News Local

Portagers find tombstone in their backyard 0

By Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic

Staff photo by Angela Brown...Corey Scott, right, and his girlfriend Amy Shiels, left, are pictured with the tombstone they found in their backyard.

Staff photo by Angela Brown...Corey Scott, right, and his girlfriend Amy Shiels, left, are pictured with the tombstone they found in their backyard.

A Portage la Prairie resident was shocked after discovering a tombstone in his backyard.

Corey Scott, who lives in northwest Portage, said he and his friend Dustin McConnell were building a fence recently when they accidently came upon a tombstone.

"We were building (it) and there was this piece of rock and we turned it over," he said. "It was a tombstone ... I thought that it didn't belong there ... It was pretty strange. "

Scott's girlfriend Amy Shiels was also with them when the stone was uncovered.

"It was quite out of the ordinary," she said. "It was really weird."

The tombstone belonged to Charles Hubert, a Royal Air Force member who died in 1943.

Bill Pearcey, with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65 in Portage la Prairie, said Portage was previously used as a training location for pilots from the Commonwealth countries in Second World War before they were sent back overseas.

"Portage was one, and Macdonald, Rivers and Gimli," he said. "There were quite a few of them around here."

Pearcey said that Hubert would not have been a pilot as the inscription on his stone read, LAC, which means Leading Aircraftman.

"He would have been a part of the ground crew servicing aircraft," said Pearcey.

Based on records from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Hubert is buried in the Brussels Town Cemetery of the Belgian Airmen's Field of Honour. Hubert was originally from the United Kingdom.

His age is not known.

Scott said a neighbour called the RCMP to report the tombstone when it was found.

Scott and his girlfriend Amy Shiels still have the stone in their backyard.

Sgt. Line Karpish, of the RCMP D Division, said the RCMP has contacted Veterans Affairs Canada to have them look into the matter of the tombstone.

"When the couple found the tombstone, obviously they were at wits end as to what to do with it ," she said. "It's not every day one finds a tombstone, especially since it was quite dated. My understanding is they did contact the Portage (RCMP) detachment and we have in turn been in touch with Veterans Affairs . In due course, we will figure out what exactly needs to happen. We are waiting to hear back from Veterans Affairs."

abrown@cpheraldleader.com


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