Scots-born First World War soldier to be buried after nearly a century

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Pte Johnson died during the Battle of the Canal du Nord

A SCOTS-born Canadian soldier is to be laid to rest 93 years after being killed in battle.

Private Alexander Johnston died less than two months before the end of the First World War and until now his relatives did not know the whereabouts of his grave.

But thanks to extensive historical research and the use of DNA testing, Private Johnston will finally be laid to rest in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.

Born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, in 1885, Alexander Johnston moved to Hamilton, Ontario in his late 20s and on January 5 1918, he joined the 78th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Nine months later, at the age of 33, Private Johnston was killed during The Battle of the Canal du Nord in northern France.

In July 2008, human remains were discovered in Raillencourt Saint-Olle, less than half a mile from where Private Johnston was killed.

Found with the remains were two collar badges of the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers). These remains were identified, through mitochondrial DNA testing, as those of Private Johnston, on March 31, 2011.

Three members of Private Johnston’s family have travelled to France for the reburial on Tuesday October 25 2011, with his great-nephew Donald Gregory having visited relatives of his in Scotland en route to France.

 

 

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