No Canadian Soldier Will Remain Buried In the Soil of Germany
Ottawa Citizen, 30 October 1945
No Canadian soldier of the Second World War will remain buried in the conquered soil of Germany.
In accordance with the policy adopted by the Canadian army overseas, the Canadian bodies which were first buried in Germany will be brought out to one of the Allied countries and re-interred in one of the eight permanent Canadian military cemeteries, the nearest of them in Holland with 1½ miles of the German frontier.
By Dec. 1 the army hopes to have completed concentration of all Canadian killed on the western front within the eight cemeteries—four in France, one in Belgium and three in Holland.
That task has already been completed in Sicily and Italy with the main concentrations at Agira and Ortona and in the British cemetery at Cassino and lesser concentrations at 25 other points that once echoed to the sounds of battle.
The concentration is the responsibility of two army graves registration units. It is believed less than 1,000 remain unidentified and a specially qualified unit is laboring to lessen that number.
Col. Osborne Interviewed
In Italy, roughly 40 bodies remain unidentified.
Giving these facts in an interview, Col. H.C. Osborne, secretary-general of the Canadian agency for the Imperial War Graves Commission, said the commission was planning a list of British Commonwealth military cemeteries, giving their official name, the number of their dead, the nationalities and the location.
The general Canadian policy in northwest Europe was to establish Canadian military cemeteries in areas where operations were "essentially Canadian." But this would not preclude the burial of some British and Allied bodies in their plots.
The policy in Italy and Sicily had largely been dictated by the same circumstances which resulted in the burial of the Canadian dead in British cemeteries, since the Canadian role was played within British armies.
This Agira, one of the two official Canadian cemeteries in that theatre, contained 474 Canadian bodies compared with the 770 buried in the British cemetery at Cassino, scene of Italy's most bitter battle and neat the last few miles of the Liri Valley where the Canadian broke their sector of the Hitler Line.
The procedure practiced in establishing cemeteries provides that "on their completion, the graves are marked, the adjoining area cleared of fences, gates, flag poles, register buildings, tool houses and temporary crosses are constructed by the army."
When final graves registration is properly prepared, the graves are handed over to the Imperial [War Graves] Commission which assumes responsibility for permanent construction, the creation of memorials, horticulture and the general upkeep or maintenance.
The policy adopted by the Canadian army overseas that no Canadians of this war were to remain buried in Germany met the requests of more than a few bereaved mothers who wrote authorities requesting that their sons be removed from German soil.
Canadian soldiers of the First Great War were buried near Cologne and Berlin, Col. Osborne said, among the total of 6,560 British Empire dead who were laid to rest in the soil they, too, had conquered.