February 20, 1922
On February 20, 1922 six year old Harvey White of Durrells Arm (Twillingate) wrote to Lieut. Col Thomas Nangle enclosing a small donation for the construction of the war memorial at Beaumont Hamel, France.
Lieut. Col Thomas Nangle had purchased from the farmers of France, on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland, the fields that we now know as Beaumont Hamel – the fields where many young men of Newfoundland had died during WWI. Nangle and the government of Newfoundland were determined to establish a War Memorial on the site. A campaign was started that encouraged all Newfoundlanders to support the building of the memorial in any way they could.
Six year old Harvey White wrote:
I ham only a lettel Boy not quit seven yars old
I do go to school Every Day and I ham in no. one Book
an I keep hed of the class Every Day
and I had one Dollar gave me four keeping hed of the Class so I ham sending it to you four Bhaumont hamel memorial
that is the spot ware my Fathere was killed July the First 1916.
I ham in closing one Dollar
Yours very truly
Twillingate, Durrell Arm
Sir if you got eny Fishear Books to spare ps send me some to look at some times I am very fond of books.
“A WEDDING RING BY OCTOBER.”
Harvey never did meet his father, Frederick (Fred) White, age 22, Regimental number 1481.
In a letter from Ayr, Scotland where Fred was stationed before being sent to fight in France, to the mother of the child (Mary Young) he asked Mary if she would consider calling the child (that she was pregnant with) Roland with the promise of a “wedding ring by October.” She did grant his wish – Roland Kitchner Young was born on August 10, 1915. Everyone called him Harvey.
The young soldier and father never did see October – he never saw his son – he died at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.
Little Harvey White’s (he took his father’s surname) determination to support a memorial at Beaumont Hamel was typical of many who gave their last penny to insure that those sons of Newfoundland who had died during the war would have a memorial. A field of honour in the battlefields of France where they died.
The Memorial site at Beaumont Hamel was officially opened on June 7, 1925 three years after little Harry White gave his one dollar donation.
Explanation of term: “no. one book”: Before grades like grade one – grade two and grade three. etc. Schools were structured by book – book one – book two – book three. Book one was equivalent to grade one.
Explanation of term: “Fishear Books”: (Fisher Books) are a series of children’s books written by American author Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
Recommended Archival Collection: What do we have in the ‘Rooms Archives’ on this subject? Type Newfoundland Regiment in the search bar here: http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=The+Rooms+Public&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3355&bCachable=1&MenuName=The+Rooms+Archives
Commemoration of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel: On the 100th anniversary of the battle at Beaumont-Hamel, The Rooms will open this new permanent exhibition. Journey from trench to home front, from recruitment and training through service overseas as you experience stories of the Great War and its lasting impact on the people and the identity of Newfoundland and Labrador. A full day of commemorative activities is planned for July 1, 2016 to honour those from Newfoundland and Labrador who served in the First World War.
Due to the level of interest and anticipated large numbers in attendance for the tribute event, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery will not open to the public until Saturday, July 2. The Rooms is pleased to offer FREE admission to this exhibition on July 2 and 3, 2016.