Government of Canada marks 101st anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel

Remembrance ceremony recognizes Newfoundlanders who fought during the First World War

BEAUMONT-HAMEL, France, July 1, 2017 /CNW/ - During the First World War, Newfoundlanders and Canadians bravely put their country before self, just as Canadian Armed Forces members continue to today. Our Veterans and their families deserve our heartfelt recognition and respect in honour of their service.

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Ambassador of Canada to France, joined Canadian and French citizens and officials to pay tribute to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and recognize the service and ultimate sacrifice of Newfoundlanders in the First World War.

The Ambassador was joined by the Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, representing the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; madame Odile Bureau, sous-préfète de Péronne and representative of the French Republic; Canadian Armed Forces members and military representatives from other countries; Veterans; and Canadian youth.

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • Thousands of soldiers from France, Britain and its Commonwealth members, including Newfoundland, made their way across "No Man's Land" through a hail of machine gun fire. By the end of the Battle's first day, more than 57,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers had been killed, wounded or had gone missing.
  • The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment who fought at Beaumont-Hamel that day were hit especially hard; more than 700 Newfoundlanders—some 86% of those who went into battle—were killed, wounded or went missing.
  • More than 24,000 soldiers of the Canadian Corps would also become casualties in later fighting on the Somme before the brutal battle finally came to an end in November 1916.
  • The striking Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France—at the heart of which stands a large bronze caribou, the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment—commemorates the Newfoundlanders who fought and died in the First World War.
  • 2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada, including Canada 150 celebrations, the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

Quote

"The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial pays tribute to the tremendous courage and sacrifices of soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment who fought and died there more than a century ago. As I saw first-hand last April, this site remains a very special place to pay our respect and to thank those brave soldiers and their families."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

"Today, we remember the thousands of Newfoundlanders who fought bravely next to Canadians and other Allied soldiers in the First World War. Their legacy is the freedom we continue to enjoy today."
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Ambassador of Canada to France

Associated Links

 

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 1-613-992-7468, vac.media-medias.acc@vac-acc.gc.ca; European Operations, Veterans Affairs Canada, (33) (0) 6 73 25 92 66

RELATED LINKS
www.veterans.gc.ca

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