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Canadian History for Kids: Crucified Canadian Soldier

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and Canadian History for Kids have assembled 31 remarkable stories about incredible people, places and events which helped shape our amazing nation.

There are many significant stories to be told about the ‘war to end all wars’.

A grateful nation never forgets a hero.

The Crucified Canadian Soldier, a true story of the atrocities of the First World War or just war propaganda?

It began in July, 1915, with a note written by a British nurse, Ursula Violet Chaloner, detailing the comments made to her by Lance Corporal C.M. Brown about a Canadian solder, a Sergeant Harry Band, who was crucified on the door of a barn with bayonets at the battle of Ypres.

One story indicates that on April 24, 1915, a young sergeant with maple leaves on his lapels was found suspended 18 inches from the ground crucified to a barn door with bayonets.

Many speculated that the Canadian soldier was Sergeant Harry Band, who on April 24, 1915, was reported missing in British military records and presumed dead. The records also show that Sergeant Band’s regiment, the 48th Canadian Highlanders, were fighting near St. Julien.

Two days before Sergeant Band’s death, Germany launched a gas attack on the Canadian, French and Algerian army, while they were having breakfast, killing more than 5,000 men. The attack broke the international rules of warfare. In retaliation, Canadian troops killed German prisoners. It is thought the Germans crucified the Canadian Soldier as a warning.

In 1918, Francis Derwent Wood cast a bronze image of the crucifixion and is called “Canada’s Golgotha”. After the War the sculpture was put on exhibition but removed when Germany objected. It was warehoused for more than 60 years. It is now on display at the Canadian War Museum.

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