Regina family informed of connection to recently identified missing First World War soldier


It’s a day Margaret Schaffer wishes her grandparents were here to see.

Schaffer and her older brother Tom Jenkins were recently notified that they are next-of-kin to a soldier who had died in combat in 1918 during World War One.

The revelation comes after a 10-year investigation conducted by the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) and Department of National Defense (DND).

The investigation revealed that the fallen soldier was their late uncle.

“He was my father’s brother, we knew the history, we knew that he was missing in action, but we had no idea,” Schaffer said.

“We knew he was in France, but we didn’t know anything more than that,” she added.

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Saturday marked the 103rd anniversary of the death of Lance Cpl. Morgan Jones Jenkins. Jenkins was 32 years old when he died.

On the morning of the anniversary, the family received a formal notification of the passing of their uncle from members of the Canadian military — the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry — at their home in Regina.

When Schaffer first got the news earlier this year, she was in disbelief.

“The first bit of news we got was by an email and at first, we didn’t recognize the name of the individual, although it was from Ottawa and I thought it could be a scam,” Schaffer recalled.

After some digging, Schaffer’s daughter, who has an interest in the military, along with her son-in-law, who is in the Navy, called her to say it wasn’t a scam.

Schaffer goes on to say her grandmother never gave up hope that her son would one day find his way back home.

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“She did not get the telegram that the military had sent her, for whatever reason, that he was dead, so she always thought that he was missing in action and until the day that she died, she left the back door of the house open and the light on just in case he might come back home,” she explained.

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Her uncle was buried in France, and some family members may even go to France one day to visit his grave.

“It was an unknown soldier, was the name on it, so nobody really knew where he was until now, and they’re going to be putting his name on the tombstone there, they’re actually creating a new tombstone for him with his name,” Schaffer said.

The family has been asked to come up with an inscription to write on the tombstone, which will be added at a later date.

Dozens of family members gathered at Schaffer’s home on Saturday, representing four generations.

She says the event was a teaching moment for the younger family members, who have shown a keen interest in a century-old family discovery.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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