Remembranc­e Day 2018

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - Al­lan Stood­ley Al­lan Stood­ley is a long-time res­i­dent of Grand Bank. He wel­comes com­ments on this or any other ar­ti­cle he has writ­ten.

This year’s Remembranc­e Day will have very spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance be­cause it was 100 years ago, on Nov. 11, that the First World War of­fi­cially came to an end.

On this solemn day ev­ery year we re­mem­ber and pay trib­ute to all those who have died in all armed con­flicts as well as those who served and are serv­ing to­day.

The First World War, 19141918, was sup­posed to be “the war to end all wars” but as we know, that was not the case.

Our prov­ince, which at the time was an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, suf­fered so much from the loss of so many of our young men as well as the tremen­dous fi­nan­cial cost to our trea­sury that in the end it was only a mat­ter of a few years and we were bank­rupt, re­sult­ing in los­ing our in­de­pen­dence and sub­se­quently be­ing gov­erned by an ap­pointed Com­mis­sion of Gov­ern­ment.

Our prov­ince suf­fered its gravest mil­i­tary loss ever on July 1, 1916, at Beau­mont Hamel when some 800 of our men of the New­found­land Reg­i­ment “went over the top.” The next day only 68 men an­swered the roll call, with more than 700 killed, wounded or miss­ing.

More than 6,000 men served in the New­found­land Reg­i­ment dur­ing the First World War in­clud­ing 4,668 who were vol­un­teers. The to­tal ca­su­al­ties were nearly 3,500 with roughly 1,300 dead.

Try as we might when quot­ing num­bers killed in both World Wars, it is im­pos­si­ble for us to get our heads around the con­di­tions our sol­diers and sailors, as well as their fam­i­lies, had to en­dure, and the suf­fer­ing from in­juries and post-trau­matic stress that went with it.

When the First World War broke out in Au­gust, 1914, the young men of Grand Bank, as in many other com­mu­ni­ties around this island, will­ingly an­swered the call of the Mother­land.

Dur­ing the war 37 Grand Bankers en­listed in the New­found­land Reg­i­ment, with oth­ers see­ing ser­vice in the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Med­i­cal Corps, the New­found­land Forestry Corps and the Bri­tish Bor­ders Reg­i­ment.

Archivist and Grand Bank na­tive, Bert Riggs, has iden­ti­fied at least 74 men of this town who saw ser­vice in the First World War.

Both World Wars took a huge toll on Grand Bank, with 14 of our young men los­ing their lives in each con­flict. A to­tal of 28 young men, in the prime of their lives, paid “the supreme sac­ri­fice for King and Coun­try”.

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that the pop­u­la­tion of Grand Bank in 1914 was ap­prox­i­mately 1,700 and dur­ing the Sec­ond World War roughly 2,300 peo­ple lived there.

One of the Grand Bank sol­diers who lost his life in the First World War was my un­cle, Pri­vate Ly­man G. Stood­ley. He was a mem­ber of the 1st Bat­tal­ion New­found­land Reg­i­ment #2160. He vol­un­teered for ser­vice and en­listed in Fe­bru­ary, 1916, when he was 19 years of age.

It was only 17 months later on Aug. 16, 1917, that he was mor­tally wounded in the Third Bat­tle of Ypres, com­monly re­ferred to as Pass­chen­daele. He and his com­rades were be­ing pounded by “a com­bi­na­tion of heavy ar­tillery fire from the Ger­mans and also ma­chine gun­fire from low fly­ing en­emy air­craft.”

Dur­ing the bat­tle Ly­man re­ceived a fa­tal shell wound to his ab­domen. He died two days later and is buried in the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion Ceme­tery at Doz­inghem, Bel­gium.

He was only 20 years old when he was killed.

Ly­man’s be­long­ings in­clud­ing his gun, sash and let­ters were sent back to his mother and fa­ther in Grand Bank, Ann and Thomas Stood­ley.

Years later the let­ters he had writ­ten home and the let­ters he had re­ceived from his fam­ily and girl­friend while over­seas were dis­cov­ered in a faded cloth sack “un­der the stairs.”

Sev­eral traits are ob­vi­ous from his let­ters and his war records. Ly­man, like other vol­un­teers no doubt, didn’t al­ways take kindly to the rigid dis­ci­pline ex­pected of sol­diers dur­ing his time over­seas. While on leave in Scot­land he was charged with “dis­obey­ing an or­der and for drunk­en­ness and gam­bling.”

Sev­eral times Ly­man was hos­pi­tal­ized suf­fer­ing from an ar­ray of ail­ments in­clud­ing diph­the­ria, sca­bies, trench fever, in­fluenza, dabil­ity and bron­chi­tis.

Af­ter the war a Me­mo­rial Plaque was sent to the next of kin of all ser­vice­men or women who died while serv­ing with the Bri­tish and Em­pire forces in that con­flict. This bronze plaque, which has been re­ferred to as “the Death Penny”, mea­sured five inches in di­am­e­ter. The com­mem­o­rated ser­vice­man or woman’s name was cast in raised re­lief on each plaque. Around the edge of the plaque are the words “He died for Freedom and Hon­our”.

A “Death Penny”, bear­ing Pri­vate G. Ly­man Stood­ley’s name, along with “a scroll” was sent to his par­ents in Grand Bank, Ann and Thomas Stood­ley.


Pte. Ly­man G. Stood­ley 1st Bat­tal­ion of the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment.


The per­son­al­ized me­mo­rial plaque or death penny sent to the par­ents of Pte. Ly­man G. Stood­ley.

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