The Crucified Soldier


The Crucified Soldier refers to the widespread story of an Allied soldier serving in the Canadian Army who may have been crucified with bayonets on a barn door or a tree while fighting on the Western Front during World War I. Three witnesses said they saw an unidentified crucified Canadian soldier near the battlefield of Ypres Belgium on or around April 241915 but there was no conclusive proof such a crucifixion actually occurred. The eyewitness accounts were somewhat contradictory no crucified body was found and no knowledge was uncovered at the time about the identity of the supposedly – crucified soldier. Nevertheless the story made headline news around the world and the Allies repeatedly used the supposed incident in their war propaganda including an early propaganda film titled The Prussian Cur which included scenes of an Allied soldiers crucifixion. It bears relation to other propaganda of the time like the Rape of Belgium and the Angels of Mons and the German corpse factory or adaververwertungsanstalt. A three foot bronze sculpture by British artist Francis Derwent Wood of a crucified soldier titled Canada’s Golgotha was included in an 1919 exhibition of wartime art in London but the sculpture was withdrawn from the exhibit after protest. The sculpture was also displayed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2000 again provoking some controversy. Even during World War I the German government protested the falseness of this atrocity story and after the end of the war they formally requested the Canadian government provide proof. With no knowledge of the identity of the soldier and having only a few eyewitness accounts the crucifixion story was left unproven by a British inquiry after the War, but new sources require a re-examination.