A Canadian First World War soldier has been buried with full military honours in Vimy, France.
The remains of Pte. Thomas Lawless were discovered in October 2003, but his identity wasn’t confirmed until Jan. 10. He was buried Tuesday at La Chaudiere Military Cemetery in Vimy.
« The courage and dedication of our Canadian First World War heroes will never be forgotten, » Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement. « After all these years, we finally recognize Private Thomas Lawless with the honour and dignity he so greatly deserves. »
Lawless was born April 11, 1889, in Dublin, Ireland. He enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in Calgary and was a member of the 49th Battalion, which fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
His remains were found alongside another body at a construction site in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge. The other soldier was identified in February 2007 as Pte. Herbert Peterson of Berry Creek, Alta.
Lawless was identified after a combination of anthropological, historical and biological research, including genetic testing, osteology, facial reconstruction and military historic records, were conclusive.
Minister of Veterans Affairs Jean-Pierre Blackburn called honouring Lawless on Tuesday « gratifying. »
« We are now able to share Private Lawless’s full story of courage with other Canadians and assure his family that we will remember him, » Blackburn said.
Another unknown Canadian soldier will be buried Thursday at Pozieres British Cemetery in Somme, France. The soldier’s skeletal remains were found in Pozieres, on April 9, 2009, but the defence department said he couldn’t be identified.