Maurice Hervé Gelinas
PFC in 23rd Headquarters Co
Military occupational specialty: 521 (basic, administration)
Born 1921 in RI
County of residence at enlistment: Hartford County, CT
Other residence(s): Woonsocket, RI; Hartford, CT; East Granby, CT; Windsor Locks, CT
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Maurice Gelinas was born on February 20, 1921 in Woonsocket, RI, the second of five sons. His mother was an immigrant from Canada; his father was born in Massachusetts, but his family dated their ancestry in Quebec back to the 17th century. Both parents list French as their "mother tongue" on the 1920 census form.
NOTE: The two military documents he filled out directly both list RI as his birthplace, with Woonsocket specified on the draft registration. Other sources (including his obituary) say that he was born in South Bellingham, MA. This is likely not a contradiction since South Bellingham is right over the border, less than 5 miles from Woonsocket. The family was living in Bellingham in the 1920 census, prior to Maurice's birth.
The family appears to have moved to Hartford, CT when Maurice was a child. Maurice had a grammar school education, and joined the Army on September 7, 1940 (a little over a month before the draft was initiated). He served in Africa and the Middle East before being sent to the European theatre.
He was discharged on September 1, 1945 with the rank of Corporal. (He registered for the draft the following week; this post-facto registration was common among men who had enlisted prior to the draft but "came of age" during their service.)
Back in Connecticut he went to work for his older brother's roofing business. Hartford city directories in 1946, 1949, 1953, and 1958 list him variously as a "carpenter," "roofer employee," "grinder," and "machinist," but his obituary says he was a retired roofer.
Maurice married Antoinette LaRoche on April 13, 1946 in Hartford. They had two sons and a daughter: Clifford, Michael, and Diane. Maurice and Antoinette divorced sometime after 1960.
He is listed variously in different sources as a resident of East Granby, Hartford, and Windsor Locks, CT.
Maurice died on August 7, 1986, and is buried at Soldier's Field in Wilson, CT.
1920 Census (re parent data)
1940 Enlistment Record
1945 Draft Registration (note that men who were already in the Army on October 16, 1940 often registered for the draft after they were discharged from the Army, to comply with the law)
1946 Marriage Record
1953 Hartford City Directory
1986 VA Death Record
1986 Obituary from Hartford Courant
1986 Find a Grave record (note that his middle name is misspelled on the gravestone with a "U" instead of a "V")