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Canadian History for Kids: The Newfoundland Regiment

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and Canadian History for Kids have assembled 31 remarkable stories about incredible people, places and events which helped shape our amazing nation.

A grateful nation never forgets a hero.

When Britain entered the First World War on August 4, 1914, Newfoundland and Labrador, which was then a British dominion, was suddenly at war, too.

The people of Newfoundland reacted strongly to the news of war. Almost 1,000 young men signed up to join the newly-created Newfoundland Regiment by late September 1914.

The regiment’s first soldiers set sail for Britain on October 3, 1914 and more soldiers would soon follow. The Newfoundlanders would train in England and Scotland for months before finally seeing action on an unexpected front—the eastern Mediterranean.

In September 20th, 1915 and the Newfoundland regiment, along with the British, Australian, and New Zealand troops, fought to take the Gallipoli Peninsula from the Turkish forces.

On July 1, 1916 the Newfoundland regiment were part of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially, the Allied powers had hoped for a quick victory in the attack.
On July 1st, 1916 a huge explosion stunned the front lines along the Newfoundlanders lines as 18,000 kilograms of explosives ripped a large hole in the German lines.

During the battle a German flare was mistaken for an allied Flare and the Newfoundland Regiment began an attack. As the Newfoundlanders climbed the slope on the battlefield they were fully exposed to a German regiment.

They were slaughtered and within 15 minutes of the attack the Newfoundland regiment had almost ceased to exist. 780 officers and soldiers had started the attack and only 110 returned unscathed. All officers were causalities and only 68 answered the roll call the following day.

The battle at Beaumont Hamel was the key event in the war for the Newfoundlanders and July 1st was designed as Memorial Day in Newfoundland after that as well as Canada Day since its entry into Confederation.

A Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial commemorates the sacrifices of Newfoundlanders during the First World War, especially those dead who have no known grave. It is the largest and most-visited of five Newfoundland memorial sites in France and Belgium.

A large bronze caribou stands on a rocky outcrop above three bronze memorial tablets near the original Newfoundland forward trenches on 1 July. The tablets contain the names of 814 Newfoundlanders from the Newfoundland Regiment, the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, and the Mercantile Marine who died in service during the First World War and who have no known graves.

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