OTD: Canadian Forces return Unknown Soldier to Canada

On today’s date in 2000, a Canadian Forces aircraft flew to France to return to Canada an unidentified Canadian soldier that died during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

A Canadian Forces contingent consisting of a 45-person guard, a bearer party and a chaplain were aboard the iconic flight, according to Veterans Affairs Canada. The Veterans Affairs contingent contained veterans and civilians, including two Canadian children.

Two days later, during a ceremony at the Canadian Memorial on Vimy Ridge, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gave the remains of the Unknown Soldier to Canadian officials. The casket was transported to Parliament, where it was placed in the Hall of Honour in Centre Block to lay in state for three days while Canadians paid their respects.

That afternoon, the Unknown Soldier was brought from Parliament Hill to the National War Memorial on a horse-drawn gun carriage provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The Unknown Soldier was eventually laid to rest in a specially-designed sarcophagus located in front of the National War Memorial.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in front of Ottawa’s National War Memorial.


On May 15, 1939, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a two-cent stamp (Scott #247) commemorating the National War Memorial, which would officially open on May 21 of that year.

Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz based on a photograph by Photographic Stores Ltd., the stamp was issued in honour of the 1939 visit to the Dominion of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Being the first to welcome the new king and queen in person, the Post Office Department issued three commemorative stamps, one of which was the National Memorial stamp, printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

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