Destrubé family - Scrapbook: family; homesteading in Alberta, Canada; and the First World War, ca. 1860-1922


A scrapbook compiled by a member of the Destrubé family, possibly Georges, Ernest, or Maurice Destrubé, after the First World War. The scrapbook contains materials related to the deaths of Guy and Paul Destrubé, both killed in action during the Battle at Miraumont, Somme, France in 1917; correspondence; drawings by Georges and Guy Destrubé; plans and diagrams for the Destrubé homestead in Rife, Alberta; and photographs, including, family in England, Alberta homesteading, and the First World War in England and France. Destrubé Family Biography: The bulk of the material in the Destrubé family fonds, represented in this exhibit, concerns the children of Ernest Destrubé, and in particular, the siblings who immigrated to Canada in the early part of the twentieth century – Maurice, Georges, Guy, Paul and Sylvie. It includes their lives as homesteaders in Alberta, experiences on the Front of the three brothers (Georges, Guy and Paul) who signed up to fight in 1914, and life just after the war. Ernest Destrubé, “Pumps” to his family, was born in France in 1850. After being wounded in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), Ernest began a career in banking. He eventually moved to England to be Assistant Manager of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris, located at 52 Threadneedle Street in London. He lived with his wife Elizabeth (nee Farmery, 1856-1897) and their six children--Maurice, Georges, Dan, Paul, Guy, and Sylvie--on Adelaide Road in London. Following Elizabeth’s death, Ernest married Alice Bauche in 1900. They had a son, Andre, in 1901. After the War, Ernest moved back to France. He lived at Les Clematites, near Beaune, until his death in 1923. Dan Louis [1879-1940] was born in London and spent most of his life in France. Paul Maurice (nickname, Jack) was born in London in 1885. He followed his father into banking but decided soon after to take on the adventure and challenge of homesteading in Canada. He left England in 1906 for the US, where he learned farming from an uncle in Missouri, before traveling to Rife, Alberta to stake his claim. His first wife Margaret (Maggie, née Lebow) died in childbirth in 1918. After the war Maurice married Pevensey (Pem) Wheeler, former hospital headmistress and friend to Sylvie. Maurice eventually (1940s) sold the homestead and moved to Victoria, British Columbia. He married Eleanor Mary Ellis (née Sandeman) in 1950 and later built a cabin on Piers Island. Maurice died in 1978. Marguerite Sylvie (Sylvie, or Syl) was born in London in 1882. After the death of her mother in 1897, she took on the role of mother to her young brothers. Sylvie also made the journey to Canada to help her brothers in Rife. She returned to England during the First World War to work for the Red Cross, Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). Sylvie was engaged to family friend, Arthur Fleming, who was killed in action in the War [1916?]. After returning to Canada, Sylvie married Bert Spencer. Together they ran a store in Alberta until, in their retirement, they moved west to Victoria, British Columbia. Leon Georges [b. 1888], Paul Jean [b. 1893] and Charles Guy [b. 1891] were born in London. Guy left England to join his brother in Canada in 1907, followed by Georges in 1908 and Paul in 1913. Georges was a talented sketch artist. He had some training in England but decided not to pursue art as a career. Soon after War was declared, the boys travelled to Edmonton (first Paul and later Georges and Guy) to sign on with the Alberta dragoons, however, the first battalion had already left for the east. Pumps sent them enough money to cover the trip to England, where the three brothers signed up with the Royal Fusiliers. After close to a year of training in England, Paul, Guy and Georges left for France to serve in the same company of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers. In spring of 1916, Georges was wounded at Souchez—shot through the lung. He was invalided to England and convalesced at Ebbwvale, Wales. Although he made it back to France in January 1917, his return to the Front was delayed by quarantine for Mumps. Due to this twist of fate, Georges missed joining his brothers in the Battle at Miraumont, where Paul and Guy were among the several -hundred soldiers killed, February 17, 2017. In the ensuing months, Georges applied for and was granted a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. He returned to England for training and spent the rest of the War ferrying planes to and from France. After the War, Georges married Suzanne Fournier (nickname Mémé). They lived for a few years in Rife, Alberta but Georges found that he was no longer able to do the difficult physical labor required on the farm. He sold his share of the homestead and moved with Suzanne to Victoria, British Columbia. At some point Suzanne and Georges changed their last name to d’Estrubé, although, the rest of the family maintained the original spelling. In 1949 Georges and Maurice made a nostalgic return visit to Rife where Georges died suddenly at age 61. References: Hendrickson, James E., Ed. Pioneering in Alberta: Maurice Destrube’s Story, Historical Society of Alberta. 1981. Stone, Christopher, Ed. A History of the 22nd (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers (Kensington). 1923.

In Collection:
Subject Language Date created Resource type Rights statement Extent
  • 1 scrapbook (64 pages) ; 28.5 x 37.5 cm
Geographic coverage Coordinates
  • 51.75, -2.83333
  • 51.50094, -0.19175
  • 50.95194, 1.85635
  • 54.16688, -111.00179
  • 51.77714, -3.20792
  • 50.09444, 2.72944
  • 53.76686, -111.96853
  • 69.50061, -121.50445
  • 49.24966, -123.11934
  • 54.38347, -111.0351
  • 51.50853, -0.12574
  • 50.39083, 2.74278
  • 54.26686, -110.93508
Physical repository Collection
  • Victoria to Vimy First World War Collection
Provider Genre Archival item identifier
  • Accession Number: 2016-001
Fonds title Fonds identifier Is referenced by Technical note
  • Metadata by K. Bohlman and M. Parker. Transcriptions by M. Gerber. Migration metadata by KD.
  • This material may be protected by copyright. Use of this material is permitted for research and private study purposes only. For all other uses, contact University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives.

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