Tag Archives: Newfoundland Regiment

Sacred Newfoundland Ground in France

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

June 7, 1925

Photo Credit: NA 3106; Opening of the Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel, France

Of the five memorials established in France and Belgium in memory of major actions fought by the  Newfoundland Regiment, the largest is the thirty hectare site at Beaumont-Hamel, nine kilometres north of the town of Albert. This site commemorates all Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War, particularly those who have no known grave. The site was officially opened by Field Marshal Earl Haig on June 7, 1925.

Shortly after the Great War, the Government of Newfoundland purchased the ground over which the 1st Newfoundland Regiment made its heroic advance on July 1.

Much of the credit for  this and the other memorials is due to (Reverend) Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nangle, a Roman Catholic priest from St. John’s who as Director of Graves Registration and Enquiry and Newfoundland’s representative on the Imperial War Graves Commission, negotiated with some 250 French landowners for the purchase of the site. He (Father Nangle) had a leading part in planning and supervising the erection, at each of the five Newfoundland Memorials sites in Europe, of a statue of the noble caribou, the emblem of the Regiment, standing facing the former foe with head thrown high in defiance.

The landscape architect, who designed the sites and supervised their construction, was Mr. R.H.K. Cochius, a native of Holland living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The caribous were the work of the English sculptor, Basil Gotto. He also executed the statue of the “Fighting Newfoundlander,” which Sir Edward Bowring gifted to the people of St. John’s.

Recommended Reading:  Soldier Priest: In the Killing Fields of Europe Padre Thomas Nangle Chaplain to the Newfoundland Regiment WWI by Gary Browne and Darrin McGrath.

Recommended Archival Collection: What do we have in the ‘Rooms Archives’ on this subject? Type  Beaumont  Hamel  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

Recommended Exhibit: Beaumont Hamel and The Trail the Caribou. 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.

 

 

“He was my only son. He has played the hero’s part…”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

November 11 – Remembrance Day

NA 3106 Opening of the Newfoundland Memorial Park

Eli Abbot, 18, left Grand Falls by train with a group of friends arriving in St. John’s on February 20, 1916.  He went directly to the recruitment center  (CLB Armory) where he signed up to fight for “King and Country.”   Four days later he marched with his battalion to the waterfront in St. John’s where he boarded the S.S. Sicilian, the transport ship that would take him to Europe to fight.

Just one year later the Rev. W.T.D. Dunn, the Methodist Minister in Grand Falls, walked to the Abbott home in Grand Fall’s clutching a telegram to Mr. Charles Abbott. The telegram read:

I regret to inform you that the Records Office London today reports that number 2119 Private Eli Abbott  was killed in action  28 January

In the quiet of her home on March 4, 1917 his mother Annie Abbott wrote:

“He was my only son. He  has played the hero’s part and has put down his life for King and Country … I shall see him no longer on earth but trust to meet him again in the great beyond where there will be no more war where all will be peace and happiness…”

We will remember him and all those that served their country.

On Friday, 11 November 2016 at 10:55 a.m., Their Honours (Honourable Frank F. Fagan and Her Honour Patricia Fagan) will attend the Remembrance Day War Memorial Service at the National War Memorial, St. John’s  where His Honour will lay the first wreath. Her Honour will lay a wreath on behalf of the Women’s Patriotic Association. Following the Service, His Honour will take the Salute in front of the Court House on Water Street. At the conclusion of the parade, Their Honours will host a Reception at Government House for invited guests.

At 2:00 p.m., Their Honours will attend the Annual Service of Remembrance at the Caribou Memorial Veterans’ Pavilion.

At 8:00 p.m., Their Honours will attend the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra’s Masterwork’s #2, Honour, Reflect, Remember, at The Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

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.

 

Our war story in poetry

Archival Moment

July 1, 1916

“Advance of the Newfoundlanders”

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division A 58-152, For Victory

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division A 58-152, For Victory

Young soldiers who witnessed the devastation of trench warfare found ways to cope with what they had seen. Willam Coysh, 20 years old, Regimental #2018 from the Battery Road in St. John’s tried to cope by writing poetry.  On October 12, 1916 while recovering from “shell shock and shrapnel wounds to the back and right arm” at the 4th London General Hospital, London, England he wrote “Advance of the Newfoundlanders” a poem about the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.

