Episode available within Canada only. Video help?
Photo: Imperial War Museum
WWI Canadian soldiers' remains identified: Clifford Neelands, Lachlan McKinnon, William Simms and John Lindell died in the Battle of Amiens in 1918
Read the CBC.ca news story.

Another soldier identified: Sidney Halliday
Read the CBC.ca news story

When a French teenager discovered the remains of eight Canadian soldiers from the First World War in his back garden, it started a chain of events that not only opened an investigation by the Department of National Defence, but brought together distant relatives from around the world, some who didn’t even realize that they had relatives that died in the war.

The Battle of Amiens took place over four days in August 1918. The conflict marked the beginning of the end of the First World War. The Allied objective was to push the German army back away from Amiens so that it would be out of artillery range. The Canadian Corps consisted of 100,000 men including the 78th Battalion. Along with the Australians, they moved forward faster than anyone expected – until they reached the town of Hallu. Here, German reinforcements put up fierce resistance – thousands of Canadians were killed. Many were buried in shallow graves close to where they fell.

Are you looking for lost relatives of your own? Read how digitized records help Canadians leaf out family tree military history on CBCnews.

After the war, nature took its course - the scarred and barren battlefields were filled with growth once more. Houses were built and gardens were landscaped. Almost a century after The War To End All Wars, teenager Fabien Demeusere went out to his back garden in search of military paraphernalia – badges, belt-buckles and cartridges. He found a treasure trove of artefacts and started to dig. When he uncovered human remains the family contacted the local gendarmerie, who notified the Commonweath War Graves Commission – a body established to oversee the burial of all Commonwealth soldiers from both the First and Second World Wars.

Pte. William Simms of Canada's 78th Battalion died in the Battle of Amiens in France on Aug. 11, 1918. <br/>Photo: Rodger McLaughlinPte. William Simms of Canada's 78th Battalion died in the Battle of Amiens in France on Aug. 11, 1918.
Photo: Rodger McLaughlin

Over several weeks of excavation, eight remains were discovered. As soon as it was confirmed they were Canadian, the Department of National Defence was informed. The task of identifying the remains fell to Casualty Identification Coordinator, Laurel Clegg. Using official war records that contained ages and heights of the missing, Laurel was able to narrow down the possibilities. Genealogist Janet Roy helped find descendants of this group. DNA was used to positively identify four of the eight: Lieutenant Clifford Neelands and Privates Lachlan McKinnon, William Simms and Sgt. John Lindell .

Forgotten No More tells the stories of these men and follows their descendants to France. Guided by historian Andrew Iarocci, the descendants visit the battlefields where the men fought, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial where they are commemorated and the cemetery at Caix where they will be buried with full military honours in 2015.

Produced by Lynne Chichakian and directed by Liam O'Rinn for CBC-TV.

Credits (Click to expand)

FORGOTTEN NO MORE


Written, Directed and Produced by
LIAM O'RINN

Produced by
LYNNE CHICHAKIAN

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬-----------------------------------------------------

For Radio-Canada

Director
EMMANUEL MARCHAND

Reporter
JOSEE DUPUIS

------------------------------------------------------

Directors of Photography
JEAN-PIERRE GANDIN
MICHAEL SWEENEY CSC

Edited by
SIMON PARUBCHAK

Host/Narrator
ANN-MARIE MacDONALD

Music Consultant
PATRICK RUSSELL

Sound Mix
RON SEARLES

Sound Recordists
DIANE GAUDREAU
MARY WONG

Unit Manager
JANET BRIDEL

Visual Research
SONJA CARR

Assistant Editor
JEAN-FRANCOIS DION

Sound Design
ALAN GELDART

Graphic Design
TRAVIS HOPKINS

Colour Correction
ERIC BARNETT

_______________________________________

Executive Director, Documentary Programming
MARK STAROWICZ

Executive Producer, Doc Zone
MICHAEL CLAYDON

Senior Manager
WILMA ALEXANDER

Production Manager
DAVID WILSON

Associate Director
PETER LEE

Resource Coordinators
ANALISA AMOROSO
MEGAN BEECKMANS

Associate Business Manager
DINA PINO

Assistant to Mark Starowicz
NADINE SIMUNIC

Presentation Producer
DAVID GIDDENS

Web Producer
ANNETTE BRADFORD

Communications
SHANNON GALLAGHER

Doc Zone Theme Music
KEN MYHR

Packaging Editor
KEVIN BARNETT

Special Thanks

Edouard Brenet
Demeusere  Family
José Desorcy
Robert Heydari
Anthony Nero
Daniel Pereira
Dave Wawryk
Barnardo's Children's Charity (UK)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Alan Jarvis
Richard Brown

Department of National Defence
Directorate of History and Heritage

 

Archival Sources

Bridgeman Art Library
Getty Images
Google Earth
Imperial War Museum
KinoLibrary
Library & Archives Canada
Library of Congress
NFB
Royal Winnipeg Rifles Museum
Anita Zimmer

Contact Us:
CBC Documentary Unit
Room 6C200, Box 500, Station A,
Toronto, ON  M5W 1E6
Website:  cbc.ca/doczone


Produced with the participation of the
Canadian Media Fund
   


Produced by the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
© 2014
 

Also on CBC