OTTAWA, July 1, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, Senator David Wells participated in a wreath-laying ceremony today at the National War Memorial, in Ottawa, to pay tribute to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who fought and the almost 700 who became casualties during the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel.
"Each year, on July 1, we proudly celebrate the birth of our great nation—a country that would be very different today were it not for the efforts of all Canadians who served during the First World War," said Minister Blaney. "Today, we also remember the historic day at Beaumont-Hamel, and we honour the valiant sacrifices and accomplishments of the Newfoundland Regiment."
The Battle of the Somme began on July 1, 1916. On that fateful morning, members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment attacked the German trenches at Beaumont-Hamel, France, and suffered casualties far beyond expectation. Approximately 800 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians went into battle that morning, and sadly, only 68 were present for roll call the next day.
"I feel privileged to help mark the 97th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and, specifically, to honour the men and women of my home province and their remarkable bravery shown at Beaumont-Hamel," said Senator Wells. "Pride for the Newfoundland Regiment at the Battle of the Somme can still be felt across Newfoundland and Labrador today."
Government of Canada representatives also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony today in Beaumont-Hamel, France, to mark the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and in particular the sacrifices of the Newfoundland Regiment on that day. For more information on the Battle of the Somme and the First World War, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
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:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs