The National Vimy Memorial in France to Canadians who fought and died in the First World War

Four Canadian soldiers who fell in France in 1918 identified

Posted on on 08 October 2014
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The remains of four Canadian First World War soldiers found in France have been identified after eight years of painstaking historical, scientific and genealogical research.

Canada's Government made the announcement in Winnipeg on September 27th 2014, in honour of the fact that the men were serving with the Winnipeg Grenadiers when they fell in the Somme region in August 1918.

They've been named as Lieutenant Clifford Neelands, who was 26 when he died; Lance Sergeant John Lindell, 33; Private Lachlan McKinnon, 29; and Private William Simms, 25.

The soldiers died in the days following the start of the Battle of Amiens in August 1918, the Allied offensive which ultimately ended the war.

Their remains were discovered in the village of Hallu, together with those of four other Canadians who've yet to be identified, in 2006/7.

The Canadian Government and military are now consulting the Commonwealth War Graves Commmission and relatives on a final resting place for the men.

James Bezan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, said: “It is fitting that during the centenary of the First World War, we have the opportunity to afford these young soldiers the honour and respect owed to their sacrifice. 

"The years of diligent research and scientific efforts undertaken to recognise our fallen represent the legacy of admiration and regard due to these soldiers, and our responsibility to provide them with the dignity they deserve.”

The discovery of the remains in Hallu represents the single largest find and identification of unknown Canadian soldiers since the start of the casualty identification programme at the Department of National Defence in 2006. 

Of the nearly 68 000 Canadians who died during the First World War, more than 19 000 have no known grave.

Source: Government of Canada

Image: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News