“Has the enemy’s front line been captured?” Question from Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Hadow
Commanding Officer, Newfoundland Regiment
“The situation is not cleared up.” Answer from Brigade Headquarters
The Somme, France, July 1st, 1916
The Allies detonate a mine beneath the German trenches on Hawthorn Ridge. The noise is breathtakingly loud—people in London hear it. This is a signal that the attack will commence in ten minutes.
From their front lines, the first wave of Allied troops pour out, each battalion at its appointed time. They are met by heavy enemy fire.
Still 229 metres (250 yards) behind the front line, the Newfoundland Regiment waits to attack with the second wave at 8:40 a.m.
The Regiment’s orders are changed. The attack isn’t going as planned.
"I gave the order to advance. Then the leading line rose as one man and we started off." Recollections of Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Hadow
Newfoundland Regiment, 1950s
The order to advance arrives by telephone. The front line trench and four lines of barbed wire lie ahead.
Our Regiment emerges into a firestorm of bullets. The only ones moving, they aim for the gaps in Allied barbed wire. The enemy guns are blazing.
The men struggle at the gaps in the wire, which clog with the dead and wounded. Those that get past the barbed wire into No Man’s Land receive the full force of enemy fire.
They push on until none are left standing.
Colonel Hadow reports: the advance was a failure.
"The high explosive shells blew the dead and wounded in shell holes to pieces." Recollections of Sergeant Anthony James Stacey
Newfoundland Regiment, 1960s
"This was a proper trap for our boys, as the enemy just set the sights of their machine guns on the gaps in the barbed wire and fired." Recollections of Sergeant Anthony James Stacey
Newfoundland Regiment, 1960s
Along with a heavy wool uniform and a helmet, a soldier at Beaumont-Hamel was weighed down with 29 kilograms (65 pounds) of standard equipment, and often more. He carried a rifle fixed with bayonet, ammunition, grenades, gas mask, wire cutters, food, a water bottle and an “entrenching tool” (shovel).
White and claret on the helmet identifies the Newfoundland Regiment. The “B” identifies the company within
"They all instinctively tucked their chins into an advanced shoulder as they had so often done when fighting their way home against a blizzard in some little outport in far-off Newfoundland." Recollections of Major and Adjutant Arthur Raley
Newfoundland Regiment, 1921
Sergeant Anthony James (“Jim”) Stacey
Newfoundland Regiment #466
This German bag, picked up as a souvenir, was used by Jim Stacey who was a battalion messenger—or “batman.” He ran messages between o cers and headquarters at Beaumont-Hamel and carried orders to advance into No Man’s Land on July 1st, possibly in this very bag.
White flares were the prearranged British signal that the first objective—the capture of enemy trenches—had been a success. But during the attack, the Germans also sent up white flares, signifying they needed more support. Seeing them, the British Commanders incorrectly assumed the advance was going as planned.