Let’s Help Norm Find 44 Lost Canadian Scottish Soldiers!

A recent National Post news item featured Norm Christie and his belief that 44 Can Scots are buried, and were forgotten in the post war cleanup, near Neuville St Vaast which is just North of Arras. See the story here . His thesis is the men were temporarily buried in a crater known as CA 40 in the centre of the battle field but the markers were lost. CA 40 was unknown to the Canadians prior to the advance on the maps you see below. However – records we have seen, are not clear that they were moved from where Sgt Simmons is shown to be buried. The burial files we have extracted from the Black Binders section of the National Archives show Pte Attwood, Pte Armitage, Pte Ball, Pte HooperLcpl Laycock, Pte Owen, and Sgt Simmons being buried at the point mentioned below and curiously, there names being stamped with VIMY MEMORIAL.  We assume the rest have similar notations.

To muddy the water in this historical shell crater even more, we see the notation on Pte Attwood`s file as shown below. The supposition is as follows. They were buried in C40, the battles moved west. By the time the Graves Registration Unit showed up, the temporary grave markers had disappeared.

Lost Attwood

I was just contacted by a member of the Can Scots Assn aka 16th Bn CEF and I came up with the info below. The soldier data comes from Commonwealth Wargraves info that I extracted from their site. The lost soldiers are as follows – all were killed in action 9 April , 1917.

Lost men of this story

44 Can Scots

The location of Crater C.40 from info available at present is 50.35035°N,  2.77716°E WGS 84 system. The images above for  the soldiers and Sgt Attwood below establish the cluster of graves at C40. Sgt Simmon`s burial record which has his location on page 2 below.Sgt Simmons 1 Sgt Simmons 2 The notation in the above image correlates to a location on the ground. So next we look for a WW1 Map from the Linesman system which you can get here www.greatwardigital.com. We then see the location as shown in the image below.

Lost 44 0The image below is a WW1 map area in red squares overlaid on the IGN Top 25 map that comes with the Linesman system compared to the location of Zivy Crater.

Lost 44 01

The following image shows you where it is in relation to the Vimy Monument (where all the soldiers are currently remembered as so far they have no known grave). Lost 44 2 The final image shows you how close the site is to Arras 7.2 Km (only 902 metres from the Vimy Monument). Lost 44 4

The actual track or “TRACE” in military parlance can be seen at the image below. They started from the left side of the map and followed the path to the right staying between the two blue lines. (click to enlarge)DHH3 all ww1

The image below is where the  site is on a modern map of France (click to enlarge)

DHH6 Modern

Here are the points noted on the map with the corresponding GPS latitude and longitude

RAP Top 50.34820°N,  2.77181°E
RAP Middle 50.34406°N,  2.77083°E
RAP Lower 50.34315°N,  2.76504°E
Bn HQ 50.34884°N,  2.77229°E
CA 40 Crater 50.35035°N,  2.77716°E
16 Bn Right 50.34892°N,  2.77479°E
16 Bn Left 50.35159°N,  2.77494°E
OP Line Right 50.34932°N,  2.77614°E
OP Line Left 50.35181°N,  2.77618°E
4 Coy Centre 50.35117°N,  2.77561°E
3 Coy Centre 50.34994°N,  2.77483°E
GE Frt Line Right 50.34947°N,  2.77744°E
GE Frt Line Left 50.35225°N,  2.78019°E
Black Line Right 50.35066°N,  2.78888°E
Black Line Left 50.35314°N,  2.78807°E
Sgt Gates MG 50.35277°N,  2.78905°E
Lt Cowan MG 50.35152°N,  2.78916°E
Red Line Left 50.35279°N,  2.79227°E
Red Line Right 50.35133°N,  2.79462°E
Block 1 50.35071°N,  2.79622°E
Block 2 50.35070°N,  2.79556°E
Block 3 50.35198°N,  2.79421°E
Block 4 50.35158°N,  2.79229°E
Zivy Crater 50.35444°N,  2.77806°E

The maps are from the “Linesman” map system available at www.greatwardigital.com.

The maps are as follows


  • Modern Map  – IGN France Top 25 Nord Picardie Champagne Ardennes
  • WW1 Map – 51BNW – BA – 030717

3rd BDE published a report on the Attack – read it here – the Canadians couldn’t see Crater CA 40

Fundraising link – I gave – every bit helps  look in the left of the page that will pop up when you click the link. Norm Christie has done great work in the past and this project is worthy of your support.

This entry was posted in Canadians in France, Cdns in Action. Bookmark the permalink.