Onward they swept in the flower of

their manhood,

Our lads from Newfoundland,

far from the sea.

Onward thy swept until the last man

had fallen

Had fallen for Britain, the land of

the free.

With guns in front and rear,

With death and danger near,

To them unknown was fear,

Gallant five hundred.

Oh, well we might love the fair land

that bore us,

That can boast of sons so

loyal and true,

Who gave us their all to keep the flag

flying,

The flag of our Empire,

the red, white and blue.

For no braver deed hath e’er been recorded

Then their steady advance o’er the shell riv’en soil,

The scene of long months of

horror and anguish

Amid death and danger, privation and toil

On swept the gallant band,

Falling on every hand

O’er that dread No Man’s Land

Went that five hundred!

Upon returning to Newfoundland in 1917 described as ‘medically unfit” Coysh was assigned special duty as a quartermaster sergeant a warrant officer responsible for supplies.

Following the war William Coysh moved to Highland Park, Detroit, U.S.A. He died at the Maddison Community Hospital on 4 November 1977.

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.

 

“They raided and stole puddings and turkeys”

Archival Moment

December 24, 1915

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives A 58-153; Newfoundland troops resting in the snow

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives A 58-153; Newfoundland troops resting in the snow. Click on photo to enlarge.

Christmas 1915, the men of the Newfoundland Regiment found themselves in Turkey. They had to be creative with regard to making a good Christmas dinner. In 1928 Major J. W. March with a friend W.J. Eaton recalled the Christmas of 1915 in the trenches.

“On Christmas Eve we landed at Helles, (Turkey) and proceeded inland under a downpour of rain, eventually halting, not in trenches, but in square holes in the ground. Here then we spent Christmas, 1915.

The night of December 24th is rather historic; it was known that our Christmas dinners were to consist of one good tin of Bully Beef and four square biscuits, which looked like and were commonly known to the Troops, as dog biscuits. On top of this a party was detailed to proceed to Headquarters to draw picks and shovels, presumably for work the following day.

Our Battalion Poet describes the scene as follows:

In the night there came an order

Immediately to send some boys

For picks and shovels from Headquarters.

Food they pinched and made a noise,

They brought back no rusty shovels,

And I fear the story’s true,

That they raided and stole puddings,

Pinched the General’s turkey too.

The following is the unofficial version in prose:

Whilst the officer in charge of the carrying party of 50 men, was arranging for the working tools, the men were investigating and discovered a pretentious “cook-house,” the sentry on duty there being rather a nuisance, was quickly and silently gagged with a large woolen scarf, and many 7-lb. tins of pudding, dates and even a Turkey quickly disappeared from this splendid establishment.

The Brigade Major, however, appeared on the scene like the raging lion of ancient days and many of the puddings had to fly over the cliff so that no evidence would be found.

Comrade W. J. Eaton was guide for this party and we fully believe that in his capacity as guide he unconsciously led back that night, many puddings and a turkey or two.

Of Christmas Day there is not much to be said. The best possible was done with the materials at hand, and after all, the unquenchable spirit of the men and the good comradeship made the Christmas Day at Helles happy for all concerned.”

Recommended Exhibit: Archives Reference Entrance: The Newfoundland Regiment and the Gallipoli Campaign. This small exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, where members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment experienced their baptism by fire and saw their first combat casualties. Lantern slides, photographs, maps and documents provide insights into this ill-fated campaign. – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/exhibits/now/the-newfoundland-regiment-and-the-gallipoli-campaign#sthash.GzGNwAKA.dpuf

Recommended Reading: The Veteran, 1928, vol. 7, no. 4 (December) has a number of stories written by the men and women who served in the First World War.

 

 

“I enclose a photograph of my brother”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

JULY 1 – MEMORIAL DAY

Harry Frampton

Rank: Private

Service # 2198

Community: Grand Falls

Age: 19

Occupation: Wood Barker

Date of Death: April 14, 1917

Regiment: Newfoundland Regiment

Cemetery: Beaumont Hamel, France

Parents: George and Sarah Frampton, of 30 Beaumont Avenue, Grand Falls.

