with files from Alex McCuaig
A journey that began 70 years ago came to a close yesterday.
Pfc. Lawrence Gordon of Eastend was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 13, 1944 while on patrol with his U.S. Army unit during the days following the D-Day landing in Normandy.
But Gordon’s remains were mistakenly placed with German dead when the war was over, leading to a decades-long search by family members to discover where he was buried.
In January, 1942, Lawrence S. Gordon enlisted in the U.S Army because he felt it was better equipped than the Canadian forces. After a year and a half training in the U.S. with the Reconnaissance Company, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, Gordon headed to England where he spent nine more months in training.
Two months after landing in France, on August 13, 1944, he was killed when the armored car he was riding in was hit by a German 88mm shell.
He was mistakenly identified as a German soldier and interred at a German cemetery in Huisnes sur Mer, France.
Gordon’s family back in Canada never knew where his body was. After much personal research, Gordon’s nephew, Lawrence R. Gordon of Medicine Hat, along with University of Wisconsin researcher Jed Henry, located and identified the remains of Pfc Lawrence S. Gordon.
Then the process of bringing the soldier’s remains home began.
On June 10, 2014, the German War Graves Commission transferred stewardship of Pfc Gordon’s remains to Lawrence R. Gordon.
Along the way, military and civilian personnel from France and Germany also lent a hand in seeing the remains of the dead soldier returned to his Canadian family during a ceremony in France earlier this year.
“It’s very satisfying to get to this point, it has been 70 years coming and the last three years have required a great deal of effort,” said the soldier’s nephew.
A funeral service was held yesterday at Eastend, 70 years to the day after Pfc Lawrence Gordon was killed. His remains were interred at Riverside Cemetery in Eastend.