Image: The Teepee Creek Stampede showing chuck wagon races, ca. 1948 (SPRA 2009.023.08)
Regiment: Regina Rifles
Henry Durocher was born on March 26, 1917 in Peace River AB to parents Henry and Julia Durocher. As a child, he and his family moved to several places including Lac Cardinal, Clear Hills (near Dixonville where he started school), Gordondale, Dawson Creek BC, and Clear Hills again, where he started his own small trapline. When he was 20, Henry moved to Notikiewan, and he purchased a trapline which was located in Hay River. He trapped there until the war broke out. On May 22, 1940 Henry joined the Canadian Army, taking his basic training in Camrose. For one year he was an instructor at the Currie Barracks in Calgary. In 1942, on his 25th birthday, he was headed for England on a troop ship. As a full Corporal, he left for France on D-Day in June, 1944 with the 3rd division on the Regina Rifles. That same year on July 8 he was wounded for the first time and spent one month in the hospital, and then was sent to Liverpool Canal, where within one day he was wounded again. After staying in the hospital 8 days, he jumped the fence and returned to the front lines! In the winter of 1944-45, his troop was in Holland, and Germany. By this time, Henry had earned the rank of Sergeant. Being wounded a third time, 60 miles from Berlin, he was flown to England and was still in the hospital when the war ended. He received an Honourable Discharge on October 19, 1945. Henry received various war medals: 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, and the War Medal 1939-45. After the war, Henry returned to Notikiewan and worked at a sawmill and other jobs. For the last 44 years of his life, he lived in the Sexsmith area, being involved in the Teepee Creek Stampede since the 1950’s. He drove a chariot team and won several times. He worked for Charlie White, Norm Hollingworth, and Jerry Stojan for numerous years. Henry was married to Julia, and they had one son: Dave. At age 78, on August 20, 1995, Henry passed away in Sexsmith. He was buried in the Whitelaw Cemetery.
Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over p. 1149 (Name in Roll of Honour), p. 881
Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune – Aug. 21, 22, 23, 1995 – Obituary (some dates differ from the previous source.)
Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.