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Forget me not

Photos: a visual journey to the past to mark Memorial Day

Campus and Community

By Kristine Power

July 1 is Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For many people in the province, it immediately brings to mind the First World War’s Battle of Beaumont-Hamel.

Of the some 800 Newfoundlanders who went into battle the morning of July 1, 1916, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day, with more than 700 killed, wounded or missing.

July 1 has since been a day of commemoration for the soldiers lost in France, and of solemn recognition of Newfoundland and Labrador’s service in the subsequent conflicts of the Second World War, Korea and Afghanistan.

Window into the past

At right and below is a series of photos from Memorial University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Division that document some of the experiences of that time.

The postcard at right depicts a soldier of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment with the cap badge of the regiment produced by Tuck’s Post Card Company, London. On the reverse side is the following:

“Newfoundland. Although Newfoundland may not be very thickly populated country, she has been able to send a fine body of sturdy troops to help the Mother Country in her hour of need, and the sons she sent have done bravely and well in many a hard fought action . . .”

Continue below to see a sampling of some of the Archives and Special Collections’ unique items highlighting Newfoundlanders and Labradorians’ contribution to the First World War, as well as symbolizing the university’s enduring role as a living memorial, including a replica of the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance that is available for viewing in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, and online through the Digital Archive Initiative.

1/ Unveiling of the National War Memorial, 1924

This photo depicts the unveiling of the National War Memorial in 1924. One of the striking features of this photo is the immense turnout of people for the event. Collection 308 (Lieut.-Col. Thomas Nangle)

Photo: Archives and Special Collections Division, Memorial University Libraries

2/ Siblings Catherine Frances Cron and James Matthew Cron

This photo is from the First World War Artifact Collection. Siblings Catherine Frances Cron and James Matthew Cron went to war, both enlisting in 1915. James was 19 years old when he enlisted. Frances was 27 years old when she joined the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service Reserve. Her brother never returned home. He was killed in the battle of Monchy-le-Preux on April 14, 1917. Frances served until after the end of the war, resigning in 1919. Collection 489 (First World War Artifacts Collection)

Photo: Archives and Special Collections Division, Memorial University Libraries

3/ Grand Falls paper workers

This photograph of a postcard shows a group of Grand Falls papermill workers. The photo was taken the night before they left for France in 1916. An interesting fact: the papermill promised to hold the jobs of those who enlisted in the war. Collection 489 (First World War Artifacts)

Photo: Archives and Special Collections Division, Memorial University Libraries

4/ Embroidered silk postcard

This intricately hand-embroidered postcard was send by soldier Harold Stanford to his father in Grand Falls. He enlisted in February 1916 and was discharged in July 1919. Both Harold and his brother Reginald Stanford survived the war. Collection 489 (First World War Artifacts)

Photo: Archives and Special Collections Division, Memorial University Libraries

5/ Newfoundland Book of Remembrance

This photo is from a replica of the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance, which commemorates the lives of the men and women who died while serving their country. The original is displayed in Memorial Chamber of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. This reproduction is available for viewing in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies and is also available online through the Digital Archive Initiative (www.dai.mun.ca). For CNS hours, please check the Library’s website (www.library.mun.ca).

Photo: Centre for Newfoundland Studies

Many more related artifacts are available digitally on the Digital Archives Initiative website.

It is also possible to make an appointment with the Archives and Special Collections Division to explore the physical artifacts in person.


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