Dominion of Newfoundland
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Canada's national holiday falls on the 1st July. Newfoundland became Canada's tenth province in 1949. From that time the morning of the national holiday is marked by remembrance ceremonies. Since 1916 for Newfoundlanders this has been a day of mourning the losses suffered by the volunteer Royal Newfoundland Regiment on the Somme.
At the time of the First World War Newfoundland was a Dominion of the British Empire with a population of 240,000. Despite its relatively small population in 1914 the Government of Newfoundland recruited enough men to form a Battalion within the British Army. The island maintained a Battalion strength fighting force throughout the war. The regiment was deployed to Gallipoli via Egypt joining the 29th British Division.
In 1916 the Regiment while stationed on the Western Front was destroyed as a fighting force by German fire power on the 1st July the first day of fighting on the Somme. On recovery the Regiment distuinguished itself in a series of battles culminating in acts of extraordinary valour at Ypres and Cambrai in 1917. George V re-titled the force the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. It was the only Regiment in WW1 to receive the honour. The Regiment continued to fight with great courage and valour and among its ranks Thomas Ricketts was the youngest soldier of the war to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Around 1,900 Newfoundland fishermen and seamen served throughout the Royal Navy of whom 180 died. Over 500 Newfoundlanders served in Scotland from 1917 within the Forestry Corps. Women from Newfoundland served abroad as nurses in the Voluntary Aid Detachment.
Grave markers show a Caribou - emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
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