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Four Canadians who died in World War 1 laid to rest in France

More than 100 years after they died, four Canadian soldiers were laid to rest in France Thursday morning.
More than 100 years after they died, four Canadian soldiers were laid to rest in France Thursday morning. Department of National Defence

More than 100 years after they died, four Canadian soldiers were laid to rest in France Thursday morning.

The funeral was for Private William Donegan, Private Henry Priddle, Private John Thomas, and Sergeant Archie Wilson, who died in August 1917.

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The soldiers’ remains were discovered in May, three of them at a construction site in near Vendin-le-Viel, and one of them in Lens.

Private William Del Donegan (left), Private Henry Edmonds Priddle (centre) and Sergeant Archibald Wilson (right). Department of National Defence

Lieutenant Patrick Rippon acted as funeral commander.

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“The reason they’re being recognized now is because they’ve been identified now,” he said.

Rippon is a member of the Canadian Scottish Regiment from Victoria, B.C., a unit descended from the 16th Battalion that three of the deceased soldiers were members of.

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Dr. Sarah Lochyer, the forensic anthropologist who helped identify the remains, said it’s not uncommon for Canadian soldiers to still be found abroad well after the battle is over.

“[In] 2017 there were eight new discoveries. And so far in 2018 there have been two. But the construction season has just started so who knows what we’ll find some time in the fall.”

The four died in the Battle of Hill 70.

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