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Remembered Today:

Unknown Canadian Soldier


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taken from the details of 303926 Pte Oliver in White House Cemetery, Belgium on the CWGC website 

It plot 4, row a, grave 38 is an unknown soldier of the Canadian Labour corps 


the original cross contained the details of UBS 3rd Conn Btn and was found at I.19.d.5.9 but another form has been altered to 3/ CAN LAB BN 


the only soldier from the 3rd Canadian Labour Battalion who is missing 410310 Private Patrick Higgins who died in June 1917


in the same cemetery is William Boswell of the same unit and died around the same time and he was found at I.19.d.2.8 


if the unit details have been changed, there must have been something on the body to state that the unknown was a Canadian Soldier 


Only a short distance of 144 metres.  

is this the grave of Patrick Higgins.  

possible a case for someone with a interest in Canadian units to look at.  



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Thanks for the tip Will & Craig, I will get onto it! Anything I find, I will post here.

Edited by laughton
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  • Admin
1 hour ago, laughton said:

Thanks for the top Will & Craig, I will get onto it! Anything I find, I will post here.

I knew you'd be interested.



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Good eyes Will, and a great example why it is important to check the GRRF documents as well as the COG-BR. He is in the top row:




and then corrected as Will noted:




These are his casualty cards in the Canadian records. That shows his burial at 28.I.25.b.7.4 versus 28.I.19.d.5.9. Those two sectors (I.25.b and I.19.d) abut each other but the exact reference points are about 600 yards apart. Would the CWGC accept that variation - perhaps not in today's world, but read on .....




The solution to the puzzle is in the records of Private William Boswell #640232 that you listed - well done :thumbsup:! Although his casualty card gives the same general description of "1 mile south of Ypres Belgium", it is only when you go to his E-13 that it tells us that his initial burial was reported at 28.I.25.b.7.4, which is an exact match to Higgins. That differs by the same amount on the concentration report! Bingo!! This is exactly how we discovered the error in the KIPLING case with the McPherson records.






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To round off this case, we also must consider Private John Doherty #814785. He was with 3rd Canadian Divisional Employment Coy of the Canadian Labour Corps. He was KIA at Watou, so well out of the area at 27.K.4. That is about 7,000 yards east west of Poperinghe, Belgium


I haven't got to the bottom of the naming as of yet, as the 3rd Labour Battalion did change designation. The direct transformation organized on 15 June 1917, was to the 11th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops. They were all attached to the British Army, not the Canadian Corps.


Private John Whitworth McLintock #687655, also from the 11th CRT was also killed in Belgium 25 November 1917 but has a known grave at the Divisional Cemetery. That is a glitch, as he is listed as 4th Canadian Labour Battalion on GRRF 1814006, a unit that went to the Canadian Engineers. He was KIA at Elverdinghe 28.B.15, so some distance away in the rear area northwest of Ypres. His service record tells us he came from the 172nd Battalion and only arrived in the field on 2 November 1917 with the 4th Labour Battalion. He moved to the 11th CRT on 21 November 1917. Sadly, a short career with the CRT.


That leaves us only with Private Patrick Higgins #410310 KIA 28 June 1917. The war diary reports two (2) ORs killed that day, Privates Boswell and Higgins.




For my future reference, the reason I could not find the missing war diary pages for the 3rd Canadian Labour Battalion is because they are in with the 11th Canadian Railway Troops.

  • February 1917: organizing in the UK and then shipping out and working in Audruicq, France
  • May 1917: name has not changed yet, but they move the Hazebrouck 27.V.28 and then on to Poperinghe on the 21st

Jumping ahead, the war diary still lists them as 3rd Canadian Labour Battalion in October 1917, switching to the 11th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops in November 1917.

Edited by laughton
west not east of Poperinghe
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No additional work has been completed as of this date. I generally let them rest on the "back burner" for at least a few weeks to see if anyone has additional information to supply.


I do add each case to the list on my GWF BLOG PAGE:


Richard Laughton's Blog: The Unknowns


In that way, anyone can follow the progress of a case. There is a lot of background work to check on each of the items that might disrupt a case (already reported; other candidates; secondary regiments; incorrect records; etc.). This case, however, appears to be very "open & shut". You will see that Higgins is on the list of reports "To be Submitted". Your user name appears there as well to acknowledge that this is a case that you developed.


This is @Chesterboy case and so it is up to you to decide if you want to submit the case or turn it over to someone else to continue the work and make a submission to the CWGC. I would not assume that I can just "scoop" your find and make a submission. I gather from your first post that you want someone other than yourself to submit the case? The reports name all those that work on a case, unless they choose to stay anonymous, so I would need you to PM me your real name, email address, and research affiliation. That can be as simple as "Jim Smith, jmith@mymail.com, Private Researcher". If you have looked at any reports (they are all linked), you will see that the last attachment in each report has a small table at the bottom of the page with this information.



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It was just an observation, as my girlfriends relative is Pte Oliver.


We don't want to get involved anymore and wish to stay completely anonymous.  We thought we bring it to somebody attention.


After looking the Long Long Trail and this forum, we have got the answers to finding more apart Pte Oliver and his service during the first world war.  


We hope to visit Pte Oliver sometime in the summer.






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  • 2 weeks later...
On 26/01/2020 at 06:54, ss002d6252 said:

I knew you'd be interested.






Just so you know, I followed your lead and have prepared the report. A draft copy of that report is now on the CEFSG LIST not the GWF LIST as I keep the Canadians separate for the CWGC Canadian Agency in Ottawa (they have taken down the web site). I will keep it in the draft format (i.e. don't tell CWGC it has been posted) for a few days in order to review any comments and make any adjustments. Anyone can send in comments, it can only make the case stronger/better!


Thanks for the tip ... and keep them coming! This should be an easy case for the CWGC, however the problem is that they switched (January 2019) from the Canadian cases being first reviewed in Ottawa to all cases being reviewed in Maidenhead. As a result, it appears all the Canadian cases, no matter what the file number, went to the bottom of the pile. They have already approved British (Commonwealth) cases that were submitted some time after the Canadian cases. My initial case of December 2014, a slam dunk, has yet to be reviewed. I don't think they know what to do with them! If CWGC approves, do they send it back to Ottawa? They can't send it to the British "Service Authorities" as they won't have any information about the Canadians.


Not to worry, I was born with incredible patience and I will just keep plugging away! In addition, I don't get stress - I am a donor!




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Report Corrections:

  • Supporting Documents: date in front table changed from 1916 to 1917
  • Summary of Findings: Grave 9 changed to Grave 38; 3r changed to 3rd
  • Details of Findings:
    • Item #3 - added location of 3rd Battalion during this period in June 1917
    • Item #4 - added no men lost with Secondary Regiment status
    • Item #5 - added Attachment #5b and text for Private Boswell to confirm same burial area

One additional item I would like to resolve, to make this case airtight, is why they buried the two (2) men south of Ypres at 28.I.19.d when they were apparently killed 3,000 yards to the west in the vicinity of Dickebush 28.H.21-27?

  • were they wounded and taken to an Aid Station near Ypres?
  • was there an open cemetery at the Ypres location?

There are (were) a number of cemeteries around Voormezeele to the south, more in the 28.I.25 sector, where they were reported buried (White Cross Touring Atlas page 41 Sector F7) but nothing referenced at the location where they were recovered in the 28.I.19 sector. There is nothing on the CWGC list of Historic Cemeteries (DAL).

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