Canada

Body of Canadian soldier returned to Canada

The body of a Canadian soldier who died last week while serving at a military base in the Persian Gulf region arrived in Canada for a repatriation ceremony on Monday afternoon.

Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey was born in Montreal, based in Dundurn, Sask.

The body of a Canadian soldier who died last week while serving at a military base in the Persian Gulf region arrived in Canada for a repatriation ceremony on Monday afternoon.

Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey's body arrived at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario at about 3:20 p.m. ET, the military said. National Defence Minister Peter MacKay and 10 other dignitaries  as well as 30 family members were present for the repatriation ceremony, the military said.
Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey was found dead early Friday in the living quarters of Camp Mirage, a putatively secret desert base in the Persian Gulf region. ((DND))

Downey, 37, was found dead early Friday in the living quarters of Camp Mirage, a secret desert base that offers logistical support to Canada's mission in Afghanistan. The location of Camp Mirage has been previously reported but cannot be revealed under terms of the Canadian Forces embedding agreement for Canadian media.

Officials have provided few details about his death, but have said it was non-combat related. Downey was born in Montreal and was a military police officer based in Dundurn, south of Saskatoon.

He leaves behind a pregnant wife, Cpl. Vanessa Downey, and a two-year-old son, Adam.

His family described him as a "committed patriot" who joined the military in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They also said in a release Sunday that he was overjoyed to hear of his wife's recently confirmed pregnancy and will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

A military funeral will be held later this week for Downey at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Toronto, where he was raised and where his father resides, after the coroner's office has completed an autopsy, the military said.

Downey's death is the 11th non-combat fatality of Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Others have included fatal stumbles, suicide, an accidental shooting and traffic accidents.

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