Minister of Veterans Affairs announces Government of Canada delegation to attend ceremonies in France marking the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel
OTTAWA, June 27, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced plans for an official Government of Canada delegation to travel to France to mark the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. The delegation includes Veterans, youth from Newfoundland and Labrador, representatives of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Royal 22e Régiment, the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and parliamentarians. They will also be joined by an official Newfoundland and Labrador delegation and Canadian youth travelling with tour groups.
Key events will include commemorative ceremonies at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial on July 1 and at the Courcelette Canadian Memorial on July 2. The delegation will also participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Adanac Military Cemetery; as well as attend a commemorative ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial, in Belgium.
Commemorative ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversaries will also be held in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum and at Newfoundland and Labrador's National War Memorial in St. John's on July 1.
- 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 through a hail of enemy fire toward the German lines.
- It would be a tragic beginning to a costly battle where more than 57,000 Commonwealth soldiers would become casualties on the opening day of the fighting alone.
- The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment who went into action near Beaumont-Hamel on July 1 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 Battle of the Somme continued for more than four and a half months. Sadly, more than 24,000 soldiers of the Canadian Corps became casualties before the fighting finally came to an end in November.
- The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial stands as an important symbol of remembrance and a lasting tribute to all Newfoundlanders who served during the First World War, particularly those who have no grave.
"A century later, we must ensure that the memory of the great sacrifices and achievements of our men and women in uniform during the First World War lives on. This is a time to honour the service and sacrifice of those who were there for our country, at home and abroad, when we needed them, and pay tribute by remembering and honouring them."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468