Canadian WW I Sapper Officer Among Three Missing First World War Canadian Airmen

Lieutenant Lindsay Drummond
Lt Lindsay Drummond's crashed Nieuport after his attack against the German observation balloon at Terhand on 18 May 1917
Publication Date: 
11 May 2017

A husband-and-wife team of WW I researchers in Belgium have helped identify the location of a WW I Sapper Officer attached to the Royal Flying Corps whose final resting place, until recently, was only “Known unto God”.

Lieutenant Lindsay Drummond was a student at Upper Canada College from 1906-1911 and then attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston where he graduated with Honours in Civil Engineering. After graduating from RMC in 1914 he joined 1st Field Company, Canadian Engineers. He trained in Camp Valcartier, QC and was attached to 3rd Field Company, Canadian Engineers before embarking for England as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force First Contingent.
In England, Lt Drummond was transferred to 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers and was later attached to the Royal Flying Corps in July 1916 where he flew as an observer. In December of that year, he was sent back to England to train as an aviator and returned to France on 18 April 1917. One month later he was fatally shot on the evening of 18 May while he was attacking a German observation balloon. He was in his 25th year and was misidentified in the German records. His remains were eventually relocated to a Commonwealth cemetery in nearby Langemark in 1956 in a grave marked: “Known unto God”.

A Belgian couple, Dick and Mieke Decuypere, from a tiny village near the Belgian town of Ypres had developed an interest in the stories of WW I and had conducted much research in the archives in Belgium, Germany and England, local history books and war diaries. After 13 years of searching and researching the stories of three Canadian airmen who were shot down behind enemy lines, the Decuyperes had compiled sufficient evidence that enabled the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to confirm their findings on 9 February 9, 2017 that included identifying the grave of Lieutenant Lindsay Drummond, CE.

The Decuyperes will be hosting nine descendants of the dead men for dinner at their home in Geluwe on 17 May. The next day Lt Drummond’s new headstone will be unveiled at the cemetery while two new monuments will be dedicated to the three Canadians in Geluwe.

For more, see The National Post article by Joe O'Connor 10 May 17