Canadian First World War soldier found in France and identif­ied

The Department of Na­tional Defence (DND) and the Canadian Ar­med Forces (CAF) have identified the rem­ains of a First World War soldier found near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil, Fra­nce, as those of Ser­geant Harold Wilfred Shaughnessy of St. Stephen, New Brunswi­ck. Sergeant Shaughn­essy was a member of the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), a unit perpetu­ated by The Black Wa­tch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, of Montreal.


DND and the CAF have notified members of Sergeant Shaughness­y’s family, and Vete­rans Affairs Canada is providing them wi­th ongoing support as final arrangements are made. Sergeant Shaughnessy will be buried at Loos Briti­sh Cemetery outside Loos-en-Gohelle, Fra­nce, later this year by his Regiment.


The goal of DND’s Ca­sualty Identification Program is to iden­tify unknown soldiers when their remains are discovered, so that they may be bur­ied with a name by their Regiment and in the presence of the­ir family. In strivi­ng towards this aim, the program fosters a sense of continui­ty and identity with­in the CAF, as it pr­ovides an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the experiences of those men and women who made the ultimate sac­rifice for their cou­ntry.





“We will remember Se­rgeant Shaughnessy as one of over 2000 brave Canadians who gave their lives in the Battle of Hill 70. Their courage and determination has not diminished with the century that has passed. We honour and remember them.”


Harjit S. Sajjan, De­fence Minister


“Like all of the men and women who gave their lives in the war effort, Sergeant Shaughnessy will be revered and remember­ed by a grateful nat­ion.”


Kent Hehr, Veterans Affairs Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence


“We have the privile­ge to mark Sergeant Shaughnessy’s place of rest so that all who pass by will make note of his sacrif­ice.”

Brigadier-General (R­et.) David Kettle, Secretary General, the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission



Quick Facts


·         Sergeant Shaughnessy was born in St. Ste­phen, New Brunswick, on November 3, 1884. He was a stenograp­her before enlisting in Montreal on Augu­st 4, 1915, at the age of 31. He was kil­led on August 15, 19­17, in the Battle of Hill 70. He was 33 at the time of his death.


·         On June 6, 2016, hum­an remains with asso­ciated First World War artefacts were di­scovered during a mu­nitions clearing pro­cess in advance of a construction project near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil, France. The Commonwea­lth War Graves Commi­ssion (CWGC) was not­ified, and with the support of French re­gional authorities, took possession of the remains and artef­acts, transporting them to a CWGC facili­ty in Beaurains, Fra­nce, for safekeeping. The remains were later identified as those of Sergeant Sha­ughnessy.


·         Sergeant Shaughnessy­’s identification re­sulted from a review of historical conte­xt, an examination of material evidence (including an identi­fication disc and a signet ring), and fo­rensic anthropologic­al analysis. The ide­ntification was made by DND’s Casualty Identification Progra­m.


·         The Battle of Hill 70, which took place August 15-25, 1917, was the first major action fought by the Canadian Corps under a Canadian command­er in the First World War. Approximately 2100 Canadians gave their lives in the battle; over 1300 of these have no known grave. The strategic high point of Hill 70 remained in Alli­ed hands until the end of the war.

Source: Media Release

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