Unrelated to quilting and stitching, I have quite a story to tell you... Shirley, a wonderful lady from my Fairfield Senior Quilters group, had the incredible experience of attending the full military funeral for her uncle, Private John Henry Thomas, a few weeks ago. Her uncle was killed in the battle of Hill 70 near Vimy, France, 101 years ago in the Great War. His body was never recovered, and his name is inscribed on the monument at Vimy as a soldier with no known grave. Last fall, construction began on a new building in the area. Excavation ground to a halt when the remains of a soldier were uncovered. Forensic research began... Shirley received an out-of-the-blue phone call this past spring from a representative of the Canadian Armed Forces, who told her that the remains of her uncle, John Henry Thomas, had been uncovered and positively identified. She and her cousin (who she’d never met) were next of kin. The two of them were invited to attend their uncle’s funeral in France. Three other soldiers, who had been part of a different battalion, were also to be interred at the British Cemetery at Loos. Shirley took the trip of a lifetime to France to witness and be a part of this extraordinary funeral, 101 years after Private Thomas’ death at age 27. She was given his collar badge, still attached to a fragment of his collar (which was used to begin to identify him), and a button from his tunic.
Today, she brought these precious artifacts in to quilt class- the most incredible Show and Tell ever. Shirley composed the beautiful inscription on her uncle’s grave marker herself. 💕🇨🇦 @vimyfoundation @canwarmuseum #thegreatwar #ww1 #hill70 #vimy #canadianarmedforces #truestory #remembrance