The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) laid to rest four Canadian First World War soldiers, in France August 23 to 25. Each soldier was buried in the nearest appropriate Commonwealth War Graves cemetery to where he fell.
“On this sober occasion, we are given the opportunity to reflect upon the courage and determination of those Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, in the First World War and after,” said Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan.
On August 23, DND and the CAF laid to rest an unidentified Canadian First World War soldier at Canadian Cemetery No. 2 in Neuville-St. Vaast. The soldier’s identity could not be determined, as he was found without personal or unit identifiers. He would have died between the end of October 1916 and the end of July 1917, the nine-month period of action at Vimy. The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, and the Commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, were in attendance at the ceremony.
On August 24, Private Reginald Joseph Winfield Johnston and Sergeant Harold Wilfred Shaughnessy were laid to rest by their units at Loos British Cemetery in Loos-en-Gohelle. The two soldiers died in the Battle of Hill 70, of which Canada is marking the 100th anniversary this year. Pte Johnston, of Fairford, Manitoba, was a member of the 16th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, a unit perpetuated by The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) of Victoria, British Columbia. He died on August 15 or 16, 1917, at the age of 22. Sgt Shaughnessy, of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was a member of the 13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, a unit perpetuated by The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Montreal. He died on August 15, 1917, at the age of 33. The families of the soldiers were present at the ceremony, with the support of Veterans Affairs Canada.
August 25, Sgt James Alexander Milne was laid to rest by his unit at Orchard Dump Cemetery in Arleux-en-Gohelle. Sgt Milne, of Kincardineshire, Scotland, and then Calgary, Alberta, was a member of the 10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, a unit perpetuated by The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Calgary Highlanders. He died on April 28, 1917, at the age of 34, in connection with an operation against a German position known as the Arleux-Loop.