Weaponry and Wartime Experience

Experiences

Marrying Combatants

Love and romance were not utter strangers at the front. On 19 March 1915 Blanche Lavallée enlisted in the Medical Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. She was 23 years old and had received her nursing certificate from Montreal's Hôtel-Dieu hospital a few weeks earlier. Lavallée would serve in a number of locations and have ample opportunity to see first-hand the worst of human suffering. In the spring of 1916 she met Lieutenant G. A. Henri Trudeau, an officer in the Royal Canadian Regiment who had moved over to the Royal Flying Corps. The correspondence that followed their separation due to their many postings would lead Blanche and Henri to the altar in 1924. In order to marry in those days, officers were required to have accrued savings and to obtain the permission of their commanding officer.

Henri Trudeau would become a brigadier and command the 12th Military District in Regina for part of the Second World War. Blanche Lavallée-Trudeau would be a pillar of the local Red Cross branch wherever her husband was posted. In 1918 she was one of two Canadian military nurses sent as delegates to Washington to persuade Congress that American war nurses merited officer rank.

Henri Trudeau and Blanche Lavallée-Trudeau had four daughters. 71