First World War Canadian soldier identified

Corporal Howarth Canadian soldier

Canadian Armed Forces

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have confirmed that remains recovered in Vendin-le-Vieil, France, are those of Corporal Percy Howarth, a Canadian soldier of the First World War.

The identity was confirmed through historical, genealogical, anthropological, archaeological and DNA analysis.

“Time and distance do not diminish the courage Corporal Howarth brought to the battlefield in service to Canada. His family should trust that I and all Canadians will remember the ultimate sacrifice he made. Lest we forget,” said The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, in a statement.

On June 9, 2011, human remains were discovered during a munitions clearing process for a construction site in Vendin-le-Vieil, France. Alongside the remains were a few artifacts, including a digging tool, a whistle and a pocket watch.

Percy Howarth was born Aug. 16, 1894, in Darwen, Lancashire, England, one of eight children of Richard and Margaret Howarth (née Dearden). He immigrated to Canada in 1912 and worked as a sailor in Vancouver before enlisting with the 121st ‘Overseas’ Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), at age 21. After training in England, he was sent to France and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and then Corporal.

Corporal Howarth fought with the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF, in the Battle of Hill 70 near Lens, France, which began on Aug. 15, 1917. He was reported missing and then presumed to have died that day. He was 23 years old.

The Battle of Hill 70 exacted a heavy toll over ten days, with over 10,000 Canadians killed, wounded or missing, including over 1,300 with no known grave. More than 140 men of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion were killed, and 118 were missing with no known grave.

The family of Corporal Howarth has been notified, and the Canadian Armed Forces is providing them with ongoing support. Corporal Howarth will be buried at the earliest opportunity in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Loos British Cemetery in Loos-en-Gohelle, France.

Corporal Howarth,Canadian soldier

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