Canada in the Second World War

People

Jean-Maurice LEDUC

Identity
Jean-Maurice LEDUC (Joseph Jean-Maurice)
Born January 31, 1923 in Montreal, Quebec
Son of Louis-Adolphe Leduc and Rose-Alba Blain
Married to Adrienne Bruynings from Baarle-Nassau (Belgium) on December 27,1945
Father of Corinne, Laurent, André, Ryan and Gaëtanne

Norman Origins
Paternal: Antoine Leduc was born in the middle of the 1640’s in Louvetot, a small village near Grigneuseville, between Rouen and Dieppe in Normandy. At age 14 he left Dieppe as a cabin boy on the Saint Sebastien, arriving in the City of Quebec in October 1656. In 1671 he married “A daughter of the King” (unmarried woman sent to New France as wives for the men) named Jeanne Faucheux (1663-1721). He founded a family and traded in furs. He died before 1688, probably during a trading trip, leaving two sons; Jean-Baptiste and Pierre.
Maternal: Mathurin Blain married Suzanne Crolet in the Charente Maritime region (date unknown). Their son, Francois Blain, married Jeanne Barbier in Contrecoeur, Quebec, on January 7, 1681. Jean-Maurice Leduc’s mother belonged to the 9th generation of Blains.

Education
After attending primary school from 1929 to 1936, at age 13 Jean-Marie Leduc quit school to work in a restaurant. In 1937, he took 6 months of night classes in English, mathematics, and history. During training in England in 1942, he took a Veterans Affairs general studies correspondence course for almost one year.

Military Service
Service Number: D-137514
Final rank: Private
Jean-Maurice Leduc enrolled in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) in 1942. After 4 months training in Canada, he arrived in England in February 1943. A few months later his regiment was attached to the 4th Canadian Armoured Division Transport Company for the balance of the war. After 2 years in England, his company landed in Courseulles-sur-Mer in June 1944. This descendant of Antoine Leduc followed the route from Rouen to Dieppe, near Louvetot, as the Canadian Army fought through Normandy. At the time, he did not realize he was contributing to the liberation of his ancestral home.
In December 1944, reorganised German forces attacked through the Belgian Ardennes forest with the objective to reach Anvers, cutting off supplies to Allied troops in Holland near the German border. During this advance, known as the Battle of the Bulge, the town of Herentals, Belgium was strategically located along the Albert Canal, directly in the German path to Anvers. On December 23, 1944, Jean-Maurice’s company was sent to Herentals to protect the bridges against possible German paratroop attacks. The next day, Jean-Maurice met the girl he would marry one year later.

Medals and Decorations
1939-45 Star
Franc -Germany Star
Defence Medal
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
War Medal (1939-45)

After the War
After his demobilization on April 3, 1946, Jean-Maurice lived with his wife in Montreal. In April 1948 he returned to Belgium to work with the Belgian photographic product firm Gevaert (later Agfa-Gevaert). In 1956 he was transferred to Toronto, Canada with his wife and five children. In 1971 Agfa-Gevaert sent him to open a new branch in Vancouver. 3 years later he became site director for a national construction products wholesaler. Upon retirement in 1988, his employer offered him a position as inspector of North American operations. He finally retired in 2003.

“I believe all French Canadians have a special attachment to the country of their ancestors. The 1940 German invasion of France caused me great grief, and I closely followed events in the newspapers. After the August 19, 1942 raid on Dieppe, where I lost a cousin and a family friend, I decided to offer my services to the cause. It was an unforgettable experience for me, and I still feel deep sorrow thinking of those who lost their lives. I thank God for protecting me, as well as my parents who, I’m certain, prayed for me and my brother Laurent, who was in the Canadian navy.” 

Jean-Maurice’s wife Adrienne devoted years of genealogic research to the Leduc family. Her book “Antoine, Coureur de Bois, A novel”, was published in English in 1996 and in French in November 2007 by les éditions du Septentrion.

 

December 29, 1944, in Belgium, Photograph given by Jean-Maurice Leduc to his future wife.

 

Adrienne and Jean-Maurice Leduc, November 11, 2006, Remembrance Day.