July 1 in Clarenville began with an event that’s been a tradition in this province for over 100 years.
At noon on Monday, people gathered at the cenotaph near the Clarenville Town Hall to remember the members of the Newfoundland Regiment who gave their lives in the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.
Since then, July 1 has always been marked as Memorial Day in this province.
“We want to be here today to salute and show that we haven’t forgotten how they fought for us and the freedom that we enjoy today is due to the sacrifice of the many Newfoundlanders who went overseas to fight in the war, and specifically Beaumont-Hamel,” said Clarenville Mayor Fraser Russell. He was at the ceremony to lay a wreath on behalf of the Town of Clarenville.
The ceremony consisted of speeches from members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the singing of O’ Canada, and God Save the Queen, the performance of the Last Post played by Sophia Sheppard followed by a moment of silence. The placing of the wreaths concluded the ceremony.
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Ruth Barbour was one of the several local citizens who attended.
“It means everything to me. My son was in the armed forces for 28 years, my grandfather was also in the First World War,” said an emotional Barbour.
She noted her grandfather survived the horrors of the First World War and, ironically, was saved by a German lady.
Barbour attends the ceremony every year.
Check out more about Beaumont Hamel stories from our archives: