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Canadian casualties reinterred

13 May 2015

Eight First World War casualties of the Canadian Infantry have been re-buried in a ceremony at Caix British Cemetery, France, with five positively identified following anthropological and historical research. 

The CWGC received a report that possible war-time remains had been discovered in the back garden of a residential property in Hallu, in the Somme region, in 2006. 

Three sets of remains were carefully recovered, along with badges, insignia and military equipment. The items found indicated that the remains were of First World War soldiers of the Canadian Forces.

A further five sets of remains were discovered in close proximity a year later, again accompanied by badges and insignia, specifically from the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg), and one identification tag.

Research conducted by the Canadian military authorities established that the location of the discovery in Hallu aligned to the position of the front-line held by the 78TH Battalion on 10th - 11th August 1918. 

During that battle, the battalion suffered thirty five missing and it was anticipated that the eight soldiers recovered from the garden were therefore amongst this group.

From anthropological and historical research, the initial list of thirty five possible candidates was reduced to a primary list of twelve.  DNA was successfully obtained from the remains recovered and so a search was undertaken for the present-day decedents of each of the twelve primary candidates.

To date, five of the eight casualties have been positively identified as follows:

• Lieutenant Clifford Abraham Neelands
• Private Sidney Halliday, 148581.
• Lance Sergeant John Oscar Lindell, 147186.
• Private Lachlan McKinnon, 148130.
• Private William Simms, 148691.

All served in the 78th Bn., Canadian Infantry.

The ceremony, organised by the Canadian Authorities, was attended by family members of the soldiers and representatives from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and the CWGC.

Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery reburial

Canadian Second World War casualty Pte Albert Laubenstein will also be reinterred in May, with a service held at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.