Three Canadian First World War soldiers found in France and identified

Private William Del Donegan, Private Henry Edmonds Priddle and Sergeant Archibald Wilson
Private William Del Donegan, Private Henry Edmonds Priddle and Sergeant Archibald Wilson. Photos: Submitted


“As Canada marks this year the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, we pay tribute to Private Donegan, Private Priddle, and Sergeant Wilson. They are among the nearly 61,000 brave Canadians who gave their lives during the First World War, so that all of us might live in peace and security. While there is no way to sufficiently thank them for their sacrifice, we forever hold them in our memories.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have identified the remains of three Canadian First World War soldiers found near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil, France, as Private William Del Donegan, Private Henry Edmonds Priddle, and Sergeant Archibald Wilson. The soldiers’ remains were discovered over the course of a year in the same area near the village.

Image gallery

  • Private William Del Donegan
  • Private Henry Edmonds Priddle
  • Sergeant Archibald Wilson

All three soldiers were from Manitoba and enlisted in Winnipeg. They died during the Battle of Hill 70 as members of the 16th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), a unit perpetuated by The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) of Victoria, B.C.

DND and the CAF have notified members of the three families, and Veterans Affairs Canada is providing them with ongoing support as final arrangements are made. The three soldiers will be buried by their regiment, in the presence of family and Government of Canada representatives, at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Loos British Cemetery outside Loos-en-Gohelle, France, on August 23 at 1:30 p.m. (Central European Time).

The goal of DND’s Casualty Identification Program is to identify unknown soldiers when their remains are discovered, so that they may be buried with a name by their regiment and in the presence of their family. In striving towards this aim, the program fosters a sense of continuity and identity within the CAF, as it provides an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the experiences of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“We are honoured to have shared in the efforts to bring these lost soldiers to the attention of Canadians, as we will be honoured again later this year to mark their graves with headstones so that all who pass by will know what they gave for us,” noted Brigadier-General (Retired) David Kettle, Secretary General of the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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