On Canada Day 2017, as millions of our fellow countrymen and women celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we must take a moment to remember that for many Canadians, the 1st of July is a solemn occasion.
To the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, this day is known instead as Memorial Day, in remembrance of the tragic events at Beaumont-Hamel during the Somme “France”, in the First World War. It is here that the Royal Newfoundland Regiment would lose 90% of its soldiers within a single hour. Many of these men were unable to reach the high-water mark of the attack, represented by what the soldiers called, the Danger Tree. Today, a replica of the Danger tree stands in the exact place and acts as a reminder of the grave sacrifice witnessed there.
Of the regiment’s 778 men that did their duty and went over the top, 324 lost their lives, 386 were wounded, and only 68 answered roll call that night. 101 years after the battle, an impressive bronze Caribou overlooks the place where Newfoundland and Labrador lost so many of its sons.
Photo: The Danger Tree replica (left) with the “Y” Ravine Cemetery in the background (Credit: Lynda Davis https://boomerbroadcast.net)