Sunday, February 05, 2006
Newfoundland Caribou Memorial - Beaumont Hamel, France
On July 1, 1915, at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, the Royal Newfoundland regiment emerged from behind their lines and advanced into a hail of German machine-gun fire. Of the 778 soldiers in the regiment, 233 were killed,386 were wounded and 91 were missing. Only 68 men appeared to answer the roll call at battle's end. The full count of the Regiment's casualties could not be completed for several days, but the final grim figures revealed the virtual annihilation of the Battalion. In the 29th Division's report of the operation, General de Lisle wrote to the Prime Minister of Newfoundland: " It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed of success because dead men can advance no farther. " Of all the places where soldiers from Newfoundland fought in two world Wars, no other name means as much to Newfoundlanders as Beaumont Hamel. The casualty lists from that battle reached into every community of the island Colony.