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Canada

Annual Remembrance Day project needs your help

This Remembrance Day, the Citizen is again asking readers for help in honouring one of Canada’s war dead.

In each of the past eight years, Postmedia has assembled the biography of a Canadian soldier whose name is randomly selected on Remembrance Day. The name of the featured soldier will be issued Monday at 11:11 a.m. by an online memorial, the Twitter account, @WeAreTheDead.

The automated account publishes 24 names each day from the list of 119,531 uniformed Canadians who have lost their lives in service to this country.

As in past years, the newspaper will need your help to produce its Remembrance Day profile.

Crowdsourced material is essential since the vast majority of Canada’s war dead were killed in the First and Second World Wars, the latter of which ended more than 70 years ago. The named person can be from any branch of the service and hail from anywhere in Canada.

Sometimes, biographical material is difficult to find.

In the first year of the project, for instance, Leading Aircraftman Chancy Melvin Simpson was the subject of our story. The 24-year-old New Brunswicker left a hard-to-find footprint after dying from stomach cancer in a Nova Scotia hospital in 1944.

The project has more fully portrayed John Cawley, an Irish immigrant and Saskatchewan farmer who died at Vimy Ridge; Joseph Aldéric Boucher, the son of a Quebec cheesemaker who perished at the Somme; Pte. Henry Rohloff, of Manitoba, who died in the late stages of the Second World War when he stepped on a live electrical cable; and Pte. Edwin Booth, a British immigrant and farmer who died in the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916.

Three years ago, a rich portrait emerged of Flight Sgt. Stanley Spallin, a 20-year-old pilot from Edmonton who died in a crash while patrolling the English coast in November 1942. He left behind a daughter who was unborn at the time of his death, Yvonne Holden, whom the Citizen found in Mount Lehman, B.C.

Two years ago, the Citizen told the story of First World War Gunner Faus Metcalf, who died at the beginning of the end of the war. Metcalf, 19, was killed in August 1918 during the Second Battle of Arras at the start of a decisive offensive known as The Hundred Days.

Last year, it was the story of bricklayer George Jameson, who came to Canada from Yorkshire, England, with his brother in search of a more prosperous life. He enlisted in Winnipeg and died in the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915. Reporters tracked down and interviewed Jameson’s great-great nephew in Darlington, England.

This year, we will again crowdsource the research, and we invite genealogists, historians, military buffs and all readers to help us develop the profile, which will be published online late Monday.

You can email any biographical details to reporters Andrew Duffy at aduffy@postmedia.com and Blair Crawford at bcrawford@postmedia.com or city editor Drake Fenton at dfenton@postmedia.com.

You can also tweet information directly to @citizenduffy, @GetBAC or @drakefenton. We’ll be using the hashtag #wearethedead.

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