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HomeNewsUnknown Canadian Soldier Of The First World War Identified

Unknown Canadian Soldier Of The First World War Identified

KAWARTHA LAKES-His headstone, in Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, France, identified him only as an unknown sergeant-major of the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion. Since his death in 1916 that’s all that was known about this Canadian hero.

Today, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have confirmed the identity of a previously unknown soldier as Company Sergeant-Major David George Parfitt, a Canadian soldier of the First World War.

“We remember the courage of the Canadians who served our nation both at home and overseas in the First World War. The successful identification of Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt is a reminder for all Canadians of the ultimate sacrifice made by many in service to our nation. To the family of Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt, know that Canada honours him and is grateful for his service.” said Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

David George Parfitt was born in London, England, in 1891 and immigrated to Canada at the age of 18 according to the federal government. He was a mill worker in Keewatin, Ont., before enlisting in Valcartier, Que. Three of his brothers also enlisted: William (Royal Canadian Navy), Arthur (Canadian Expeditionary Force) and Frederick (BritishArmy): all three survived the war.

Having been a member of the Non-Permanent Active Militia for four years, David Parfitt was promoted to the rank of sergeant upon enlisting. The 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion, with Sergeant Parfitt in its ranks, arrived in France in February 1915. In September 1915, he was promoted to the rank of company sergeant-major. Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt, 25, was one of 156 members of the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion (90th Rifles), Canadian Expeditionary Force, killed in action on September 26, 1916, during the Battle of Thiepval Ridge. He is the only Canadian company sergeant-major to have died on that date in France, a detail that significantly contributed to the identification of his grave.

The CAF has notified the family of Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt of his identification, and is providing them with ongoing support. A headstone rededication ceremony will take place at the earliest opportunity at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Regina Trench Cemetery, in France.

“Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt was one of our own – a Canadian soldier who fought for our country with honour during the First World War. His name is engraved on the base of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial along with those of the more than 11,000 of his comrades who were posted as ‘missing, presumed dead’ in France. Now that his grave has been identified, I’m pleased to know he will receive a permanent headstone to commemorate his courage, service, and ultimate sacrifice.”

stated Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

Sergeant-Major Partiff was killed in action during the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, one of the Battles of the Somme. On September 26, 1916, one of the objectives of the 1st Canadian Division (which included the 8th Infantry Battalion within the 2nd InfantryBrigade) was to take and occupy a series of trenches located between Thiepval and Courcelette, France. Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt lost his life leading a platoon from D Company of the 8th Infantry Battalion in the attack that day.

Company Sergeant-Major Parfitt is commemorated on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, erected in memory of Canadian soldiers killed in France during the First World War who have no known grave.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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