Audio

Finding Pte. Thomas Godchere: An Anishinaabe family's journey to honour a fallen soldier

CBC Thunder Bay Executive Producer Michael Dick made a trip to Vimy, France with a special gift for a fallen soldier from the First World War — who also happens to be his great great uncle.

CBC Thunder Bay Executive Producer Michael Dick made a trip to Vimy, France with a special gift

During the First World War, many Indigenous men from communities across Canada were quick to leave their reserves and join the battles in Europe.

Despite fighting for Canada, many of these soldiers returned home to unequal treatment, including being denied benefits.

Many others never made it home at all, and often, their families were not able to travel overseas to see where their loved ones were laid to rest.

Pte. Thomas Godchere was an Anishninaabe soldier who fought and died at Vimy Ridge  — one of the iconic battles of the First World War, and the one often said to have defined Canada as a nation  — where he is buried today.
Givenchy Road Cemetery 0:13

He was from Long Lake 58 First Nation, just outside Longlac in northwestern Ontario. He served as a scout, patrolling near enemy lines and was killed in battle on April 9, 1917.

Pte. Godchere is now buried in the Givenchy Road Cemetery in the town of Neuville-St. Vaast, one of the 108 Canadians who died at Vimy buried there, according to Veterans Affairs Canada.

Generations after he fell in battle, one of his descendants made the long journey to the site to deliver a special gift — an eagle feather, symbolizing strength, respect and courage.

Click below to hear CBC Thunder Bay Executive Producer Michael Dick's special feature: Finding Private Thomas Godchere.

Finding Private Thomas Godchere. CBC Executive Producer Michael Dick will tell us about his journey to France to find the resting place of his great, great uncle. And to make a special tribute. 7:25