Remains of four Canadian WWI soldiers killed in France identified
The dates of the First World War are displayed on the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday July 30, 2014. The Canadian government will commemorate the war on Monday Aug 4, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, September 27, 2014 2:17PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 27, 2014 6:11PM EDT
WINNIPEG -- The federal government has identified the remains of four First World War soldiers from a Winnipeg-based regiment who killed while advancing on a small village in northern France nearly a century ago.
The defence department identified them in an announcement in Winnipeg on Saturday as Lt. Clifford Neelands, Lance Sgt. John Lindell and privates Lachlan McKinnon and William Simms, all of the Winnipeg Grenadiers.
The men died in the village of Hallu, in the Somme region, which they were advancing to capture following the first attack of the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.
Their remains, along with those of four other soldiers, were discovered in 2006 and 2007 in Hallu -- the largest single find of unknown Canadian soldiers since the government launched a casualty identification program in 2006.
Officials are still trying to identify the other four, who are also believed to be from the Winnipeg Grenadiers.
It's working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and in consultation with the soldiers' relatives to plan for an interment ceremony to provide the identified four with a final resting place.
The government says of the nearly 68,000 Canadian fatalities during the First World War, more than 19,000 have no known grave.
"The identification of these First World War soldiers is a meaningful demonstration that the sacrifice they made for Canada will not be forgotten," Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a release.
"In remembering these fallen soldiers who served such a valuable role in our history and in our wartime commitment, we reflect upon both the freedom they fought to preserve, and our appreciation for the present day sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen who are continuing this proud tradition."