A picture of Number 1 Company of the 7th Battalion in August 1916 at around the time Private George Alfred Newburn joined the battalion. It is believed that he served in Number 1 Company. (Courtesy of The British Columbia Regiment, Duke of Connaughts Own)

Remains of B.C. soldier identified in France, more than a century after death

Pte. George Alfred Newburn enlisted in Esquimalt at the age of 16 and died barely two years later

The remains of a Canadian soldier who was only 18 when he was killed in the First World War have been identified in France, more than 100 years after his death.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces say the remains were discovered in July 2017 near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil and were identified earlier this year as those of Pte. George Alfred Newburn.

READ MORE: Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

He enlisted in Esquimalt at the age of 16 and died barely two years later on Aug. 15, 1917, during the first day of the Battle of Hill 70, a diversionary offensive aimed at distracting German reinforcements away from the Passchendaele battlefield.

In a statement, National Defence says Newburn was born in England but moved with his family to B.C.

He was assigned to the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force just three days before the battle.

The department says members of Newburn’s family have been notified and he will be will be buried June 12 in France by his regiment, which is now known as the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), based in Vancouver.

The ceremony will take place at the Loos British Cemetery outside Loos-en-Gohelle.

More than 9,000 Canadian soldiers died in the Battle of Hill 70.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajan says honouring the service of fallen members is a dearly held value of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“In June, we’ll pay tribute to Pte. George Alfred Newburn as we will lay him to rest in the place he helped to liberate. Let us never forget the courage of our Canadian battalions during the Battle of Hill 70, and forever honour their service,” Sajan says in the statement.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUINN’S QUIPS: Port Alberni woman honoured for her love of helping

Carolina Tatoosh earns provincial honours for her work with Nuu-chah-nulth elders, youth

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

New gazebo for Victoria Quay opens with help from Alberni Rotary club

A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the… Continue reading

New Vancouver Island airline eyes Alberni’s airport for charter flights

ACRD has work to do to support air operations, says GM of environmental services

True crime podcaster on mid Island inspired by case of missing Island woman

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read