November 17, 1916
On November 17, 1916 Vincent Carew of Cape Broyle, Newfoundland quietly enlisted to “fight for country and king.” He was 23 years old and the father of two young children.
His wife Elizabeth, when she heard the news that he had signed up was distraught. She immediately wrote a letter to the Governor telling his officials that she had “two small children” and that she did not want her husband to go to war. The governor’s secretary wrote back that there was nothing that he could do.
One month later on January 31 – Vincent Carew – marched with all of the other Newfoundland volunteers, from their make shift tents near Quidi Vidi to the S.S. Florizel – the troop ship that was waiting in St. John’s Harbour to carry them to the war zones of Europe.
Seven months later on July 10, 1917 he was killed in action in Belgium.
Those who survived, wondered about where their loved one’s had been buried in the fields of Europe. They often wrote to government officials asking for a photograph of the grave site. Elizabeth Carew wrote and received the photograph of her husband’s grave site in 1922.
She wrote back to government officials “Received the photograph of the grave of Private Vincent Carew. Many Thanks. Yours, Bessie Carew.”
The headstone s located in the Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium.
Recommended Archival Collection: Search the Archives: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections
Recommended Exhibit: The First World War had a profound impact on Newfoundland and Labrador. It involved thousands of our people in world-changing events overseas and dramatically altered life at home. Our “Great War” happened in the trenches and on the ocean, in the legislature and in the shops, by firesides and bedsides. This exhibition shares the thoughts, hopes, fears, and sacrifices of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who experienced those tumultuous years – through their treasured mementoes, their writings and their memories. – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/exhibits/always/beaumont-hamel-and-the-trail-of-the-caribou#sthash.lv9JmCbn.dpuf
Recommended Book: Browne, Gary. Forget-Me-Not: Fallen Boy Soldiers: Royal Newfoundland Regiment World War One, St. John’s, DRC Publishing, 2010.