Norm Christie’s mission is getting some love, and some funding.
The Ottawa-based war historian, who’s been campaigning for some time to locate the bodies of 44 reportedly missing Canadian Scottish troops from the First World War’s battle at Vimy Ridge, has racked up over $7,000 from 49 contributors on Black Press 4 Good.
The 4 Good contest runs for 13 more days and has raised 5 per cent of its $110,000 goal, to-date.
Click here to donate to ‘Help Recover Our Vimy Heroes’ on BlackPress4Good.com
That’s how much Christie thinks he’ll need to located the 44 soldiers, who he believes are still buried in a “potato field” in No Man’s Land, a spot called ‘CA40’ in France. They were thought to be moved to Nine Elms Military Cemetery after the war, but Christie doubts it.
“There is no evidence of any of the men from CA40 there,” Christie wrote in the campaign’s summary. “Searching all the likely cemeteries in the Vimy region also revealed no evidence of the Scottish Canadian graves.”
“I believe the 44 men of the Canadian Scottish, killed in action on Vimy Ridge, are still buried in a field in France,” he says in the video above. “Their bodies were never recovered, as they were supposed to have been, based on records put out in 1919.”
Christie says that, of the 60,000 Canadian men lost to World War I, 20,000 are listed as missing.
“Some of them are listed as unidentified soldiers in the cemeteries, while others are still out there on the battlefield,” he says.
(The cemetery’s website says there are 378 Canadians buried at Nine Elms.)
The $110,000 would be used for an engineering team and equipment, to document the process of recovering and re-burying the bodies, compensating local French farmers, and for safety and security costs, according to the 4 Good write-up.
In April, after a speech on the matter to 200 people on his ‘Great War Tour’, Christie said the treatment of Canada’s heroes is critical to the country’s soul and culture.
“One of the key aspects of history is the spiritual dimension,” he said. “How your treat your dead is very reflective of the spiritual state of your society. We should be honouring our dead because they are so much a part of our history.”