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Military funeral for WWI sergeant

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Military funeral for WWI sergeant

A WORLD War One soldier from Annandale and Eskdale was finally laid to rest in France yesterday – 106 years after his death.

The remains of Sergeant Richard Musgrave, who was born near Canonbie, were found north of Lens in France in 2017.

He was 32 when he died and a member of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (British Columbia), CEF, after emigrating to Calgary.

Richard was born at Blackrigg in September 1884, his mother was Rebecca Musgrave and he had a sister Jeannie.

Canadian war records show that he enlisted with the 56th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in Calgary in April 1915, aged 30, then in July of that year sailed from

Montreal to England for training.

On February 17 1916, Private Musgrave travelled to France and was quickly promoted, achieving the rank of sergeant in March 1917. He was wounded weeks later but it was minor and he stayed on duty, winning the Military Medal for bravery in July 1917.

Just a month later, however, he met his end, while fighting the Germans with his battalion. He was one of over 10,000 Canadian casualties from the offensive and was initially reported missing, presumed dead.

More than a century later his skeletal remains were discovered during a munitions clearing process near Lens, alongside artefacts including a military medal, ribbon and whistle.

Extensive DNA analysis by the Canadian Forces Forensic Odontology Response Team and the Canadian Museum of History finally proved his identity in October 2021.

Sgt Musgrave’s name is already engraved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial commemorating Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War and have no known grave.

However, he was buried in a full military ceremony yesterday afternoon at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Loos British Cemetery in grave two, row H.

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