Private Lachlan McKinnon

Between 2006 and 2007, eight sets of skeletal remains were discovered near Hallu, France. One set of remains were identified as those of Private Lachlan McKinnon.

Lachlan McKinnon was born 15 November 1888 in Campbell Town, Scotland. In 1913, McKinnon left Scotland for Winnipeg, Manitoba.

He was a butcher and unmarried prior to enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He enlisted in the 78th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers), CEF in Winnipeg, Manitoba in August 1915.

In May of 1916, he arrived in England, leaving for France in August 1916. He served with the 78th Battalion until his death on 11 August 1918 in Hallu, France. Thirty-five soldiers of the 78th Battalion were presumed to have been killed in action at Hallu. Following the war, Private McKinnon’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 2006, three sets of remains were discovered on private property in Hallu, France. Five more sets or remains were discovered the following year. The eight sets of discovered remains were analysed using anthropological methods, genetic testing, and isotope analysis and compared to the profiles of the 35 candidates. The Casualty Identification Program was able to confirm one set of remains as those of Private Lachlan McKinnon.

During the identification process, the family of Private McKinnon discovered a box of family treasures including an embroidered postcard from Lachlan to his mother dated December 11, France.

“France Dec 11 

My Dear Mother

I received Jessie welcome letter today glad to no [sic] by the same that you are all well. I do hope Malcolm will get home with you for a few days. I got a beautiful Parcel from the Queen Marys guild. I hope Jessie and Bella got the brochs [sic] I sent. I had a letter from Johnny he is quite well will write soon Your Loving Son Lachlan”

Lachlan refers to his brother Malcolm, who was also a soldier, his sisters Jessie (Janet) and Bella (Isabella), and his brother Johnny.

The interment of Private McKinnon took place on 13 May 2015 at Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s  Caix British Cemetery, in Caix, France. Members of Private McKinnon’s family, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, attended the ceremony.

For further information on Private Lachlan McKinnon, you can view his personnel file on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Information about casualty identification

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