Glasgow & West Scotland

WWI soldier Alexander Johnston buried 93 years on

Private Alexander Johnston
Private Johnston's remains were not identified for 93 years

A Scots-born Canadian soldier who was killed less than two months before the end of World War I has been buried 93 years after his death in France.

Private Alexander Johnston died, aged 33, during the Battle of the Canal du Nord in northern France in 1918.

His remains were discovered near the battlefield in 2008 and his identity established this year using DNA tests.

The soldier, born in Coatbridge, was reburied in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in France.

Private Johnston moved to Hamilton, Ontario, in his late 20s and joined the 78th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, in January 1918.

Nine months later, he was killed during The Battle of the Canal du Nord.

Private Johnston was laid to rest after a service in France

Following his death, relatives of Private Johnston did not know the whereabouts of his grave.

Collar badges

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

Found with the remains were two collar badges of the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers).

In March this year, these remains were identified, through mitochondrial DNA testing and historical research, as those of Private Johnston.

Three members of Private Johnston's Canadian family travelled to France for the reburial on Tuesday. Scottish relatives also attended the service.

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