Above images: Left, Private John Lambert (left) and an unknown soldier (right). Photo courtesy of the Coady Family. Right, Unknown soldier tomb image courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada/Anciens Combattants Canada.
Four soldiers who fought and gave their lives during the First World War will be laid to rest at the end of June in Europe.
Three of the soldiers are unknown but are associated with the Battle of Hill 70. One soldier is an Unknown Canadian soldier from the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and two are not confirmed, Canadian soldiers.
They will be buried as Unknown soldiers of the Great War at Loos British Cemetery, Loos-en-Gohelle, France.
Days after their ceremony, Private John Lambert’s remains will be buried by his unit, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, at New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, in a joint ceremony with the United Kingdom.
“The families of Canadian soldiers missing in action should know that this country will never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by these courageous men. We cannot put a name on all their headstones, or comfort their loved ones, but their story endures, and the memory of their bravery and dedication to serving Canada will be carried in our hearts,” said Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.
Private John Lambert’s remains were discovered in 2016, with his identification being announced by DND in Dec. 2020.
Private Lambert died at the age of 17 in Aug. 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck. He will be buried alongside two unknown British Soldiers of unknown regiments, an unknown British soldier of the Royal Inniskilling Regiment, an unknown British soldier of the Hampshire Regiment, an unknown British soldier of the Royal Fusiliers, and an unknown German soldier.
Private Lambert’s family and government representatives will be in attendance.
According to the press release, the burial of Private John Lambert, the unknown British soldiers, and the unknown German soldier will occur at 11 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) on June 30, 2022, at New Irish Farm Cemetery, near Ypres in Belgium. The public is asked to arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. and to understand that space may be limited.
The Unknown Soldiers
According to a press release from the Department of National Defence, the remains of the three soldiers were discovered during construction projects near Lens, France, in 2011 and 2017.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was notified and took possession of the remains and associated artifacts. The cases were subsequently investigated by the Canadian Armed Forces’ Casualty Identification Program, which works to identify unknown Canadian service members when their remains are discovered.
They closed the case in Nov. 2019. However, maternal and paternal DNA profiles have been obtained from these sets of remains with the hope of future identification.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. Using an extensive archive, the Commission works with its partners to recover, investigate, and identify those with no known grave to give them the dignity of burial and the commemoration they deserve.
According to the press release, the burials of the three unknown soldiers will take place at 2:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) on June 27, 2022, at Loos British Cemetery, Loos-en-Gohelle in France.
“Those who put on the uniform give up so much in service to Canada, and those who make the ultimate sacrifice must never be forgotten – it is our duty to remember them. I join all Canadians in remembering and paying tribute to these courageous soldiers,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.