A burial party from the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry carried the soldiers to their last resting place at Caix British Cemetery (Photo: courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Eight Canadian First World War soldiers reburied on the Somme

Posted on centenarynews.com on 19 May 2015
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Eight Canadian soldiers have been reburied with full military honours in France, almost a century after they were killed in the closing months of the First World War.

The men were laid to rest at Caix British cemetery, close to the village of Hallu on the Somme where they fell in August 1918.

Family members, representatives of the Government of Canada, the Canadian armed forces and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission attended the ceremony on May 13th 2015.

Canada's army commander, Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, paid tribute to "eight Canadian heroes, whose ultimate sacrifice for this country has great meaning irrespective of the time that has passed."

Five of the soldiers were identified in 2014 following detailed anthropological, genetic and historical research. They were:

*Lieutenant Clifford Abraham Neelands

*Private Sidney Halliday

*Lance Sergeant John Oscar Lindell, 

*Private Lachlan McKinnon

*Private William Simms

Canada's Minister of Veterans Affairs, Erin O'Toole, said: "Ninety-seven years ago, eight brave soldiers fell in battle; until recently, their resting place was not known. Today, a grateful nation has the privilege to pay respect and express heartfelt gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice of these selfless Canadians."

Descendants of the soldiers gathered at Caix British Cemetery on the Somme (Photo: CWGC)

All the men were serving with the 78th Battalion, also known as the Winnipeg Grenadiers, when they were killed at the start of the Allied offensive which ultimately ended the Great War.

They died during an advance to capture the village of Hallu, east of Amiens, on August 11th 1918.

The discovery of their remains in 2006/7 represents the largest single find of unknown Canadian soldiers since the start of Canada's casualty identification programme nine years ago.

Carl Liversage, CWGC’s, Head of External Engagement in Western Europe, said: “These men fought together and died together, and today we are deeply honoured to lay them to rest together in one of the CWGC’s cemeteries, in a manner that befits the sacrifice they made. We recognise their courage and will always remember them.” 

Thirty soldiers of Winnipeg's 78th Battalion who took part in the attack at Hallu are among the 19,000 Canadian soldiers of the First World War who still have no known grave.

Sources: Veterans Affairs Canada; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Images courtesy of CWGC

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News