Canada identifies grave of World War One soldier

OTTAWA — The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has finally identified the gave of a previously unknown soldier from the First World War.

Officials say historical and archival research confirmed the identity of a previously unknown First World War grave in Ypres, Belgium, as that of Corporal Frederick Percival Bousfield.

“Corporal Bousfield made the ultimate sacrifice while helping wounded comrades to safety, saving lives and laying down his own in the process,” said Defence Minister Anita Anand in a statement.

“The story of his selfless commitment brings us grief and inspiration over a century later. We must never forget this young man and the others like him who served their country with such courage.”

Born in England on March 8, 1896, Bousfield immigrated to Canada in 1912, settling down with his family in Winnipeg. He went to France with the 43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in February 1916.

Bousfield’s battalion took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, outside Ypres, Belgium, from June 2 to 13, 1916.

“The objective for the Canadians was to defend their position on Mount Sorrel, a piece of high ground in the Ypres Salient which offered a view of the town of Ypres and the surrounding area,” the Department of National Defence said.

Bousfield was killed by an enemy shell on June 7, 1916, while carrying wounded soldiers to safety, according to letters received by his family from members of his battalion. He was 20 years old.

The CAF says it has notified Bousfield’s family and will hold a headstone rededication ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bedford House Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium.

“Corporal Bousfield’s name was engraved on the Menin Gate Memorial, along with the other soldiers killed in the Ypres Salient in Belgium during the First World War who have no known grave,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of veterans affairs.

“Now, his final resting place is known. His courage and commitment to service before self must never be forgotten. That is the debt we owe him, and all fallen Canadian soldiers and their families.”