We will re­mem­ber

Cen­tral com­mu­ni­ties no strangers to mil­i­tary ser­vice

The Central Voice - - Front Page - David J. Clarke is a grad­u­ate of Me­mo­rial Univer­sity’s Doc­toral pro­gram in his­tory, and he is the au­thor of eight books fo­cus­ing on cen­tral New­found­land. He can be reached at bay­man­dave16@gmail.com

Novem­ber. A time when the days grow shorter, the winds colder, and the bril­liant leaves of au­tumn have fallen.

Nes­tled be­tween the spooky an­tics of Hal­loween and the sea­son of joy, Novem­ber can be a gloomy month. Still, there is one light which burns more brightly in Novem­ber than at any other time of the year; it is the flame of Re­mem­brance.

When the guns fell silent on Nov. 11, 1918, it not only sig­nalled the end of the Great War, but for­ever linked this month with the sac­ri­fice of those who fought, and of­ten died, in the cause of free­dom.

In New­found­land and Labrador, as peo­ple do world­wide, many of us qui­etly re­flect on the sac­ri­fice of an­ces­tors who gave their all for the lives we take for granted. This sac­ri­fice was very real. In the lobby of the Notre Dame Bay Me­mo­rial Health Cen­tre hangs a trib­ute:

“In mem­ory of the men from the old elec­toral dis­tricts of Twill­ingate and Fogo who lost their lives in the Great War 19141918.”

At the time these dis­tricts took in most of cen­tral New­found­land, and this scroll con­tains dozens of names. An­other World War, and the Korean Con­flict, have added dozens more to our roll call of he­roes.

These he­roes in­cluded John Henry Simms of Fogo and Au­gus­tus Bulgin of Dur­rell, Twill­ingate. Both were awarded the Mil­i­tary Medal for their con­duct in sep­a­rate bat­tles dur­ing 1917, though Simms died with­out know­ing of the hon­our he’d re­ceived (Bulgin fell in bat­tle the fol­low­ing year).

An­other dec­o­rated lo­cal was Richard Ed­ward Hynes of In­dian Islands. Hynes re­ceived the Distin­guished Con­duct Medal for “con­spic­u­ous gal­lantry” at Gal­lipoli in 1915, but like his com­rades, Simms and Bulgin, he died be­fore the war ended.

While most of the ser­vice­men, and women, from our area didn’t re­ceive medals for gal­lantry, their ser­vice was, al­most with­out ex­cep­tion, ex­em­plary. Though many did make it home to our rocky shores, oth­ers were lost at sea serv­ing with the Royal Navy, mown down on the Western Front in the Great War, killed in var­i­ous the­atres serv­ing with the Royal Ar­tillery in the Sec­ond World War, or died in that same con­flict while at­tached to the Royal Air Force. Even some of those who sailed to the Bri­tish Isles to serve as Foresters died in ac­ci­dents or due to air raids.

It is im­pos­si­ble to tell the sto­ries of all those cen­tral New­found­lan­ders lost dur­ing the

Great Wars of the 20th cen­tury through any­thing short of a book. So, in trib­ute to all those who served I’d like to share the story of one of our boys who faith­fully fought for his coun­try, mak­ing the supreme sac­ri­fice.

Born in the min­ing town of Bett’s Cove, Notre Dame Bay, in 1879, Fran­cis “Frank” Lind was work­ing for Earle Sons & Com­pany at Fogo when the Great War erupted. Though old enough to avoid ac­tive ser­vice, Lind self­lessly en­listed with the New­found­land Reg­i­ment a month into the War, be­com­ing one of its first 500 re­cruits, the famed Blue Put­tees.

Dur­ing his life­time Lind was one of the Reg­i­ment’s most fa­mous sol­diers, largely due to a series of let­ters sent to the St. John’s Daily News, re­count­ing the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of Lind and his com­rades in the Reg­i­ment.

De­spite the hard­ships suf­fered by these young re­cruits, Lind’s let­ters were noted for their up­beat tone, pro­vid­ing com­fort for loved ones at home, whose thoughts were never far from those hus­bands, sons and fa­thers serv­ing King and Coun­try.

Per­haps the most in­flu­en­tial of Lind’s let­ters home was sent from the Reg­i­ment’s camp at Scot­land in 1915. Smok­ing was still the norm in those days, and Lind asked if his read­ers would send along gifts of to­bacco to cheer up the troops. One of the most pop­u­lar va­ri­eties was Im­pe­rial To­bacco’s Mayo Brand, and from that time on Frank Lind was af­fec­tion­ately known as “Mayo” Lind. Lind’s ap­peal re­sulted in six “Mayo Lind” cam­paigns, which raised more than $8,000 to pur­chase cig­a­rettes and to­bacco for the troops. Even those sol­diers who didn’t smoke could trade their gifts for other com­forts.

Though he was plagued by poor health from the time of the ill-fated Gal­lipoli cam­paign, Mayo Lind con­tin­ued to pen his cheer­ful let­ters home through June, 1916. On the 29th of that month, he tried to de­scribe the aw­ful din of ar­tillery bom­bard­ments on the Western Front, but ad­mit­ted that no one who hadn’t been through it could ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­pe­ri­ence. Sign­ing off, Lind promised his read­ers more in­ter­est­ing ac­counts in the days to come. They never ap­peared. Two days after Lind’s fi­nal let­ter, the New­found­land Reg­i­ment as­saulted Ger­man lines on the first day of the Bat­tle of the Somme, an ac­tion re­mem­bered as “Beau­mon­tHamel.” Like hun­dreds of his com­rades, Mayo Lind was cut down by en­emy fire, a news­pa­per re­port not­ing that he’d been hit in the stom­ach and was cer­tainly dead.

Fran­cis Lind was not the first ca­su­alty from cen­tral New­found­land, nor would he be the last. As we do ev­ery year, this Novem­ber we once again light that flame of Re­mem­brance in their hon­our, with the prom­ise that we will never for­get.

David J. Clarke

David J. Clarke Sto­ries From Our Shores

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.