July 1 is a very important day in Newfoundland and Labrador. While all Canadians celebrate Canada Day and what it means to live in this great country, Newfoundland and Labrador also recognizes Memorial Day.
On July 1, 1916, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment participated in the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, the most devastating day in Newfoundland and Labrador’s military history. Of the 801 members of the regiment who fought in the battle, only 68 answered the next roll call. This year marks the 100th anniversary of that defining moment in Newfoundland and Labrador history.
Our flagship vessel, the MV Blue Puttees, was named after the Royal Newfoundland Regiment members who were nicknamed the “Blue Puttees”. This strong vessel name was selected as a symbolic gesture to honour the courageous efforts of our soldiers.
And while all of us celebrate what it means to be a Canadian with the opportunity to live in one of the best places in the world, we honour the many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who lost their lives on that tragic day. It is fitting that we are able to celebrate our freedoms on Canada Day as a result of the sacrifice of those brave soldiers 100 years ago today.
Lest We Forget.