It’s been almost a century since hundreds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were killed in the tragic battle at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916. But the enormous loss from a time we were our own country still remains in people’s hearts on what is otherwise celebrated as Canada Day countrywide.
As people across the country celebrated Canada Day Monday, many in Newfoundland and Labrador observed Memorial Day and commemorated the hundreds of lives lost during World War I at Beaumont Hamel, France on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
At one of the many ceremonies held province-wide, about 100 people gathered beneath the Caribou Monument at Bowring Park in St. John’s Monday afternoon. In front of the Beaumont Hamel Memorial plaques – replicas of those in France, which list the names of 820 soldiers, sailors and seamen from Newfoundland and Labrador who died in the Great War and have no known graves – veterans and others marked the somber occasion with words of remembrance and a singing of Ode to Newfoundland.
Memorial Day, July 1, 2013 – Bowring Park, St. John’s
Justin Brake is an independent journalist from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland) who currently lives and works on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa. He is of mixed settler and Mi'kmaq descent and focuses much of his attention on Indigenous rights and liberation, social justice, climate action and decolonization. He has worked in various capacities for CBC, The Telegram, APTN News and The Independent, and is actively exploring new forms and styles of journalistic storytelling through emerging frameworks like movement journalism and systems journalism.