A Canadian soldier from the First World War was laid to rest today with military honours at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Loos British Cemetery outside Loos-en-Gohelle, France.
The family of the soldier was in attendance, with the support of Veterans Affairs Canada.
“The identification and burial of Private George Alfred Newburn presents an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon and remember those who served during the First World War. As we pay tribute to this Canadian soldier, let us never forget the courageous service of our Canadian battalions during the Battle of Hill 70,” said Minister of National DefenceHarjit S. Sajjan.
On May 27, 2019, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces announced the identification of the remains of a Canadian soldier from the First World War discovered near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil, France, as Private George Alfred Newburn, 18 years old.
Private Newburn enlisted in Victoria, British Columbia. He died on August 15, 1917, in the Battle of Hill 70, as a member of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (British Columbia), Canadian Expeditionary Force, a unit perpetuated by the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Battle of Hill 70 took place August 15-25, 1917. It was the first major action fought by the Canadian Corps under a Canadian commander in the First World War. Approximately 2,100 Canadians gave their lives in the battle, more than 1,300 of whom have no known grave.
The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces provide a dignified and respectful burial to fallen service members who are recovered and identified. In Europe, in Canada, and around the world, their valiant actions provided us with the opportunity to become the nation we are today.
The program fosters a sense of continuity and identity within the Canadian Armed Forces, by providing an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the experiences of those women and men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“By honouring Private George Alfred Newburn for his service to Canada, and shedding light upon his ultimate sacrifice, we gave his family, and the greater military family, a sense of closure. The recovery of a missing soldier, sailor, or aviator has great meaning, regardless of how much time has passed. Today’s burial demonstrated that we will never forget our fallen,” said Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre, Commander Military Personnel Command in a press release.