As the weather turns cooler, and the days get shorter, we are greeted on many a street-corner, and many a store check-out with the reminder of men who served to preserve our way of life. We are given the opportunity to show our support for veterans through the purchasing and wearing of poppies, and by honouring a moment of silence at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
For Newfoundlanders the loss of WWI was sorely felt at the battle of Beaumont Hamel on the 1st of July 1916, where the Newfoundland regiment was all but lost while advancing on German troops. Of the 780 who were sent into battle, 710 were killed, with only 68 reporting for duty the following morning.
This catastrophic loss had a large effect on Newfoundland culture, with every community feeling the direct impact of this battle. Many families lost sons, brothers, fathers, and uncles; with this one battle resulting in the death of 3% of the Dominion’s total population.
In Honour of the men the Dominion of Newfoundland organised the purchase of the site of the battle in France, and developed the largest battalion memorial on the Western Front.
This year Newfoundland will be commemorating the Battle with a series of events in the months leading up to the 100th Anniversary on July 1st.
The first of these events will be held this week on November 10th 2015 at 7pm at The Rooms, where guests will have the opportunity to learn about and listen to the music of WWI at: The Great Songs of the Great War.
Events will continue over the next seven months, culminating in a large commemorative event on the 1st of July, with the opening of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery, a dedication of the Fortis Courtyard and Amphitheatre, live musical tributes and performances, and a Royal visit.
The Centenary is also being commemorated with the development of the documentary Newfoundland at Armageddon. A production by the multi-award winning Canadian filmmaker Brian McKenna, co-written with celebrated Newfoundland author Michael Crummey. This production is working closely with descendents of the veterans to gather stories, and giving families the opportunity to be involved in the re-enactment of the battle.
These events are sure to be powerful and moving, and will provide an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the loss of life 100 years ago. We hope that you will consider attending your local ceremonies this coming week, and honour the men who gave their lives.
Love the Skerwinkles xoxox
For a full calendar of upcoming events visit The Rooms, and learn how you can get involved.
For more information on Beaumont Hamel, click here.
For more information on poppies, check out this fact sheet.
For more information on the re-enactment of Beaumont Hamel, click here.