My great-grandfather served in World War I and II

All photos seen here are from World War I, except for the bottom left, which is the Canadian Veteran Reserves. My great-grandfather, Frederick Primeau is seen standing second-left. The barber photo is actually a W.W. 1 'postcard'. Primeau is the tall man far right. He fought in Flanders Field. (Photos: Whachell/ Hinz collection)

Like me, my mother (Corae Hionz, nee Rosalyn Hinz)  is a record keeper. She held on to most of our family memorabilia. She's from the era where you appreciated everything you had, because you had little. You reused, because you had to. She kept every address book she'd ever owned, important slips of paper, and treasured family photographs. So I am not too surprised that some of these photos I post here of my great-grandfather are now 100 years old! Because of her, we have a rich history and so many more memories...

My great-grandfather, Frederick Primeau lived in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. That's the historic location of the Duck Lake Massacre. Her grandmother used to feed Louis Riel when he was on the run. This is rich Canadian history. Fred Primeau used to be a farmer, trapper, barber and played the juice harp. He was like my mother's second father as her own father remarried after her mother died when she was young, and her grandmother raised my mother since birth (as her mom sewed in the furrier factory - "coats and hats for Europe" my mom says, and so she had to be away to work. Her father was away trapping for the Hudson's Bay Company.)

Everyone loved my great-grandfather. "He was quite a man," says my mother. "He had to tip his head to walk into most doorways in those days." It is my great-grandfather Primeau who carries the Native bloodline of Cree and Sioux; French-Canadian on the other side. We are Metis.

These photos are from World War 1 (1914 - 1918) when he fought near Flanders Field in France, and used to use his barber skills to cut the soldiers hair when they were not out fighting. This photo is actually a W.W. 1. 'Postcard' and he is the tall one.

Some of these photos of him are when he was older when W. W. 2 (1939-1945) came along, and he joined the Canadian Veteran Reserves in British Columbia. My mother tells us that they used to listen to the radio about the horror that was Hitler and Fred Primeau was adamant about opposing this evil power. She said it gave her nightmares and to her, Hitler was like the devil, and she was scared witless that he would come to Canada.

These wars are behind us now, and we now have the memories and the tribute we pay to those who fought and fell. I cannot imagine the hardship it put on our men, our women and their children, but I am grateful for our freedom and pray we never have to experience war in our future.

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