Loos British Cemetery, France - Funeral Service.

A burial service for four Canadian First World War soldiers took place at 13:30h on 23rd August 2018 at Loos British Cemetery in France.

 

One casualty was recovered at the site of a construction project in Lens, France, and has been identified as Private John Henry Thomas. Private Thomas was killed on 19 August 1917 during the Battle of Hill 70 whilst serving with the 26th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.The remaining three casualties were all recovered near the village of Vendin-le-Vieil, France and have been identified as Private William Del Donegan, Private Henry Priddle, and Sergeant Archibald Wilson. All three soldiers were also killed during the Battle of Hill 70 whilst serving with the 16th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Following the initial recovery by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s staff,  the identifications were made by The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

 

The service has been organised by the DND and the CAF and attended by Government of Canada and regimental representatives, family members, and the CWGC.

 

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/hauts-de-france/pas-calais/loos-gohelle/loos-gohelle-quatre-soldats-canadiens-grande-guerre-inhumes-100-ans-apres-leur-mort-1529886.html


Private William Del Donegan was born 27 March 1897 in Ottawa, Ontario, son of William Donegan and Elizabeth Donegan (née Shields). At some point during William’s youth, the Donegan family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 

Donegan enlisted at age 18 on 21 February 1916 with the 179th Battalion (The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada), CEF. Prior to enlistment with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), Donegan spent four years in the Highland Cadets with the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada and later worked as a railway clerk in Winnipeg.

 

Private Donegan spent the spring and summer of 1916 training with the 179th Battalion at Camp Hughes, Manitoba. The 179th Battalion sailed from Halifax on 4 October 1916 arriving in Liverpool, England nine days later on 13 October 1916.

 

After spending time in various training battalions, Private Donegan transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion (The Royal Montreal Regiment). The 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), CEF part of the Canadian Corps in France took Private Donegan on strength on 21 April 1917.

 

On 15 August 1917, the 16th Battalion participated in the assault on Hill 70. Beginning its assault at 4:25am, the 16th Battalion captured its first objective, the “Blue Line,” and their final objective, the “Green Line,” on schedule with limited casualties. On 16 August, the battalion suffered substantial losses when German artillery focused on the new Canadian Corps’ defensive positions. The Canadian Corps defences suffered heavy shelling for several days following the initial attack. The 16th Battalion was relieved by other Canadian troops in their frontline position at 4:00am on 17 August. Private Donegan was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at the age of 20.

www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/casualty-identification-military/private-william-del-donegan.html


Private Henry Edmonds Priddle was born on 17 May 1884 in Norwich, Ontario, to parents William and Mary Ann Priddle. In 1910, he married Florence Hazen in his hometown before the couple settled down together in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Prior to enlistment, he worked as a broom-maker.

 

Priddle enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) with the 183rd Overseas Battalion on 1 April 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He embarked in Halifax on 4 October 1916, arriving in Liverpool, England, nine days later on 13 October.  Two weeks after arriving in England, Private Priddle was transferred to the 108th Battalion located in Witley, England and on 10 January 1917, he was transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion (The Royal Montreal Regiment). On 3 May 1917, Priddle proceeded to France where the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), CEF part of the Canadian Corps took him on strength on 9 May.

 

On 15 August 1917, the 16th Battalion participated in the assault on Hill 70. Beginning its assault at 4:25am, the 16th Battalion captured its first objective, the “Blue Line,” and their final objective, the “Green Line,” on schedule with limited casualties. On 16 August, the battalion suffered substantial losses when German artillery focused on the new Canadian Corps’ defensive positions. The Canadian Corps defences suffered heavy shelling for several days following the initial attack. The 16th Battalion was relieved by other Canadian troops in their frontline position at 4:00am on 17 August. Private Priddle was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at the age of 33.

www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/casualty-identification-military/private-henry-edmonds-priddle.html


Sergeant Archibald Wilson was born 12 February 1892 in Campsie, Stirling, Scotland, one of 11 children to Archibald Wilson and Christina Wilson. Planning to farm in Manitoba, he came to Canada with brothers Gavin Hunter, John Miller and Hugh, as well as their sisters, Margaret and Christina, aboard RMS Hesperian out of Glasgow, Scotland in June 1910.

 

Archibald Wilson was a barber before enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 18 December 1914 with the 43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada), CEF, at the age of 22, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two of his brothers also enlisted in the CEF. John enlisted immediately after Archibald at the age of 24. Gavin followed by enlisting on 18 January 1916, also in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the age of 30.

 

The 43rd Battalion sailed from Montreal on 1 June 1915, arriving in England on 10 June 1915. On 21 December 1915, Archibald Wilson transferred to the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), CEF part of the Canadian Corps in France who took him on strength on 22 December 1915. Private Wilson participated in several battles throughout 1916 and the first part of 1917. Twice he was wounded severely enough to require hospitalization and recovery in England before returning to the front. On 4 June 1917, Wilson received a promotion to the rank of Sergeant.

 

On 15 August 1917, the 16th Battalion participated in the assault on Hill 70. Beginning its assault at 4:25am, the 16th Battalion captured its first objective, the “Blue Line,” and their final objective, the “Green Line,” on schedule with limited casualties. On 16 August, the battalion suffered substantial losses when German artillery focused on the new Canadian Corps’ defensive positions. The Canadian Corps defences suffered heavy shelling for several days following the initial attack. The 16th Battalion was relieved by other Canadian troops in their frontline position at 4:00am on 17 August. Sergeant Wilson was killed in action 16 August 1917 at the age of 25.

www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/casualty-identification-military/sergeant-archibald-wilson.html


Private John (Jack) Henry Thomas was born on 25 January 1889 in Chewale, South Wales, United Kingdom to parents Henry Arthur Thomas and Jane Thomas. He grew up in Birch Ridge, Victoria County, New Brunswick with his brother and four sisters where he worked as a farmer.

 

Thomas enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and joined the 115th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF on 20 April 1916 in Saint John, New Brunswick. He embarked for England on 23 July 1916, arriving in Liverpool on 31 July 1916.  Following a couple months of training, the 112th Battalion took Private Thomas on strength from the 115th Battalion on 16 October 1916 at Camp Bramshott, England. He remained with this battalion until the following year when he transferred to the 13th Reserve Battalion on 2 February 1917. Private Thomas was then assigned to the 26th Canadian Infantry Battalion (New Brunswick), CEF part of the Canadian Corps in France on 20 April 1917.

 

Private Thomas and the 26th Battalion participated in the assault on Hill 70 that began 15 August 1917 and continued until 25 August 1917. The advance moved in two stages with the capture of two main objectives: positions known as the “Blue Line” and the “Green Line”. As part of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the 26th Battalion took part in the initial assault to secure the “Blue Line” before passing through the 22nd Battalion to secure the Brigade’s objectives along the “Green Line”. The 26th Battalion then rotated through defensive duties with other battalions of the 5th Brigade while remaining in the area for several days. On 19 August while holding their forward position against German counter-attacks Private Thomas was killed in action at the age of 28.

www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/casualty-identification-military/private-john-henry-thomas.html


Loos BC - Order of Service
PDF – 5.4 MB