30 June 2018

Newfoundland Memorial Day

It's 00.00 NDT on the Rock, so it's Memorial Day in Newfoundland. In the rest of Canada it's Dominion Day, but in Newfoundland, today is dedicated to remembrance, remembering the men of the (Royal) Newfoundland Regiment who fell during the Great War in service of their King and Country.

The Flag of the independent Dominion of Newfoundland,
under which the Regiment fought.
Today is the 102nd Anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel and the opening of the Battle of the Somme, of which Beaumont-Hamel was a part. At 08.45 that morning, the Regiment was ordered forward. Most of the Regiment who had started forward were dead, dying or wounded within 15 to 20 minutes of leaving their trench.

So far as can be ascertained, 22 officers and 758 other ranks were directly involved in the advance. Of these, all the officers and slightly under 658 other ranks became casualties. Of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only 68 were available for roll call the following day. For all intents and purposes the Newfoundland Regiment had been wiped out, the unit as a whole having suffered a casualty rate of approximately 90 percent.

Major-General Sir Beauvoir De Lisle, KCB, KCMG, DSO said, referring to the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel,
It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed of success because dead men can advance no further.
In recognition of its valour, His Majesty King George V bestowed the prefix 'Royal' on the Regiment in December 1917. This was the only time during the First World War that this honour was given and only the third time in the history of the British Army that it has been given during a time of war.

Garb of Old Gaul, the slow march of the Regiment, honouring the Scottish roots of Newfoundland, played by the Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch.

The Banks of Newfoundland, the Regimental 
quick march, played by the Regimental Band

Stand down, Men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, your duty is done. You served your King and Country well, now rest in peace.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget! Lest we forget!

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