The search for El­don Froude


Rel­a­tively few de­tails are known about the brief life and briefer ca­reer of El­don Froude.

It is known that he was born on Oct. 15, 1893. A sec­ond known fact is that he was born in Old Per­li­can, lo­cated on the tip of the Bay de Verde penin­sula.

Though his early life is shrouded in mys­tery, it is also an es­tab­lished fact that he was a mem­ber of the Loyal Orange Lodge, the well­known fra­ter­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion that ex­ists in many com­mu­ni­ties.

On Jan. 14, 1916, half­way through the First World War, Froude vol­un­teered for ac­tive ser­vice with the 1st Bat­tal­ion of the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment, No. 3389. Al­most three years later, on Oct. 15, 1918, he was killed in ac­tion “some­where in France,” ac­cord­ing to a mon­u­ment later erected in his hon­our. The date of his death co­in­cided with his 25th birth­day.

“ The ex­act cir­cum­stances of his death are not known,” writes Linda White, an ar­chiv­ist with Archives and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Queen El­iz­a­beth II Li­brary, Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity.

“Dur­ing mid-Oc­to­ber 1918, the sol­diers in the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment, as part of the 9th Scot­tish Di­vi­sion, were en­gaged in the Bat­tle of Cour­trai. They moved into po­si­tion at dusk on Oct. 13. Zero hour for the at­tack on the Ger­man troops was 5:35 a.m. on Oct. 14. As they moved along in sin­gle file, the Ger­mans be­gan shelling them heav­ily, killing 50 of the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers and 15 of the New­found­lan­ders.”

Was Froude among this group? The an­swer to this ques­tion is un­known, un­less new in­for­ma­tion comes to light. Did Froude sur­vive the shelling, liv­ing to fight the bat­tle, only to be killed as he pur­sued the en­emy across the Wulf­dambeek, a six­foot­deep river? Again, the an­swer re­mains a mys­tery.

White com­ments, “ Many New­found­lan­ders were hit mid­stream and found a wa­tery grave.” The pos­si­bil­ity ex­ists that Froude made it past this hur­dle.

The n , a s h i s p l a t o on ad­vanced, try­ing to out­flank the Ger­man bat­tery, Froude may have found him­self face-to-face with deadly-ac­cu­rate ma­chine gun fire.

“ It is cer­tain that, over the course of those two days, the com­pany lost two young New­found­land of­fi­cers, and many among the rank and file were killed or wounded,” White adds.

Per­haps Froude’s name was one of those on the ca­su­alty list. He had served with dis­tinc­tion with the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment Ex­pe­di­tionary Forces in Flan­ders and France. Fol­low­ing his death, the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment pre­pared a scroll of com­mem­o­ra­tion for Pte. El­don Froude, ac­knowl­edg­ing the supreme sac­ri­fice he made for his coun­try.

It reads: “He whom this scroll com­mem­o­rates was num­bered among those who, at the call of King and Coun­try, left all that was dear to them, en­dured hard­ness, faced dan­ger; and fi­nally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sac­ri­fice, giv­ing up their own lives that oth­ers might live in free­dom. Let those who come af­ter see to it that his name be not for­got­ten.”

In later years, Cabot Lodge L.O.L. No. 49 erected a mon­u­ment in Froude’s “sa­cred me­mory.” Per­haps read­ers can shed ad­di­tional light on El­don Froude.

The pho­to­graph of Pte. El­don Froude of Old Per­li­can was pasted in a hand-painted frame with the words “Our Sol­dier Boy” and the Union Jack.

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