July 1: Prisoners of War in Germany, Regulations.
George Edward Pike
Rank: Lance Corporal
Community: Grand Falls
Date of Death: July 1, 1916
Cemetery: Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
Parents: Nathaniel and Emma Pike of Grand Falls, Born at Harbour Grace.
The “July Drive” on July 1, 1916 annihilated the Newfoundland Regiment. When the roll call was taken, only 68 responded. Final battle figures revealed 233 men from the Regiment dead, 386 wounded, and ninety-one reported missing (and later assumed dead).
In the trenches at Beaumont Hamel, George Pike of Grand Falls stood shoulder to shoulder with a number of other men from Grand Falls and Botwood.
When news of the July Drive reached Newfoundland, many families refused to believe that their sons had died. The family of George Pike prayed that he was a Prisoner of War (POW). His father Nathaniel wrote to the Department of the Militia in the Colonial Building in St. John’s explaining “if (George) is a prisoner in Germany, I should like to know if I could send him … a package of food…”
The Department of the Militia responded that he should not send any food packages:
Until it is known that your son is a prisoner of war or elsewhere, it would be strongly inadvisable to send any parcels to him. Every effort is being made to ascertain whether if any of the missiing are prisoners of war and and lists on which your sons names figures, have been sent throughout Germany.
It was not until November that the War office confirmed that George Pike had died with all of the other Newfoundlanders on July 1, 1916.
Recommended Reading: Browne, Gary. Forget-Me-Not: Fallen Boy Soldiers,St. John’s: DRC Publishing, 1911. 145p.
Recommended Song: Oh, Oh It’s a Lovely War by Courtland and Jefferies http://www.ww1photos.com/OhWhatALovelyWar.html
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives there are available 6683 individual service files, 2300 have been digitized and are available at: http://www.therooms.ca/regiment/part1_entering_the_great_war.asp
This searchable database for military service records includes the attestation papers: name, service number, community and district of origin, next of kin and relationship, religion, occupation, year of enlistment, fatality, and POW status (if applicable). Take some time to read the stories of these young men.