Spr Thomas Ernest Gervais, 4th Fd Coy

Sapper Thomas Ernest Gervais' Headstone, Coriano Ridge Commonwealth War Cemetery

Thomas Gervais was born in Montreal, the son of Henry and Annie Gervais.  He father died when he was only two years old. He had been working three years for the Houdie Silk Company in Montreal as an operator when he enlisted.

Thomas enlisted on 21 September 1939 and was immediately sent to the United Kingdom with the 4th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers.  He trained and qualified as Pioneer Group ‘C’ in March 1940. He was appointed Acting Lance Corporal in February 1943 but reverted back to Sapper after being changed for being absent without leave two months later.

He was with the 4th Field Company through Sicily, the Liri Valley, the advance to Florence and the Gothic Line.  From the beginning of his service in the Royal Canadian Engineers, he had developed a strong affiliation with the Carleton and York Regiment.  It was in support of their assault over the Ausa River we find Sapper Gervais on the morning of 18 September 1944. His section having worked all night on the Ausa River crossing, were having breakfast in a church when a Kittyhawk ground support fighter dropped its bombs short of the target. Three were killed and eight wounded.  Sapper Thomas Gervais was among those killed.  He is buried in the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery. He was 24 years old.

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