OTTAWA, June 30, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today issued the following statement to mark the 98th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War's Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel:
"On July 1, 1916, along the Western Front in France, the British suffered their worst ever single day of combat losses—more than 57,000 killed, wounded, or missing. At the time, the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment was serving as part of the British forces and suffered staggering losses at Beaumont-Hamel. Of some 800 Newfoundlanders who went forward that day, only 68 were able to answer roll call the next morning.
"The Canadian Corps also saw action at the Somme, and like the Newfoundlanders who were held in high esteem by all Allied forces, they earned a reputation as hard-hitting shock troops. For more than four horrific months the Battle of the Somme raged on, taking a heavy toll with more than 24,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders becoming casualties.
"As we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 1st, let us remember the determination and valour of those who have defended our freedom."
For video and resources on the contributions of Canadians and Newfoundlanders in the First World War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media inquiries: Janice Summerby, Media Relations Advisor, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468; Barbara Mottram, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649