Canadian WWI soldier buried in France

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Nearly a century after his death, a Canadian who died fighting in the First World War and whose remains were only recently identified was buried Tuesday in France, Canada's defense minister said.

Private Thomas Lawless was buried with full military honors at La Chaudiere Military Cemetery in Vimy, France. Members of his family participated in the interment ceremony.

"The courage and dedication of our Canadian First World War heroes will never be forgotten," Defense Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement.

"After all these years, we finally recognize Private Thomas Lawless with the honor and dignity he so greatly deserves."

Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1889, Lawless had enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge as member of its 49th Battalion.

His remains were found in October 2003 at a construction site in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge along with those of another soldier who was later identified as Private Herbert Peterson of Berry Creek, Alberta.

The casualty identification section of the Directorate of History and Heritage identified Lawless's remains on January 10, 2011 after years of anthropological, historical and biological research such as generic testing, osteology, facial reconstruction and searching military historic records.

Also buried Tuesday was Frank Buckles, the last surviving US veteran of World War I. He died last month at the age of 110.

© 2011 AFP

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