In the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, nearly 28 000 members of Canada's Navy, Army, and Air Force went missing or were left with no known grave. Every year, the remains of some of these Canadian Armed Forces members are discovered. Continuing the tradition of Canada's Grave Registration Units, the Casualty Identification program attempts to identify newly discovered remains of military personnel who went missing during active service.
Avro Anson Mk 1 L7056 and its four crew members went missing on the 30th of October 1942 while performing a routine navigation exercise. The four crew members on L7056 were: Robert Ernest Luckock, Charles George Fox, Anthony William Lawrence, and William Baird. On October 23rd, 2013 the Anson and its crew were discovered in a remote forest near Port Renfrew, British Columbia. Upon discovery the Casualty Identification program worked to exhume and identify the Anson's crew.
During a night raid on the German front on the 8-9 June 1917, sixteen soldiers of the 49th Battalion were reported missing. In October 2003, skeletal remains of two soldiers were discovered near Avion, Pas-de-Calais, France. Due to their location and battalion buttons, they were believed to be two of the missing members of the 49th Battalion. The Casualty Identification program worked to identify the remains of Private Thomas Lawless and Private Herbert Peterson.
In 2006 and 2007, eight sets of remains were discovered near the village of Hallu, France. They were believed to be among the missing of the 78th Battalion that had fought near this village in the final part of the Battle of Amiens in 1918. Upon discovery, the Casualty Identification program worked to exhume and identify these remains. Five sets of the remains have been identified: Lt Clifford Neelands, Pte Sidney Halliday, LSgt Oscar Lindell, Pte William Simms, and Pte Lachlan McKinnon.
Kapelsche Veer was a significant German bridgehead in the Netherlands and the site of continued fighting from December 1944 to January 1945. The Lincoln and Welland Regiment had a leading role in expelling the entrenched German forces from this position as a part of Operation Elephant. In 2014 a set of remains was discovered on the southern bank of the river Maas near Sprang-Capelle. Using dental records the remains were identified the following day as Pte Albert Laubenstein.
During the night of 13-14 September 1944, the Algonquin Regiment attacked in an attempt to establish a bridgehead near Molentje, Belgium. When they were forced to withdraw, many dead and wounded were left behind, of which eight soldiers were later reported missing. In 2014, a set of remains was discovered, but only partially recovered, from a farmer’s field in Molentje, Damme, Belgium. In 2016, the Casualty Identification program fully recovered and identified the remains of Private Kenneth Donald Duncanson.
On December 13th 1940, during a search for missing Leading Aircraftsman Clayton Hopton two aircrafts collided over Lake Muskoka. The Nomad 3512, with Sgt Lionel Francis and LAC William Gosling, and the Nomad 3521, with Fl Lt Peter Campbell and LAC Theodore Scribner Bates, were lost in the lake. While Nomad 3512 and its crew were found in the weeks following the crash, Nomad 3521 was not recovered until June 2012. The Casualty Identification program worked to identify the crew and interred them in 2013.
If you have any questions regarding the Casualty Identification Program, please email us by selecting “History and Heritage” from the drop-down menu.