An official delegation of the Government of Canada will be traveling to France this July to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of the Battle of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel.
The delegation is comprised of veterans, youth from Newfoundland and Labrador, representatives of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Royal 22e Regiment, the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and parliamentarians, announced Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr earlier this week.
The delegation will also be joined by an official Newfoundland and Labrador delegation and Canadian youth traveling with tour groups.
The Government of Canada representatives will take part in commemorative ceremonies at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial on July 1 and the Courcelette Canadian Memorial on July 2. Additionally, they will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Adanac Military Cemetery.
The delegation will also travel to Belgium to attend the commemorative ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial.
“A century later, we must ensure that the memory of the great sacrifices and achievements of our men and women in uniform during the First World War lives on. This is a time to honour the service and sacrifice of those who were there for our country, at home and abroad, when we needed them, and pay tribute by remembering and honouring them,” said Kent Hehr, Minister of National Defence and Associate Minister of Veterans Affairs.
The Battle of Somme and Beaumont-Hamel was a significant battle of the First World War. The Battle of the Somme began in northern France on July 1 when Allied soldiers, determined to advance through the hail of enemy fire, climbed out of their trenches to advance towards the German lines. A costly battle, the opening day of fighting alone led to 57,000 Commonwealth soldiers becoming casualties.
The battle had a devastating impacting on the members of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought near Beaumont-Hamel on July 1. Only 68 of nearly 800 men were able to answer to roll call the next day.
The Battle of the Somme continued on for more than four and a half months with 24,000 soldiers of the Canadian Corps falling as casualties.
The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France serves as a reminder and pays tribute to all those soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment who served during the First World War, especially those that have no grave.
Several commemorative ceremonies of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Somme and Beaumont-Hamel will be held across Canada on July 1, including a ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and at Newfoundland and Labrador’s National War Memorial in St. John’s.
Photo credit: Veterans Canada