|Birth: ||Jun. 18, 1919|
County Tipperary, Ireland
|Death: ||Aug. 14, 1944|
Service Number B/68347
Royal Regiment of Canada,
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Citation: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp
Date of Enlistment: December 2, 1941
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Son of Ralph and Frances Ferns of Toronto, Ontario. Brother of William and Frederick Ferns.
Private Ferns had been listed as missing since the WWII battle of Falaise Gap in Normandy. He had been on the battlefield for six weeks when Canadian and British aircraft fired on his position, mistakenly believing it was an enemy trench. His body remained buried for over 60 years until March 2005, when a French man found a helmet in the ground near Haut Mesnil, 18 kilometres north of Falaise. When he lifted it, the well-preserved body of Ferns was underneath. French authorities contacted the Canadian Veterans Affairs Department, and forensic investigator Laurel Clegg was assigned to identify the remains. Using Ferns' badge, Clegg determined in which unit he served, and then cross-referenced his physical description against a list of soldiers from the unit who had been missing after the war. "Pte. Ferns was a very tall young man," she told an interviewer. "He was about 6-1", which was highly unusual for the time." Clegg said Pte. Ferns was in Haut Mesnil when his unit was bombed, and probably took shelter in a trench, where he was buried alive. She worked Canadian phone books to track down Ferns' descendants, and found his nephew in Toronto, who provided a DNA sample to confirm the identity.
Nephew Gary Ferns and niece Janice Basilone travelled to France to attend the funeral service at Cauvicourt Church on November 14, 2008. An interment service with full military honours was held at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. Also in attendance were Canadian and French government officials, soldiers, veterans and local villagers.
Ferns' name will be removed from the Bayeux Memorial, which honours the 1,803 soldiers who disappeared during the Normandy assault without any known graves.
Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery
Departement du Calvados
Created by: Milou
Record added: Nov 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31390452
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