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Executive Council
Tourism, Culture and Recreation
June 30, 2009

First World War Servicemen with No Known Graves to be Honoured

Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 1) will mark the 93rd anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, and the Honourable Clyde Jackman, on behalf of the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, will take part in a special ceremony to honour all Newfoundland and Labrador servicemen who died during the First World War, but particularly those who have no known graves.

The event will take place at the Caribou Memorial in Bowring Park in St. John’s, and involves the unveiling of three bronze plaques, exact replicas of those located at Beaumont Hamel in France, bearing the names of 820 fallen members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Royal Naval Reserve, and the Mercantile Marine, who have no known resting place. The ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m.

"A few years ago I had the honour and privilege of travelling to Beaumont Hamel for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme," said Premier Williams. "During the First World War, many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and these brave souls are most deserving of a fitting and lasting memorial right here at home. Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will never have the honour of visiting the memorial at Beaumont Hamel personally and I am very pleased that we have been able to replicate the name plaques and to incorporate them into our own Caribou Memorial in Bowring Park. Many people and families have loved ones whose names are listed on those plaques and I am proud that the names of our brave fallen will now be prominently displayed for all the people of the province to see."

"In addition to Beaumont Hamel, there were several First World War battles which resulted in the loss of some of the best and brightest of an entire generation of young men – some of whose bodies were never recovered," said Minister Jackman. "By placing the names of these particular 820 men on a memorial here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we are, in a symbolic way, bringing these soldiers, sailors and servicemen back home."

Minister Jackman will be joined by his Honour Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie; His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France to Canada; St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe; Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Hutchings, Honorary Colonel of the First Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment; and Comrade Joseph Kennedy, Chairman of the Provincial Command, Royal Canadian Legion.

The Provincial Government invested $400,000 to fully fund the replication of the bronze plaques, with a project team led by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, the City of St. John’s, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and the Royal Canadian Legion.

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Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
elizabethmatthews@gov.nl.ca
Roger Scaplen
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991
rogerscaplen@gov.nl.ca
Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation 709-729-0928, 697-5061
heathermay@gov.nl.ca
 

2009 06 30                                                  10:50 a.m.
 


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