May 20th, 2024

zOverseas burials showed soldiers were equal

By Letter to the Editor on November 17, 2021.

On Nov. 13, an article was printed in the Herald regarding a family seeking closure for an Indigenous soldier who lost his life during the First World War.
In the article the family expressed that they wished to bring the body of their ancestor home to be buried with family but that they were informed this would not likely be possible.
I would just like to point out the reason for this.
Early in the war, the British government decided that all Commonwealth soldiers would be buried close to where they fell and that the bodies would not be sent home.
The reason for this was to emphasize that the sacrifice of each of the deceased soldiers was equal.
Wealthier soldiers, whose families could afford to have their loved ones sent home, would not be treated differently than those less wealthy who had made the same sacrifice.
Every participant was to be accorded equality, regardless of rank, social status, nationality, color or sex. I understand the desire to bring a family member home but as you consider this, remember that your ancestor is buried with his companions out of respect.
This gesture assures that your ancestor has been treated as an equal in the company of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Hopefully you can find some comfort in that gesture.
Brian Pauls

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