First World War Unknown Soldier Identified

Canadian soldier, Lance Corporal Morgan Jones Jenkins, of the First World War was identified on November 15.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) confirmed the identification of Jenkins, who was buried as an unknown soldier at the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery in Haucourt, France.

Jenkins was born in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1886. He was the son of Reverend John Jenkins and Elizabeth Florence Jenkins (née Capenhurst), who also lost two others during the First World War: Sergeant David Capenhurst Jenkins serving with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and Second Lieutenant Richard Jenkins serving with the Manchester Regiment (a British unit). After immigrating to Canada, he attended Manitoba Agricultural College before joining the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in Saskatoon and joined the 3rd University Company, based out of McGill University.

Sailed to England

The company sailed for England on September 4, 1915.

Shortly after arriving, he was transferred to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), wounded, promoted, and assigned to the Canadian Corps’ intelligence service for 18 months.

“Having rejoined PPCLI, he was declared killed in action on August 28, 1918, during the Second Battle of Arras, following a difficult advance on Jigsaw Wood, a position used by the enemy to defend the Fresnes-Rouvroy Line in France,” stated in a press release. He was 32 years old.

When the war ended, Jenkins’s name was engraved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The memorial was erected in memory of the Canadian soldiers killed in France during the First World War and who have no known grave.

Morgan Jones Jenkins (center), Manitoba Agricultural College Class Photo (1912)(Photo: University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission conducted extensive archival research and the Directorate of History and Heritage before the identification of Jenkins was confirmed in November 2019 by the Casualty Identification Review Board. The board consists of representatives from the Canadian Forces Forensic Odontology Response Team and the Canadian Museum of History.

“The identification of Lance Corporal Jenkins offers an opportunity for all Canadians to remember those who served during the First World War, and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canada,” said Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, “To the family of Lance Corporal Jenkins: please know that I and Canadians across our country will always remember the ultimate sacrifice of Lance Corporal Jenkins. Lest we forget.”

Casualty Identification Program

The Casualty Identification Program aims to identify the remains of more than 27,000 Canadians who lost their lives in service to their country so that they may be buried with their name, by their regiment, and in the presence of family.

“While unmarked graves are an unfortunate reality of the brutal fighting on the Western Front, those graves contain the remains of real people that gave their lives in service of their country,” stated Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, “The identification of Lance Corporal Jenkins is an important reminder of that, and I’m glad he will now receive the recognition that his service to Canada deserved.”

The CAF has notified the family of Jenkins’ identification and is providing the family support. A headstone rededication ceremony will be held as soon as possible at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery in France.

About the Research Team

Within the Directorate of History and Heritage, the CAF Casualty Identification Program identifies unknown Canadian service members when their remains are recovered. The program also identifies service members previously buried as unknown soldiers when evidence confirms the identification.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives during the First and Second world wars. The commission works with their partners to recover, investigate, and “identify those with no known grave to give them the dignity of burial and the commemoration they deserve,” the press release stated.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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