By Alec Connor, Co-op student with the Guard –
The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new commemorative coin highlighting Newfoundland’s extraordinary contribution to final victory in the First World War. The coin, with a face value of 20 dollars, features the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment going “over the top” in battle on the obverse, with HM King George V on the reverse, rendered in silver and gold by artist Pandora Young.
The Royal Newfoundland Regiment may be best known for their sacrifice during the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, a part of the first day of the Somme Campaign. On that day, British and Commonwealth Forces suffered over sixty thousand casualties, of which twenty thousand were killed or missing in action. At the village of Beaumont-Hamel, the Newfoundland Regiment suffered catastrophic losses during an early morning attack, with all the officers and nearly all of the men of the Regiment becoming casualties. July 1st of every year, in addition to being Canada Day, is commemorated in Newfoundland as Memorial Day in honour of the battle. Newfoundlanders served honourably not only in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, but also in the Royal Navy, Royal Flying Corps, and the Merchant Marine throughout the war.
Far from being confined to Newfoundland, commemorations of the battle occur across Canada, and especially in the National Capital Region. Units in the NCR hold an annual commemorative parade on July 1st, featuring stirring music from the Atlantic Voices choir and a solemn moment of silence. Newfoundlanders throughout the Defence Team in the NCR often make a point to attend and remember. Brigadier-General Richard Goodyear, former Commandant of CFSU(O) and himself a Newfoundlander laid a commemorative wreath at this year’s ceremonies.
Photo: THE GUARD/Jordan Haworth
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