Lieutenant Alfred Hubert Poirier (1918-1944)
Lieutenant Alfred Hubert Poirier is the uncle of Judy Langley and her six sisters. Alfred was born and raised in Cape Breton in West Arichat. His mother was Sabine Rose Leblanc Poirier and his father was Joseph Hubert Poirier. Alfred was the second oldest. He had four sisters: Rita, Estelle, Laure and Germaine. Judy’s mother is Laure. Alfred attended Dalhousie University in Halifax and studied to be a lawyer. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees prior to joining the service.
He served in the Royal Canadian Regiment and died at the age of 26 on October 17, 1944 in Italy during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944, an advance across one flooded river after another in atrocious autumn weather.
On September 3, 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.
Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adratic sector. Because some Allied divisions were transferred to support the new offensive in France, the Germans dug in on a number of key defensive positions and the advance stalled as winter set in.
Alfred is buried in the Cesena War Cemetery site, which was selected in November 1944, and burials were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. Most of those buried in this cemetery died during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944. There are 775 soldiers buried there from various Commonwealth countries.