Burying the Dead

"Whenever one of our graves was found it was tidied, a cross erected and photographed." Major Reverend Thomas Nangle, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, to John R. Bennett, Minister of Militia, St. John’s, October 15th, 1919

During battle, men were buried—when possible—in the field. Those who died in care were buried in cemeteries. The Imperial War Graves Commission led massive post- war efforts to find, identify and rebury fallen soldiers. Names of Newfoundland and Labrador soldiers, sailors and merchant mariners with no known graves are inscribed at Beaumont-Hamel.

Lieutenant Colonel Reverend Thomas Nangle
Royal Newfoundland Regiment

"I suggest to the Government that they allocate the money for these monuments as soon as possible." Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Reverend Thomas Nangle
Royal Newfoundland Regiment, to John R. Bennett, Minister of Militia, about the creation of war memorials overseas, St. John’s, October 15th, 1919

Thomas Nangle, a Catholic priest, served spiritual needs at the Front. In 1919, he became Director of Graves, Registration and Enquiries, responsible for identifying and reburying Newfoundland’s dead. He also represented Newfoundland on the Imperial War Graves Commission and Battlefields Exploits Committee, overseeing the creation of European memorials and parks.

The National War Memorial

"[This memorial marks] for all time the great ideal of mutual understanding, confidence and goodwill." Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, at the official dedication of the National War Memorial, St. John’s, July 1st, 1924

After the war, public and private donors gave generously to commemorate the fallen. In communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, cenotaphs were erected. A National War Memorial was built in St. John’s and solemn and grand tributes were created overseas. They remain sites of tribute, appreciation and sorrowful remembrance today.

Items of Remembrance

"In July poppies predominated . . . the sheet of co- lour as far as the eye could see." Royal Botanic Gardens report on the flora and fauna of the Somme Battlefield, Kew, London, 1917

After the war, souvenirs and commemorative products, such as these stamps, were sold to help raise funds for veterans and their families. November 11th, 1921, was the first “National Poppy Day” in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Great War Veterans Association sold 12,000 Haig Fund poppies that year.

Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig

"Newfoundland . . . welcomes the great Commander-in-Chief [Haig], and offers him tributes." “Welcome to Our Guests,” Evening Telegram
St. John’s, June 30th, 1924

In 1924, Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, former commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force, was invited to Newfoundland by the Great War Veterans Association. His visit, called Haig Week, was celebrated with souvenirs and veterans’ events and he presided over the dedication of the National War Memorial in St. John’s.

Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou