"Wounded men who had managed to crawl a little, rolled down into the [British] trench, falling with a sickening thud." Recollections of Major and Adjutant Arthur Raley
Newfoundland Regiment, 1921

Having gained no ground, the few survivors take cover in shell holes or crawl cautiously toward safety. Any movement attracts enemy fire. A new kind of hell begins: snipers, shelling, hot sun and thirst.

Some make it back to Allied trenches. Medics and soldiers risk their lives rescuing others.

"Our battalion was wiped out before we got to our own front line." Recollections of Captain Sydney Frost
Newfoundland Regiment, 1966
"We picked up quite a few men; some were shell-shocked and could not speak. We recognized our own by the letter ‘N’ on their steel helmets." Recollections of Sergeant Anthony James Stacey
Newfoundland Regiment, 1960s

News Home

"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and [only failed] because dead men can advance no further." General Aylmer Hunter-Weston, Commander British 4th Army, VIII Corps, British Expeditionary Force
writing to Prime Minister Morris, July 26th, 1916

Of 801 men, only 68 answer the Regiment’s next roll call—heartbreaking losses and just a small portion of total Allied casualties on July 1st. The Battle of the Somme rages on for months while our Regiment rebuilds. It is sent to Belgium, returning to the Somme in October 1916.

Captain and Quartermaster Michael Francis (“Frank”) Summers

Newfoundland Regiment

Frank Summers, a Blue Puttee, was a prominent lawyer and an officer in the Catholic Cadet Corps before he signed up in September 1914. Frank was hit by a shell at Beaumont-Hamel and died from his wounds two weeks later. His parents were sent his identification bracelet after his death.

"If it is God’s Will that I should not come through, His Holy Will be done." Captain and Quartermaster Frank Summers
Newfoundland Regiment
in a letter to his parents from Beaumont-Hamel, June 18th, 1916

Summers was fatally wounded on July 1st, 1916

Private Francis Thomas (“Mayo”) Lind

Newfoundland Regiment #541

An accountant from outport Newfoundland and one of the First Five Hundred, his candid letters home were published in The Daily News. “Mayo” Lind earned his nickname from his many appeals for Mayo’s Tobacco. His last letter was written June 29th, 1916, just days before he was killed at Beaumont-Hamel.


July 1st , 1916
Their names shall live forever,
The story we shall tell
To coming generations,
Of how our soldiers fell.
No braver charge in history,
Nowhere on sea or land,
Could e’er excell in gallantry
Those boys from Newfoundland
. . .
In many homes in Newfoundland,
Are broken hearts to-day,
There mothers cry o’er darling boys
So early called away.
But sorrow mingles with a joy,
A joy of honour bright,
To think they weren’t too cowardly
To fight a righteous fight.

Excerpt from Poem “Charge of the Hero Band”, 1918. From 100 Local Poems by Richard Bugden, inspired by the events at Beaumont-Hamel.

"Tell all friends that the 1st Newfoundland are O.K., and never feel downhearted." Private Frank “Mayo” Lind
Newfoundland Regiment, France, 1916

"Our band struck up ‘The Banks of Newfoundland,’ and we marched in with our heads in the air, swinging along like if we just came on parade, instead of coming right out of the trenches on the Somme." Recollections of Private Howard Morry
Newfoundland Regiment, mid-1900s

Battlefield Commissions

After July 1st, replacing the officers and soldiers killed at Beaumont-Hamel was a priority, as this list shows. In an unusual move, some officers were even commissioned in the field. Their challenge was to train reinforcements and lead them into action in Belgium only weeks later.

2nd Lieutenant Wilfrid Ayre

Newfoundland Regiment

"Wilfrid fell at a gap in our own front wire." Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Hadow, Commanding Officer, Newfoundland Regiment
writing to Wilfrid’s father, Charles P. Ayre October 18th, 1916

Wilfrid Ayre was one of four members of the Ayre family to die at the Battle of the Somme on July 1st, 1916. This revolver, which he carried into battle, was later retrieved from the field at Beaumont-Hamel. Wilfrid’s belongings, including his badges, were sent home to his family.

Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou