OTTAWA, July 1, 2016 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, attended today's commemorative ceremony in Ottawa. The event, hosted by the Government of Canada in partnership with the Canadian War Museum, marked the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel.
Representatives from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council and Canadian Veterans' organizations; Canadian youth; Parliamentarians; members of the diplomatic corps; and other special guests also paid tribute during the wreath-laying ceremony.
The First World War's Battle of the Somme began in northern France on July 1, 1916, when waves of Allied soldiers began climbing out of their trenches to advance toward the German lines through a hail of enemy fire. The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment who went into action near Beaumont-Hamel that day were hit especially hard with only 68, of the some 800 men who had taken part, being able to answer the roll call the next morning.
The Canadian War Museum is commemorating this sombre centenary with a photographic exhibition. Under the name Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador, it examines the impact and legacy of a world-changing conflict for what is now Canada's easternmost province. A special display of historical photos, titled 1 July 1916: The Somme and Beaumont-Hamel, will hang next to Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador until July 20, 2016.
- July 1, 2016, marks the 100th anniversaries of the beginning of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel.
- The Battle of the Somme would grind on for more than four and a half months, and the Canadian Corps would see action there in the late summer and fall. Sadly, more than 24,000 Canadian soldiers became casualties before the fighting finally came to an end in November.
- The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial site in France commemorates all Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War, particularly those who have no known grave.
"Let us join together to keep the memory alive of our heroes who sacrificed so much during the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel 100 years ago. The great sacrifice that was made by soldiers at Beaumont-Hamel serves as a reminder of the determination and valour shown by the Newfoundland Regiment who gave so much to protect our freedom. We will remember them."
Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"Commemorative events, such as the 100th Anniversaries of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel, ensure that the bravery and dedication of our Canadian heroes will never be forgotten. While the outcome of these battles was tragic for thousands of brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders, the courage and accomplishments of these soldiers on the battlefield helped solidify the reputation of the Canadian Corps and set high standards for today's members of the Canadian Armed Forces."
Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
- For more information on the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel, including the schedule of events, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website at veterans.gc.ca. Share your thoughts at facebook.com/CanadaRemembers.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Contacts: Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468