Lest We Forget

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jun 30, 2016 1:10 PM

Each year, in the July issue of Downhome magazine, we bring our readers stories of the Great War, in particular those relating to the massacre of our forefathers at Beaumont-Hamel. It is part of our effort to ensure that a human face remains on this dark, yet pride-filled, chapter in our history. To mark this year's sombre centenary, we present the best of those stories here. Lest we ever forget.

Trail of the Caribou

In Trail of the Caribou, Allan Hawco and Mark Critch follow the movements of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment from their landing in Gallipoli, Turkey, through France and Belgium. Created in partnership with the City of St. John’s and CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, produced by Rod Etheridge, and with a special appearance from Alan Doyle, the documentary will tell the lesser-known tales of those brave young men. Click here for the full story.

Newfoundland at Armageddon

The documentary Newfoundland at Armageddon features some interesting castmembers. Prior to filming, a callout for direct descendants of WWI soldiers who fought at Beaumont-Hamel led to the selection of 24 people, none of whom had acting experience, playing the role of their lives. They all “lived like a soldier, they ate like a soldier and they fought like a soldier,” says co-producer Barbara Doran. Full story here. 

The Tour of Honour

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When WWI was declared and King George called for recruits, the Church Lads' Brigade (CLB) answered. In fact, the very first Newfoundlander to enlist, Leonard T. Stick, was a member of the CLB. More than 500 members of the organization would eventually enlist to fight overseas. And when the Blue Puttees sailed to England on the SS Florizel in 1914, the CLB Regimental Band saw them off. To mark the 100th anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel, around 30 members of the CLB Regimental Band, plus an Honour Guard made up of 16 teen members of the CLB, are currently on an overseas journey participating in commemorative ceremonies. Click here for more about the Tour of Honour.

From the Diary of a Regimental Soldier

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Over the years, the readers and writers of Downhome magazine have brought us many stories related to the Beaumont-Hamel tragedy. But no matter how many times we've read it, the story of Private George Garland Greening of Musgravetown, Newfoundland, written by our founding editor Ron Young, continues to bring us to tears. Read it here.

Their Last 30 Minutes

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Jim Desautels photo

Reader Arthur W. Curren of North Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly of St. John’s) submitted his recollections of marking "The First of July Drive" many years ago. Arthur was a six-year-old Boy Scout when he attended the commemmoration ceremony at the War Memorial in St. John's back in 1939, when the wounds of the Great War were still fresh. Read his personal account here.

The Ballad of Beaumont-Hamel

Some years ago, Downhome reader George Borden submitted his ode to "the Caribou Regiment." It originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of Downhome, and we are pleased to present it again here.

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Additional Recommended Reading

This province's involvement in World War One was so extraordinary it has inspired a wealth of non-fiction and fiction, from memoirs to romances to pictorials. Click here for Downhome’s recommended reading list from local authors and publishers.