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Eddie Lorie Babin Service Number: N/A National Army: United States Rank: Corporal Date of Birth: December 19, 1895 Place of Birth: Belleville, Yarmouth Co., Nova Scotia US Registration Draft: June 5, 1917 Registration Card No.: 292 Location: Lynn, Mass. US Age at Registration: 21 Employment: General Electric, Lynn, Mass. US Martial Status: Single Date of Enlistment: May 27, 1918 Enlistment County: Lynn, Massachusetts, US Enlistment Division: National Army Age at Enlistment: 23 Date of Discharge: May 26, 1919 Eddie Babin was the son of Louis F. and Rose Babin of Belleville, Yarmouth Co., NS and brother of Alcide, Eddie, Vincent, and Annie. He left Canada to work in the United States and was employed at General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts. He was there at the time of the National Draft and he registered on June 5, 1907. Called up for general enlistment, he was assigned to the 7 Company, 152nd Depot Brigade stationed at Camp Upton, located in Yaphank on Long Island in Suffolk County, New York. The role of the Depot Brigade was to receive and organize recruits, provide them with uniforms, equipment and initial military training. Camp Upton, with a capacity of 18,000 troops was one of three transient embarkation camps directly under the control of the New York Port of Embarkation during World War I. Eddie remained at Camp Upton until June 19, 1918. He was then assigned to 5 Company, 1st Repair Shop Unit at Camp J E Johnson, Florida until July 24, 1918. The Camp was a major training center for Army quartermasters. He was next assigned to Butchery Company 340 (Quartermaster Detachment) where he served until November 21, 1918. His last assignment was to the Quartermaster Detachment at Beau Desert Hospital Center, France, where he served until his return to the United States and discharge from the military on May 26, 1919. He now held the rank of Corporal. The Beau Desert Hospital Center was located in the vicinity of Bordeaux, and construction was begun in December of 1917. The site, about 5 miles west from Bordeaux and near the small village of Pichey, was a nearly level tract of land of approximately 550 acres. Originally it was planned that there would be ten base hospital units at this center, each of one thousand beds, with an emergency expansion to fifteen hundred beds, but during the summer of 1918 the construction of 7 additional units was authorized. A railroad track built by the American engineers, which connected with the P. & O. Railway, ran through the center. The hospitals were located on either side of the track, thus affording rapid de-training and entraining of patients. The storehouses and laundry were also situated on this line, so that freight could easily be removed from cars to the loading platform. The Quartermaster Detachment storehouses and laundry were also situation on this line so that freight could easily be removed from cars to the loading platform. Construction was under the direction of the United States Army Engineers. A large force of men was employed for this work and during the summer of 1918 more than four thousand American soldiers, prisoners of war, Chinese, and other labourers were at work. Nine hospital units were eventually completed, in addition to the convalescent camp, steam laundry, and warehouses, making a total of nearly six hundred buildings. Twelve miles of gravel walk and eight miles of board walk were constructed and 4 miles of roads and over 11 miles of railroad track were built. Shortly after the Armistice began, the Beau Desert Center was changed into an evacuation center. The center Quartermaster Office was organized July 22, 1918, when it was divided into the following departments, each under charge of an officer or non-commissioned officer: subsistence, finance, clothing and miscellaneous supplies, fuel procurement and issue, laundry, salvage and disposal of wastes, corral and stable, Quartermaster Corps detachment and labour troops. While serving at the Beau Center Hospital Center, Corporal Babin was involved in the construction of the hospital complex, a story he would later share with his family. As a boy at home in Nova Scotia, he had helped his father who was a contractor and thus had knowledge of construction. His ability to speak French was an asset when dealing with the local population. In the years following the war and his eventual return to Canada, Corporal Babin became a contractor in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Sources: US draft and enlistment documents Hospital Center Beau Desert Information provided by his daughter Joan (Babine) Semple.
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Remembering World War I Yarmouth Connections
Eddie Lorie Babin
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