On February 28, 1916, Harry Frampton, age 19, with some friends  who worked with him at the mill in Grand Falls’ appeared before the recruitment officer, St. John’s for a medical examination.  He was a small for his age – just 5 foot 6 inches only 114 lbs.  He was accepted to fight for “King and Country” the next day.

On May 11, 1917 a telegram was delivered to the Frampton home in Grand Fall’s – the approach of the clergy with a telegram was often a sure sign of death – but this telegram offered hope, it read:    “regret to inform you that the Record Office, London  that Number 2198, Harry Frampton, Missing April 14…”  he was not dead, he was missing.

The family wanted to do all they could to help find their missing son and brother.  His sister, Mary Frampton took the only photograph they had in the house of him and sent it to the War Office. She wrote:

Grand  Falls, May 22nd, 1917

I enclose photograph of my brother No 2198, Private Harry Frampton, 20 years of age. Short and thin, black hair, eyes brown, Missing since April 14th, 1917.

A year later, on May 15, 1918   a package with Harry Frampton’s “Kit Bag” was delivered to the family with a letter that read:

 “it is my regrettable duty to forward you one “Kit Bag” which belonged to your son …. My deepest sympathy in your bereavement…”

Recommended Archival Collection:    At the Rooms Provincial Archives there is 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.

Recommended Reading: Browne, Gary. Forget-Me-Not: Fallen Boy Soldiers, St. John’s: DRC Publishing, 1911. 145p.

Recommended Song:  Pack up your Troubles by Murray Johnson http://www.ww1photos.com/PackUpYourTroublesInYourOldKitBag.html

 

“I should like to know if I could send him … a package of food”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

  July 1:  Prisoners of War in Germany, Regulations.  

Newfoundland Prisoner of War in Germany regulations concerning parcels.  April 1918, Daily News.

Newfoundland Prisoner of War in Germany regulations concerning parcels. April 1918, Daily News.

George Edward Pike

Rank: Lance Corporal

Service: 898

Community: Grand Falls

Age: 33

Date of Death: July 1, 1916

Regiment: NewfoundlandRegiment

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.

“He asks for some eats and smokes”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

 JULY 1: MEMORIAL DAY

Royal Newfoundland Regiment

George Goudie

Rank: Corporal

Service #2242

Community: Grand Falls

Age: 18

Occupation: Timekeeper

Date of Death: November 6, 1918

Regiment:  Newfoundland Regiment

Cemetery: Vevey (St. Martin’s) Cemetery, Lake Geneva,Switzerland

Parents: Elias and Mary Jane Goudie, of Grand Falls. Born at Northern Arm, Botwood.

During the war years parents often received conflicting news from the front.  If a soldier went missing in action (MIA) often the only shred of hope that the parents could cling to was that their son was prisoner of war (POW).  As a POW they could at least take comfort that he was alive.

On June 15, 1917, Elias and Mary Jane Goudie, the parents of George, received a telegram that gave them hope.  He was alive and “being treated well.”

The Telegram  read:

” Have pleasure in informing you Record Office, London, today reports  No 2242  Corporal  George Goudie, prisoner of war at Munster, Westphalia, Germany, April twenty third, suffering from gunshot wound right leg, being well treated.”

Upon hearing the news that that their was in the POW Camp in  Germany , Elias and  Jane,  through their local clergyman  Reverend W.T. D. Dunn, Pastor of the Methodist Church in Grand Falls  wrote

“In his letters to his parents (George Goudie)  pleads for a shaving outfit, a towel and some eats and smokes. His parents would be glad to furnish amounts ….” 

There was more reason for hope when news arrived that he was “being transferred from Germany to a POW Camp in Switzerland”.

Unfortunately the POW Camps were breathing grounds for disease especially tuberculosis.  News arrived (November 18, 1918) that he had contracted the disease and had died “shortly after the Armistice, just before he was to be repatriated …”

Recommended Reading: Browne, Gary. Forget-Me-Not: Fallen Boy Soldiers, St. John’s: DRC Publishing, 1911. 145p.

Recommended Archival Collection:    At the Rooms Provincial Archives there is 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.