Botwood remembers Beaumont Hamel
Citizens gather for July 1 memorial ceremony
BOTWOOD, N.L. — While most citizens of Canada were waking up to the 151st birthday of the nation, the citizens of Botwood were waking up to a day marked the anniversary of the July 1, 1916, Battle of Beaumont Hamel.
At mid-morning, the sound of drums could be heard through the community as the Sea Cadets marched with Legionnaires and others to the town’s cenotaph.
Members of RC Legion Branch 5, Civic, Provincial and Federal members of government, members of service groups and fire departments, marched along Water Street to the memorial grounds for the annual ceremony to remember the soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment who were slain on that battlefield in France 102 years ago.
Branch 5 secretary Gail Hancock led the ceremony and branch treasurer Janis Boone, who is also District Commander, reading the names of the fallen soldiers from the memorial.
Padre Cecil Chaytor offered a prayer as the firing squad prepared to fire off several volleys.
Comrade Randy Hancock played the last post and revelry as the flag was pulled into place.
Following that wreaths were laid at the base of the war memorial by local service clubs, municipal government officials and family members of veterans.
After these wreaths were laid, Branch Secretary Handcock asked if anyone else in the crowd wanted to place a wreath.
A hand went up.
The lady at the back of the crowd was waved to come forward, and was asked to give her name and who she was laying a wreath for.
Christine Steendam had come a long way to place this wreath.
She lives in the Netherlands and said she to lay a wreath in memory of all the Canadian soldiers who died helping to free the Netherlands during the Second World War.
Following the ceremony she said she has been travelling around the province for the past three weeks and with one week left had heard about Botwood and its contributions during the war. She had heard about the murals around the town and wanted to see them for herself.
Since she was in the town for Canada Day, she decided to attend the Memorial Day ceremony as well.
Mrs. Steendam noted that her family was one of several in the Netherland who had protected Jews from the Nazi round-ups by hiding them on their farms and in other buildings during the Second World War.
Several pins were given to Mrs. Steendam to remember her visit to Botwood. She was given a town crest pin, Canada flag pin, and a forget me not flower pin along with a Beaumont Hamel pin to keep as a token of her visit to Botwood and the province.
To see more photos of the Memorial Day ceremony in Botwood, visit: www.gfwadvertiser.ca
The firing party awaiting command to fire off the volleys. Front row (left to right): John Butler, Dave Ramsden, Arthur Langdon; back row: Bill Flynn, Peter Chaytor and Jerry Thompson.
PO1 Emily Ball escorts Rachel and Heather Mills to lay a wreath for William Doulas Jewer. Mr. Doug Jewer was a war veteran who served in the forestry units.
Christine Steendam of the Netherlands lays a wreath, with aid from escort PO1 Emily Ball, as a thank you to Newfoundlanders and Canadians helped free the Netherlands from German occupation during the Second World War.
PO1 Emily Ball escorts first Vice President Barry Arch to lay a wreath for the members of Branch 5 Legion.
Escorted by PO1 Emily Ball Harve Roberts prepares to lay a wreath for his father Gordon Roberts on behalf of the Roberts Family.