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This article was published 13/5/2015 (744 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA – Eight Winnipeg soldiers who died in France during the First World War were finally laid to rest with full military honours today.
The soldiers were from Winnipeg’s 78th Battalion, known as the Winnipeg Grenadiers.
The men were killed on Aug. 11, 1918 during a battle in the small village of Hallu, France, about 125 km northeast of Paris. More than 46 members of the Grenadiers were killed and 54 were listed as missing.
In 2006, a French teenager stumbled across the remains of a soldier while digging in his yard. An excavation in the area led to the discovery of an additional seven bodies in 2006 and 2007, five of which were identified last year by the Canadian Armed Forces Casualty Identification Program. It’s believed the other three were also members of the Grenadiers but thus far they haven’t been identified.
The discovery of the bodies is the largest single find of unknown Canadian soldiers since the identification program began in 2006.
All eight were buried in the Caix British Cemetery in Caix, France, just a few kilometers west of where they had lain unknown for nearly nine decades.
Family members of the men attended the ceremony, with assistance from Veterans Affairs Canada.
The five soldiers who could be identified were:
Lt. Clifford Neelands, 26, who was born in Barrie, Ont, and moved to Winnipeg with his family. He lived on Dorchester Avenue and was working as a real estate agent when he enlisted in May 1916.
Lance Sgt. Oscar Lindell, 33, born in Sweden, worked as a railroad foreman when he enlisted in July 1915.
Private Sidney Halliday, 22, was born in England and listed his employment as a farmer in Minto, Man., when he enlisted in 1915. He was engaged when he left for Europe.
Private William Simms, 24, was from Russell, Man., and worked as a farmer before enlisting in 1916.
Private Lachlan McKinnon, 29, born in Scotland, he worked as a butcher before enlisting in September 1915. He got married after he was deployed to Europe.
Their names are all inscribed along with more than 11,000 others on the ramparts of the Vimy Ridge Memorial, all soldiers who were missing in France at the end of the First World War.
There are more than 19,000 Canadian soldiers who died in the First World War whose bodies were never found and are listed as missing.
The eight soldiers are now buried with 365 other Commonwealth servicemen in the cemetery in Caix.