OTTAWA, July 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian, British and French citizens
gathered today at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, in France,
in honour of those who fought and died at Beaumont-Hamel on
July 1, 1916—the opening day of the Battle of the Somme during the
First World War.
"Ninety-seven years ago today, the battle that became known as one of
the bloodiest in the history of the British Army opened in France.
There are few places in the world that serve as a greater testament to
the history of our nation or the strength of our people than
Beaumont-Hamel and the Somme," said the Honourable Steven Blaney,
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie. "On
Canada Day, as we celebrate our great country, we enjoy our freedom
thanks to brave heroes in uniform like the Newfoundlanders and
Canadians who fought on the Somme. It is our duty to continue to
remember their sacrifices."
A number of dignitaries attended the commemorative ceremony marking the
97th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. They included Mr. Kim Butler,
Plenipotentiary Minister, Canadian Embassy in France, the Honourable
Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Mr. Yann
Misiak, Secretary General of the sous-préfecture of Péronne and representative of the French Republic.
On July 1, 1916, the men of the Newfoundland Regiment advanced over open
ground into a relentless barrage of artillery and machine gun fire.
Tragically, in less than half an hour, the Regiment was torn apart and
the next day, only 68 of the approximately 800 men who went into battle
would answer the roll call.
"In this year of the 97th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the Government of Canada
remains committed to honouring the valiant actions of the Royal
Newfoundland Regiment who gave so much to help protect our freedom,"
said Mr. Butler.
For more information the Battle of the Somme and the Beaumont-Hamel
Newfoundland Memorial, visit veterans.gc.ca. Share your thoughts at facebook.com/CanadaRemembers.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the
heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom,
democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in
the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Senior Manager, Commemorative Sites
Veterans Affairs Canada
(33) (0) 3-2150-6868
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs