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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

John Montanelli

In memory of:

Private John Montanelli

March 7, 1915

Military Service


Service Number:

24267

Age:

36

Force:

Army

Unit:

Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)

Division:

13th Bn.

Additional Information


Son of Joseph and Sara Montanelli, of Altopascio, Lucca, Italy. Enlisted Aug. 1914.

Commemorated on Page 29 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:
Grave Reference:

Panel 24 - 26 - 28 - 30

Location:


The Menin Gate Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town of Ypres (now Ieper) in the Province of West Flanders, on the road to Menin and Courtrai. It bears the names of 55,000 men who were lost without trace during the defence of the Ypres Salient in the First World War. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and erected by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission, it consists of a Hall of Memory", 36.6 metres long by 20.1 metres wide. In the centre are broad staircases leading to the ramparts which overlook the moat, and to pillared loggias which run the whole length of the structure. On the inner walls of the Hall, on the side of the staircases and on the walls of the loggias, panels of Portland stone bear the names of the dead, inscribed by regiment and corps. Carved in stone above the central arch are the words:


TO THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO STOOD HERE FROM 1914 TO 1918 AND TO THOSE OF THEIR DEAD WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE.

Over the two staircases leading from the main Hall is the inscription:

HERE ARE RECORDED NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN WHO FELL IN YPRES SALIENT BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND HONOURED BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH.

The dead are remembered to this day in a simple ceremony that takes place every evening at 8:00 p.m. All traffic through the gateway in either direction is halted, and two buglers (on special occasions four) move to the centre of the Hall and sound the Last Post. Two silver trumpets for use in the ceremony are a gift to the Ypres Last Post Committee by an officer of the Royal Canadian Artillery, who served with the 10th Battery, of St. Catharines, Ontario, in Ypres in April 1915."

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

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  • Circumstances of death registers– Private John Montanelli #24267 was reported "Killed in Action" in the "Trenches South of Fleurbaix". He was serving in the 13th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division. He was killed during the often forgotten battle at Bois-Grenier, France in March 1915, an action designed to provide the initial experience to the Canadian Corps in trench warfare.
  • Circumstances of death registers– Private John Montanelli's "Circumstance of Death" register reports that he was buried in a battlefield grave near Le Trou (France), 2.5 miles east of Laventie, Sheet 36.N.3.c.4.0. These trench map coordinates enable us to show exactly where he was buried near the front line trenches.
  • Graves registration form– The E-103 "War Graves Register" confirms the information provided in the "Circumstance of Death" that the burial location was as marked on the trench map at coordinates 36.N.3.c.4.0. This form further states that the grave was in the rear of the trenches and that a cross was erected at that location. Application of modern technology to the trench map coordinates tells us that the location of his burial was at GPS coordinates 50.6260, 2.8293 (full GPS 50°37'33.60"N  2°49'45.48"E).

This form also indicates that the remains were not recovered by the Graves Registration Unit and his file was marked to note that his name was to be added to the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium. That process was completed and his name is listed on that memorial at this time (February 2018). This was an error on the part of the Imperial War Graves Commission at that time (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission), as his name should have gone on the Vimy Memorial, as he was killed in France not Belgium.
  • Trench Map– The location of the battlefield burial site of Private John Montanelli is marked (orange arrow), on a detailed period trench map. The remains were buried at the time of his death at location 36.N.3.c.4.0. The trench map is marked to show that the map shows Sector N (green circle) and Sub-Sector 3 (green square). That square is 1,000 yards by 1,000 yards. Within that green square (36.N.3) there are four (4) smaller squares shown as "a, b, c, and d". Each of those smaller squares are 500 yards by 500 yards. The body was buried at the time in the south east square (36.N.3.c). Each small lettered square is marked with ten (10) "hash lines", which are at 50 yard intervals. Pte. Montanelli was buried 200 yards to the east (4 x 50 yards) of the lower corner of the "c" square (36.N.3.c.4.0).
  • Trench map (marked)– The location of the battlefield burial site of Private John Montanelli is marked (orange star), to the rear of the front line trenches on the north side of Rue Petillon. The trench map coordinates are 36.N.3.c.4.0. The trench map was marked by the author of the article on the Battle of Bois Grenier (Richard Laughton) which shows the location of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the battle in March 1915. The map was compiled using information from the War Diary of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, of which the 13th Infantry Battalion was a component.
  • Memorial– Private John Montanelli's name is on the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion panel on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium. His name should be on the Vimy Memorial in France, as he was not killed in action in Belgium.
  • Memorial– Extract of the Menin Gate Memorial Panel showing the name "Montanelli J".
  • Memorial– Inscription on the Menin Gate … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens

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