War battles such as, Sommes, Ypres, Sanctuary Wood, Passchendaele and Hill 70. He was awarded the Military Cross in August 1917 for his service at Hill 70. There was a citation published in the London Gazette on March 7, 1918 about his award of the Military Cross:

"For remarkable bravery and devotion to duty. During the days preceding the attack, in the post in which he served, he was able to perform invaluable services, a position he held until1930. During the attack, he went forward to do reconnaissance and became aware that a detachment of our men was in grave danger of being encircled by the enemy. He organized a rescue party and succeeded in extracting them from the trap, enabling them to return to safety. Since all the officers in the sector were either dead or wounded, he took command and maintained their position repulsing several counter-attacks. He showed amazing courage and great organizational capability."

He died on September 10, 1968 of a heart attack doing what he loved to do, playing golf. We recall his funerals. A Regimental parade entered the cemetery and guns were fired in his honor. He was buried at Laprairie Cemetery in Québec.

Follow us