Pay­ing re­spects in Buchans

Com­mu­nity, groups come to­gether to re­mem­ber Memo­rial Day

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - News - BY PAULINE DEAN SPE­CIAL TO THE ADVERTISER

BUCHANS, NL-The Ceno­taph was the fo­cal point in Buchans for close to a hun­dred men, women and chil­dren as they came to­gether to ob­serve Memo­rial Day on July 1.

David Whalen, em­cee for the morn­ing ser­vice wel­comed ev­ery­one.

“To­day marks the 150 an­niver­sary of Canada,” he said. “This an­niver­sary will be cel­e­brated later on to­day… How­ever, in New­found­land and Labrador, to­day has an ad­di­tional and more solemn mean­ing. It is also known as Memo­rial Day and marks the An­niver­sary of the fight­ing at Beau­mont Hamel dur­ing the First World War.”

“The mil­i­tary his­tory of New­found­land and Labrador dur­ing World War I be­gan on Au­gust 4, 1914 when Bri­tain en­tered the First World War, declar­ing war on Ger­many,” said Whalen, and he asked ev­ery­one to re­flect on that dur­ing the open­ing prayer.

“Dur­ing the First World War, New­found­land was a largely ru­ral Do­min­ion of the Bri­tish Em­pire, with a pop­u­la­tion of 240,000 and not yet part of Canada,” noted Whalen by way of the his­tory. “The New­found­land Reg­i­ment was or­ga­nized by a cit­i­zens com­mit­tee. Later in the War they would have earned the pre­fix Royal and be­come the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment. New­found­land had its own flag, its own govern­ment and had its own an­them called The Ode to New­found­land. The Ode was sung at im­por­tant oc­ca­sions, and to­day there is no more im­por­tant oc­ca­sion than to hon­our the mem­ory of the New­found­lan­ders who fought at Beau­mont Hamel on July 1, 1916.”

“On this day in 1916, 801 mem­bers of the New­found­land Reg­i­ment charged from their trenches to at­tack Ger­man po­si­tions in France,” Whalen con­tin­ued. “The brav­ery of

New­found­lan­ders was un­de­ni­able, chances for suc­cess prac­ti­cally non-ex­is­tent. It’s as­sault only failed be­cause dead men can ad­vance no fur­ther. Only 68 sol­diers an­swered the role call the next day, the dead num­bers 245, 387 men wounded, 91 were re­ported miss­ing. We are here to­day to com­mem­o­rate the sac­ri­fice that these brave sol­diers and sol­diers from other wars made. To hon­our these sol­diers we will lay wreaths in their mem­ory.”

The first wreath was the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion wreath, laid by Com­rade Mer­rill Reid and his daugh­ter Sheila Cooper in mem­ory of ab­sent com­rades. Mer­rill right now is the last liv­ing vet­eran in Buchans.

Mayor Derm Cor­bett rec­og­nized Reid at the cer­e­mony.

“I’d like to give a spe­cial greet­ing to those who are visit­ing the com­mu­nity,” he said. “And the most spe­cial guest of all – Mer­rill (Reid),” he added. “Mer­rill is here to­day – a very spe­cial day for him. He has got his four daugh­ters here with him to­day and I’m sure that they are just as thank­ful and proud for the

ser­vice that their fa­ther has given, as is ev­ery sin­gle res­i­dent of this com­mu­nity.”

Cor­bett con­tin­ued, “(Memo­rial Day) is a very unique event in New­found­land, unique in all of Canada, in that ev­ery year at this time be­fore we can cel­e­brate we have to re­mem­ber and we have to re­mind our­selves that the 150 years of free­dom that we have seen has been won

as a re­sult of a great price paid.

“And his­tor­i­cally those who have paid that price have tended to be the young. Those with a fu­ture un­writ­ten, those with dreams un­lived. We rec­og­nize them to­day all past and present mem­bers of the Cana­dian Armed Forces, es­pe­cially the young men and women who have paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice. Let there be no doubt that the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of those who have served and who presently serve our coun­try is the price we pay for 150 years of free­dom.”


Com­rade Mer­rill Reid, the last re­main­ing vet­eran in Buchans at­tended the Memo­rial Day Ser­vice in Buchans with four of his daugh­ters – Sheila Cooper, Judy Jack­man, Bon­nie Chaf­fey and Gail Wahl. Reid served aboard the HMCS Cayuga dur­ing the Korean War.

Fol­low­ing the Memo­rial Day Ser­vice in Buchans, mem­bers of the Girl Guides of Canada and their lead­ers and a mem­ber of the Ju­nior Cana­dian Rangers and a son of one of the lead­ers posed proudly for a photo with the wreaths laid in hon­our of fallen...

Bob LeDrew laid a wreath dur­ing the Memo­rial Day Ser­vice in Buchans in mem­ory of Llewellyn White, Bill White, Bob LeDrew and Frank Han­cock.

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