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Baby Boomer's social commentary on life in OUR sixties for those who rocked life in THE sixties.

Newfoundland’s sacrifice is permanently commemorated on French soil

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A replica of the original "danger tree" shown at the left of the photo is as far as the Newfoundlanders got that day. Their cemetery is visible in the valley in the distance.

A replica of the original “danger tree” shown at the left of the photo is as far as the Newfoundlanders got that day. This is the land they gave their lives for and they are buried in the cemetery visible in the grove in the distance.

On July 1, 1915, seven hundred and seventy-eight men of the Newfoundland Regiment followed orders and went over the top of their trenches at Beaumont-Hamel near The Somme in France to capture previously shelled German strongholds. An hour later only sixty-eight men remained alive, without a single shot being fired by the Newfoundlanders. Even the Germans acknowledged the tremendous sacrifice made by the Newfoundlanders that day. Prince Rupprecht, a commander of the German 6th Army reported that “our losses of territory may be seen on the map with a microscope. Their losses in that far more precious thing—human life—are simply prodigious. Amply and in ground we’ve sold them. They can have all they want at the same price.”

In 1925, years before Newfoundland joined the rest of Canada, the mothers of Newfoundland raised ten thousand dollars to purchase from French farmers the battle site at Beaumont-Hamel in France to be forever dedicated to their men who were killed that day in July 1915.

The caribou monument honours Newfoundland's lost men.

The caribou monument honours Newfoundland’s lost men. Both of these pictures were taken by me during our visit to the site in September 2014.

There, they commissioned a caribou statue in commemoration of their lost sons, brothers and husbands. Thousands of pine trees native to Newfoundland were planted and the site remains preserved as it was one hundred years ago.

Michael Winter honours these men and their families in his new book, “Into The Blizzard”. He describes his trip to France to visit this battle site and others, retracing some of the steps taken by those men so long ago. We are introduced to the real people behind the story including where they came from, why they joined up and how their service has affected their families and descendants many years later.

blizzardThis book was particularly interesting for me as we visited these sites ourselves in September 2014. The author eloquently sums up his position on the futility of war. “The words we are asked to chant are ‘never forget’ and remembrance. And the politicians would have you believe that it is the dead we should not forget. . . . It is not the dead we should remember. It is the atrocities that occur when men in charge throw individuals into war and kill them for some idea. It is this we should never forget.”

 

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Author: Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

One thought on “Newfoundland’s sacrifice is permanently commemorated on French soil

  1. Wow! That’s a powerful one, Lynda!

    jacquie

    note recent address change to:

    2212 – 185 Lyon Street North

    Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7Y4

    Like

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