For nearly 70 years, Private John Willoughby lay where he fell on March 30, 1918, in Moreuil Wood near Amiens, France, a victim of machine-gun fire or sabre or bayonet. Or maybe all three.
Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew led 75 Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in one of the last great cavalry charges in history (see page 20) against heavily armed and entrenched German infantry; 53, including Willoughby and Flowerdew, were killed or wounded.
For Willoughby’s family, it was as though he had vanished from the face of the Earth. In Canada a few years later, a nephew, and decades later, a great-nephew, were named after the lost cavalryman. The family had no idea where he had fought, where he had died. Where his body lay.
In 1986, farmer Jean-Paul Brunel noticed a boot on the gro...