Willoughby’s solitary remains were undisturbed for sixty-eight years, until they were revealed by Jean-Paul’s plow in 1986. Having discovered the body, and knowing little about the Canadian connection, Jean-Paul duly contacted the local authorities. The body was collected and removed for reburial. The plowing and other farm chores carried on, but Jean-Paul couldn’t put J. J. Willoughby out of his mind. Who was this Canadian, so long resting in an unmarked grave on the rolling hills of Picardy?
In 2007 a Yap Films crew interviewed Jean-Paul for an hour-long documentary, “Man & Horse”, which dealt with the Canadian cavalry in general and Willoughby in particular. In the course of researching for the production, the crew discovered living members of Willoughby’s family, including his great nephew, John James Willoughby of Drayton Valley, Alberta. Yap Films took the younger Willoughby to France to show him where his great-uncle fought and died. In an emotional scene Jean-Paul Brunel came face-to-face with the namesake of the cavalryman whose memory he had worked so hard to preserve. The film crew presented Jean-Paul with a Lord Strathcona’s Horse jacket and cap, which he wears proudly to historical functions.
The French farmer has become a crusader for recognition of Canadian sacrifices on behalf of the people of Moreuil. In 2008 he established “Historial de Moreuil”, a society to study and memorialize the efforts of the Canadians and the battles that surrounded the town in the Great War.