Private Herbert Peterson

In 2003, two sets of skeletal remains were discovered near Avion, France. One set of remains was identified as those of Private Herbert Peterson.

Herbert Peterson was born on 28 February 1895 in Scranton, Kansas. He later moved to Berry Creek, Alberta where he worked as a farmer prior to enlistment with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF).

In February 1916, Peterson joined the 137th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF in Calgary, Alberta.

In August of 1916, Private Peterson arrived in Surrey, England with the 137th Battalion. Transferred to the 49th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Edmonton Regiment), CEF in December 1916 he then went to France in January 1917.

He served with the 49th Battalion until his death on 9 June 1917. Following the war, Private Peterson’s name was engraved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial commemorating Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War and have no known grave.

In October 2003, two sets of remains were discovered by two workmen in a construction site near the city of Avion, France. Artefacts found with the remains indicated that the remains were those of a soldier from the Canadian Expeditionary Force. These artefacts included battalion-specific buttons which indicated that the remains were those of soldiers from the 49th Battalion.

Using historical, genealogical, anthropological, archaeological, and DNA analysis, the Casualty Identification Program was able to confirm the identity of one set of remains as Private Herbert Peterson in 2007. The other set of remains was successfully identified as Private Thomas Lawless in January 2011.

Private Peterson was buried in April 2007 in Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s La Chaudière Military Cemetery, in Vimy, France. Representatives from the Government of Canada, the local French government and the Canadian Armed Forces were in attendance. Private Thomas Lawless was interred alongside Private Peterson in March 2011.

For further information on Private Peterson, you can view his personnel file  on the web site of Library and Archives Canada.

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