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Webmatters : Royal Newfoundland Regiment: 1st July 2006
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Beaumont Hamel

90th Anniversary: 1st July 2006

The 90th Anniversary 2006

For the first time in almost a century the Royal Newfoundland Regiment found itself ensemble in France.

The reason was the 90th Anniversary of the First day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.

Ninety years previously a young battalion of volunteers and the pride of their small fishing community advanced against an impregnable German Front Line. It was their baptism of fire on the Western Front and cost them dearly.

The following morning only 68 soldiers from 801 were fit to be able to answer the roll call.

The Newfoundland Regiment would in later years be granted the addition of Royal to its name and prove its steadfastness in numerous combats.

By a quirk of fate, the 1st July which serves the people of Newfoundland as their Memorial Day would take on a secondary meaning following their decision to join Canada after the Second World War.

The 1st July is also Canada Day and it is thus with mixed emotions that Newfoundlanders celebrate the founding of their new country whilst at the same time honouring their dead.

To mark the occasion the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, The Princess Royal attended the ceremony and spoke with dignified eloquence about the pride the Regiment had inspired in her great-grandfather, the King.

Unlike previous years when we have suffered considerable bouts of rain, 2006 proved as hot and exhausting for participants and onlookers as it would have done for those lying stranded and wounded within the terrain of the park.

An over riding memory for me will be the heads of the soldiers standing in the old British Front line — swords drawn and bayonets fixed, whilst above them a piper sounded a lament for the fallen.

 

Photos from the day

The Caribou Monument Gathering onlookers in the heat of the day The French Honour Guard In the trenches Keeping an eye on the youngsters of today Police Escort for HRH The Princess Royal HRH The Princess Royal: The Colonel in Chief General Salute It was a very hot morning Once again the trenches are full The Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the old front line The Regimental Colours Those who have taken up the torch The Royal Newfoundland Regiment

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