Francis (Frank) Decareau
Francis (Frank) Decareau was born in Brockville, Ontario, on September 12, 1919, to Joseph and Anna Decareau. He had an older sister named Marguerite.
Unfortunately, by the time young Frank was 14 years old, not only had his sister Marguerite passed away but his parents as well. His parents passed within six months of each other.
Young Frank then went to reside with a family near Mountain, Ontario. Frank became fast friends with the neighbours’ two children, Jack and Helen Lewis. This friendship was a bond that would stand the test of time. Soon, arrangements were made for Frank to live with Jesse and Annie Lewis, not as their hired hand, but as a third child.
Even though Frank loved the farm, in September 1939 he realized he needed to follow in his uncle’s shoes and join the military. Josephat Decareau served as a sergeant major for the 22nd Battalion from 1914 to 1918 in the First World War.
On September 23, 1939, Frank enlisted in the Canadian Infantry Corps. He served in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe, namely France, the Netherlands, and Germany. He was a corporal in the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa as a machine gunner.
On June 6, 1944, Frank and his regiment would become part of history when then landed on Juno Beach in Normandy as part of the D-Day landings. Many of his comrades perished that day but Frank went on to fight throughout France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
On July 6, 1945, Corporal Frank Decareau was honourably discharged from the Canadian Army to return to civilian life.
Frank was awarded the following medals:
- 1939-1945 Star
- France and Germany Star
- Defence Medal
- Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp
- War Medal 1939-1945
Upon his return to civilian life, Frank returned to help on the farm he loved so much as a child. Then in 1947, Frank started working for Ontario Hydro in Stewartville, Ontario. It was here he met his future wife, Anna Hanniman from Admaston, Ontario. Frank and Anna were married on August 24, 1948, and went on to have four daughters, Margret, Nancy, Bonnie and Donna.
Frank worked for Ontario Hydro until his retirement in the fall of 1976. They settled in the small hamlet of Mount Saint Patrick, Ontario, where he honed his gardening skills. If someone needed a hand all they had to do was ask. He was always willing to help out.
On May 21, 1981, Frank passed away from a massive heart attack with his beloved Anna by his side. He is buried in the Holy Well Cemetery, Mount Saint Patrick, Ontario.
Tribute submitted by Frank’s daughters, Bonnie Green, Nancy Sheedy, and Donna Stroud
I cannot begin to explain what it means for me to do the 1,500-metre walk in memory of my dad. After standing on Juno Beach In 2016 holding his medals this walk allows me the time to reflect on the young lad who went to war and came back a man.
I hope by doing this walk it keeps the memory of what happened at Juno Beach alive and inspires even one young person to become a soldier.
Our father’s one dream was to visit all of the countries he had served in to see how they looked in peacetime. Unfortunately, that never happened. So, I decided that Normandy would be on the top of my bucket list of places to visit. It was such an honour in 2016 to actually stand on Juno Beach, where he had been 72 years earlier and hold his medals.