This year, July 1 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. In honour of this historical event, the Government of Canada will lead an official delegation to commemorate the anniversaries at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France.
The ceremony will honour and commemorate those who fought and died 100 years ago at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, the first day of both battles.
Several dignitaries are expected to be in attendance and wreaths will be laid on the headstones of the fallen. Though details are not confirmed, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is expecting a large contingency of youth and members of the regiments that served in the Battle of the Somme, including the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
“The Government of Canada is committed to preserving and communicating the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian Veterans to future generations,” said Marc Lescoutre Communications Officer at VAC.
The ceremony will be held at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France, which commemorates Newfoundland’s accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices during the First World War.
“The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial speaks eloquently to the bravery and sacrifice of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, and it memorializes Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War, particularly those who have no known grave,” said Lescoutre.
Any Canadian wishing to attend these ceremonies must register before May 31.
Other ceremonies will also be held in July. The Government of Canada will be hosting a signature commemorative ceremony at the Courcelette Canadian Memorial in France. In Canada, commemorative events will be held in several locations including an event at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and at the National War Memorial of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Battle of the Somme of the First World War is a momentous battle that was fought in northern France on July 1, 1916. It began with countless Allied soldiers climbing out of their trenches to advance through a storm of enemy fire to German lines.
“The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment, who went into action near Beaumont-Hamel that day were hit especially hard, with only 68 of the more than 800 men who had taken part being able to answer the roll call the next morning.
“The Battle of the Somme would grind on for more than four-and-a-half months, and the Canadian Corps would see action in the late summer and fall. Sadly, more than 24,000 Canadian soldiers became casualties before the fighting finally came to an end in November,” explained Lescoutre.
Any Canadian wishing to attend the 100th-anniversary ceremony of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel in France must register online before May 31. The maximum number of people permit onsite is 5,000. There are still spots available.
To register visit this government website.