NFLD/LAB. DAY OF HEART BREAK. 2016/07/01
1 July 2016, Canadas’ 149th Birthday and the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in World War 1.
While this is a day of celebration for Canada it is also a day of Remembrance for the people of Newfoundland/Labrador. On this day 100 years ago on the Western Front the Allies launch an attack against the Germany Trenches along the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle would last 131 days and result in a total of over one million casualties. Britain would suffer 451,842 casualties while France suffered 250,000 and Germany 537,918. It was and is the bloodiest battle in History.
For Newfoundland /Labrador it is the darkest day in their short history. The Battle of Beaumont-Hamel is forever etched into the memory of every Newfoundlander. On the morning of 1 July 1916 the Royal Newfoundland Regiment waited in their trenches for the order to advance with the third wave of the British attack. At 9:15 a.m. the regiment was ordered over the top and left their trenches moving towards their jump off position. They advanced across open ground with no artillery support and full view of the enemy into a maelstrom of Germany Artillery and Machine Gun fire. The attack by the R.N.R lasted 30 minutes ending at 9:45 a.m. The Newfoundlanders suffered 324 dead, 386 wounded and on the following day 2 July 1916 only 68 men were capable of answering the Roll Call. In just 30 minutes the R.N.R. ceased to exist as a fighting unit. This slaughter affected almost every family in Newfoundland. In 1916 it was a separate Dominion within the British Empire and not part of Canada; that would come 33 years later on 1 July 1949 when Newfoundland became the 10th Province of Canada.
This day is both one of Remembrance and Celebration in Canadas’ youngest family member. Although they were not part of Canada in 1916 that display of discipline and bravery would become part of Canadas’ proud Military Tradition.
HAPPY CANADA DAY-BON FETE CANADA
LEST WE FORGET.