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We Are Dead: A Call for Help to Honor One of Canada’s War Dead

Celebrating 12 years, the Ottawa citizen is asking for your help with their anniversary project, We Are The Dead.

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On this anniversary, Citizen is once again asking readers to help honor one of Canada’s fallen soldiers.

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For the past 11 years, Citizen reporters, with the help of the public, have pieced together the life stories of soldiers whose names were randomly chosen on Memorial Day.

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The name of this year’s featured soldier will be revealed on Friday at 11:11am on our Twitter account. @WeAreTheDead.

Founded in November 2011 by former Citizen reporter Glenn McGregor, the online memorial publishes 24 names a day at 11 minutes past the hour. Each name is randomly generated from his official list of 119,531 uniformed Canadians who died in service to this country.

As always, we need your help to create your anniversary profile in a day.

Crowdsourced material is essential, as the majority of Canada’s war dead were killed in World War I and World War II. We rely on digitized military files, war diaries, old newspapers, and genealogy websites for information, but biographical details can be difficult to find.

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For example, in the first year of the project, Chauncey Simpson, a leading aeronautical engineer, was the subject of our talk. Twenty-four-year-old New Brunswicker died of cancer in a hospital in Nova Scotia in 1944, leaving few traces.

This project more fully portrays Saskatchewan farmer John Cawley, who died at Vimy Ridge. Joseph Alderic Boucher, son of a Quebec cheesemaker who died on the Somme. Pte. Henry Roloff of Manitoba died after stepping on an electrified cable. and Pte. Mount Saskatchewan farmer, Edwin Booth, who died at the Battle of Sorel in June 1916.

Six years ago, a rich portrait of Flight Sgt appeared. His 20-year-old pilot, Stanley Spallin, from Edmonton, died in a crash while patrolling the English coast in November 1942. He has left his unborn daughter, Yvonne Holden, British He interviewed at his Lehman in Mount Columbia.

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Five years ago, in August 1918, I told the story of the little Gunner Fauss Metcalf, who was killed at the start of the decisive final offensive of World War I.

Four years ago it was Pte’s turn. George Jameson, a bricklayer who enlisted in Winnipeg and was killed at the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915. In Darlington, England, we spoke with his great nephew, Martin Jameson.

The following year unfolded the drama of Sgt. William John Brown, a radio airgun player from Theodore, Sask, died during a training flight in southern Ontario. Brown, one of his three men who parachuted out of the doomed plane, drowned in Lake Erie after the pilot had a seizure.

Then it was the flight sergeant’s story. Thomas Norry, 24, airgunner who died while participating in the first bombing. In June 1942, a Norry bomber was attacked over Holland. He escaped from the stricken aircraft, but died in a parachute jump. We spoke with his only son, a retired pilot, at his home in Maryland.

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Last year, for our 11th @wearethededad project, we put together a portrait of Lieutenant Robert James McCormick, 28, of Galt, Ontario, who was bravely killed on the battlefield near Caen, France in July 1944. Rallying his forces to attack heavily fortified German positions.

This year we are again inviting genealogists, historians, military buffs and amateur detectives of all kinds to help us create profiles that will go live online on Friday.

If you’d like to help, follow @WeAreTheDead on Twitter.Readers can follow @OttawaCitizenand our team will keep you up to date throughout the day. Use the hashtag #wearethedead.

If you find relevant biographical details, please email reporters Andrew Duffy (aduffy@postmedia.com) and Blair Crawford (bcrawford@postmedia.com).

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We Are Dead: A Call for Help to Honor One of Canada’s War Dead

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