Anseline Odilon Gagne was born 13 December, 1894 in the quaint village of St. Anselme, PQ, Canada to Leon & Louise (Gosselin) Gagne. His siblings included Alice, Napoleon, Lumina, Clarida, Arthur, Lea, Elmire, Marie Louise, George, Maria Anne, Erneste, and Alyre.
He grew up in St. Anselme, moving to Berlin, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA between 1911 and 1917, where he filled out a WW1 registration form. Although his name in earlier records is “Odilon,” he signed his name as “Odilion.”
This same form shows that he was of medium height and build, with light brown eyes and black hair. In 1917 he was residing at 54 York Street.
Odilion Gagne’s burial card shows that he was a Corporal in Co. B, 148th Infantry, 37th Division. A General HQ, A.E.F letter dated Feb 8th, 1919 states: “Reference casualty 330 Private Odilon Gagne Company B 148 Infantry 1,748,568 killed in action. November 2 family received letter dated November 3– from Private George Parent same organization stating that Odilon Gagne was seriously wounded in the attack of October 28 and was in hospital give present condition and where-abouts.”
The official records state that Corp. Odilion Gagne was killed in action 31 October 1918, probably in Belgium as part of the Ypres-Lys Campaign. Like his brothers-in-arms he was at first buried near his death place in Europe. When the war ended, at the request of his brother, Arthur, Odilion’s body was returned to his original home in Canada–St. Anselme–where he was buried in the family plot at the Catholic cemetery.
Odilion Gagne’s can be found inscribed upon the memorial tablets in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, Concord. There is a WW1 monument in Berlin, New Hampshire but it is unknown if Odilion’s name appears on it.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].