Tag Archives: Thomas Nangle

“City of Funerals”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

September 15, 1924

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: VA 157-110; Gerald J. Whitty and William King’s funeral procession, Water Street, St. John’s

The death of six men in the City of St. John’s on (September 15, 1924) cast a gloom over the city. The local newspapers described St. John’s as a “city of funerals.”  The citizens of St. John’s and the province were mourning the loss of  Gerald J. Whitty and fellow veterans who were struck and killed by a speeding car at Donovans  (on the outskirts of the City).

Gerald  J. Whitty as secretary-treasurer  of the  Great War Veterans Association (GWVA)  of Newfoundland  was  known throughout the province for his advocacy work  for the veterans returning to Newfoundland following the Great War.  He helped run the poppy campaign, begun in 1921, and edited the Veteran Magazine. In 1923 he represented the GWVA in London at the first biennial conference of the British Empire Service League.

He was instrumental in improving pensions and the project of a national memorial to honour Newfoundland’s war dead.

On the evening of 15 September, Whitty and 13 companions met in a restaurant at Donovans to bid farewell to a friend who was leaving for England.  At 11:00 p.m., he, William King, another prominent Newfoundland veteran, and Chief Petty Officer Robert Lovett of HMS Constance were standing by the bus that was to take the party back to St John’s. Suddenly, a speeding car appeared and struck the three men. Whitty and William King were killed instantly, as were four occupants of the car.

On 18 September, St John’s became a “city of funerals.” In the afternoon, following the burial of William King in the General Protestant Cemetery, the funeral procession continued to Whitty’s residence.

At the War Memorial  on Water Street that he was instrumental in having established , a short halt was made and wreaths placed. Whitty was buried in Belvedere Cemetery.

At the graveside, Father Thomas Nangle observed that veterans had lost “their best friend and advocate.”

Recommended Archival Collection:  At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division explore VA 157 an album of photographs relating to the experience of Gerald J. Whitty.

Recommended Reading:  William Whitty, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Melvin Baker and Peter Neary.

Memorial Day at The Rooms.

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

July 1, 1916

Meet descendants of the men and women who served their country 100 years ago.

Memorial Day at The Rooms.
Date: Saturday, July 1st, 2017
Time: 12:00pm – 5:00pm

 

NA 3106 Opening of the Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel, France

July 1st is a time for celebration for the people of Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador, the day has a more somber meaning.

Memorial Day commemorates the participation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel, France.

On July 1, 1916, 801 members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment fought in that battle and only 68 answered the roll call the next morning.

 “We here in Newfoundland have felt the effects of the war… The  dreadful reality of war has come to too many families throughout the land. And there are very few districts in the Island which are not mourning… sons lost on the field of battle. The war is an all absorbing topic, it is never absent from our thoughts. It is like some dreadful nightmare that we cannot shake off. Our prayers and desires are for a speedy end of the war, for an early peace, but for a peace at the same time, which will render impossible another such world calamity as that which we are suffering now.” (Source:  Edward Patrick Roche, 1918  – 107‑2‑6)

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 is due to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nangle. As Director of Graves Registration and Enquiry and Newfoundland’s representative on the Imperial War Graves Commission, he negotiated with some 250 French landowners for the purchase of the site. He 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.

Memorial Day at The Rooms.
Date: Saturday, July 1st, 2017
Time: 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Cost:  Free Admission

Spend some time in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery to meet descendants of the men and women who served their country 100 years ago. Hear their stories and share your own. Come speak to Ean Parsons, whose grandmother Margaret Taylor served in the Voluntary Aid Detachment. Or chat with Cheryl Stacey whose grandfather Sergeant Anthony James Stacey was a runner during the battle at Beaumont-Hamel and witnessed it all. Hear many more heart-warming and heart-breaking stories like theirs.

At 1pm, come sing along in our Instant Choir brought to us by Growing Their Voices: Festival 500. Julia Halfyard and Peter Halley will teach us a song from The Great War and we will perform ‘live’ for facebook.

At 3pm, head to our theatre for a free screening of When the Boys Came Home – a documentary retracing the footsteps of the Blue Puttees from the streets of St. John’s to Gallipoli, France, Belgium and home again. When the Boys Came Home reveals the workaday and internal battles that the Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s Blue Puttees waged after the First World War.

With free admission for the day, we hope many will join us in Memorial Day commemorations with a visit to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery.

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

Lest we Forget!

 

 

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.

 

 

A son remembers his father, a memorial for Beaumont Hamel

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

February 20, 1922

TACAGoodbyeDaddy2On 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:  

Dear Sir:

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

 Harvey White, 

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

Recommended Exhibit:

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.

Recommended Book: Father Thomas Nangle : Soldier-priest in the Killing Fields of Europe,  Darrin Michael McGrath, Gary Browne. DRC Publishing, St. John’s: 2006