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Thread: The fighting newfoundlanders

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    Default The fighting newfoundlanders

    THE FIGHTING NEWFOUNDLANDERS

    'Twas a gallant group of proud young men,
    who joined that fighting ban,
    They came from forests and the hills,
    Those boys from Newfoundland.

    They went and crossed that cold grey sea,
    That gallant little band,
    They went to train on rain swept plains,
    Those lads from Newfoundland.

    Then came their turn, they sailed for France,
    That proud and noble band,
    How brave they stood upon the Somme,
    Those boys from Newfoundland.

    They stood up tall and crossed that field,
    That gallant fighting band,
    Six hundred men mown down like hay,
    Those lads from Newfoundland.

    And soon the word arrived back home,
    Of that fallen little band,
    And many tears were shed in homes,
    Of those boys from Newfoundland.

    And now they lie in long straight lines,
    At rest, that gallant little band,
    But forgotten never shall they be,
    Those lads from Newfoundland.

    Ian Adrian Millar

    LEST WE FORGET those Newfoundlanders who fell in the Great War The Battle of the Somme.

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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    Well done, Ian. I'm always touched by such poems - my dad was brought out wounded from the Somme. He was in the artillery - a shell found him and his horses.
    Harry Nicholson

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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    Thank you Ian for those lines. My other half and I some years back went on a tour of the W.W.1 Battle Fields. Her father fought with the 1/4th Gordon Highlanders at Beaumont Hamel which we visited. It is now known as Newfoundland Park as a memorial to the men of Newfoundland. The photos are of the monument to them and the ground they had to cross to the German lines.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    Bill thank you for the comment. Sadly few today know much about The Great War and the tremendous loss of life. My Grandmother who came from Newfoundland knew a number of the men who were lost in the Somme battle, There were some 600 men killed in action in the charge they made many fell before they reached their own front line. As you can imagine the loss of 600 men had quite an effect on the island.

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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    We have all the letters from my wife uncle who lost his life at Ypres, he was 21, and we have the report of exactly what happened to him. He was in the Isle of Wight rifles, and they were advancing under heavy artillery fire, and he dove into a shell hole for cover, and another shell landed in the same hole, there were no remains to be found. All his letters are written with pencil, and are with several of his possessions , including a small cigarette case presented to him by Princess Beatrice, Victorias youngest daughter. A terrible war, kt
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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    I copied this letter out many moons ago but where it is now dont know, but for others will do again as it refers to the Newfoundlanders and was written by my mothers Uncle I believe , but have never checked. I found it in my mothers effects after she died.

    No. 36, Pte. J.K.Douglas
    16th. N.F.

    Ward 10,
    Edinburgh War Hospital,
    Bangour, West Lothian,
    8th. July , 1916.

    Dear Sir,
    The task I am taking upon myself of writing you regarding poor Simpson is not , by any means, an envious one, but I feel sure that you would like to have some details as to the manner in which he met his death; also the way in which we, who have worked and fought alongside him for so long-cherishing his memory -demands that you should know the high esteem in which he was held and the true soldier he proved himself to be. We took up our position in the firing line late on friday night, June 30th, in expectation of making our attack the following morning at dawn. All this time the artillery bombardment , on both sides, was intense, and the trenches were being knocked into a shapeless mess. When dawn came , the order was given to stand fast , and our guns kept putting an ever increasing number of shells into the enemies front line trench . At 7.30 the artillery lifted and commenced shelling the German communications and second line. Then we began to go forward, but the huns were waiting for us and almost as soon as our first wave of men showed themselves . Fritz popped up and decimated our ranks with machine gun and rifle fire. The barrage of shells mostly shrapnel which the Germans had stretched along " No mans land", made it absolutely impossible for anyone alive to get through, so after advancing a hundred yards towards our objective, our thinned ranks were forced to lie down and await orders. The German soldiers in front of us were very brave and not afraid to expose themselves as they rose up in their trench to take aim at us. It was here Simpson fell. I was away to his left and did not see what happened , but a chap who was near to him told me Simpson was sitting up on one knee potting at the huns for all he was worth, and i bet he gave a good account of himself. This chap saw him hit, and he (Simpson) immediately fell forward and never moved. The bullet must have caught him in a vital part and I am glad to think he suffered no pain. His death has robbed us of one of whom any one of us were proud to have as a comrade . The fellows in his platoon fairly idolized him and, since this thing happened, when the few of us who are left have been talking of him , I have seen tears start to their eyes , strong men though they are .

    To be continued as have a date at the bingo

    JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 10th November 2021 at 08:49 AM.
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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    As far as we are able to make out from my wife uncle's death, the red cross report is with his letters, every effort was made to find out what happened to these very brave men after their deaths. In our case we have within the red cross report, interviews with his comrades who managed to come through this terrible war, and in the case where there was no body to bury was at least some comfort to the relatives. My uncle was lost at the battle of the Coronel in the first war, he was on HMS Good Hope, and was lost at 18, along with many many others. the fact that there was no body to bury destroyed my Great Grand mother, she was totally deaf, and i remember as youngster she would sit in the chair, deep in thought, and the tears would run down her cheeks , and as young as i was, about 10 years , it always upset me, kt
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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    #7 .... Continuation... Didnt win at Bingo.

    .... The position our battalion had to attack was immediately in front of Thierpval, with La Boiselle on our right and Beaumont-Hamel to our left, from 4-5 miles N.E. of the town of Albert , mouth of the river Somme. You will have seen from newspapers that it was round about here where the most sanguinary fighting took place, and it was only after a very severe struggle that La Boisell was captured. I have not seen a paper for a couple of days , but up to that time Thierpval ( the place we expected to take) had not been penetrated. To show the bloody nature of the battle , all the sergeants in our A company , except one who was wounded, were killed, and out of a total of 769 men which went into action , only 50 unscathed men answered the roll call on the night of Saturday , July 1st . My wound is fast healing and I may be transferred to a Convalescent Home at any time, a lump of shrapnel got me amongst the ligaments behind the left knee and i lost a good deal of blood . It immediately stiffened up, and I could barely put my foot to the ground, and to make matters worse , a few days after, the knee filled with water, but that is all gone so and i can manage to walk with a limp. However that will soon go , and I am a very lucky man to be alive today. I also have the satisfaction of knowing I must have picked off at least a dozen Huns before being hit myself.

    Yours Truly
    ( Sgd) J.K. Douglas.


    Tomorrow is Rememberence Day and I shall be attending the usual service not only because of the writer who I believe to be my Great Uncle , but for all those who gave their lives for their country in all the wars of the past, present day and in the future.

    JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 10th November 2021 at 12:21 PM.
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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria Moss View Post
    #2 Very moving that Harry.
    My grandfather was in WW1 and his job was to look after the horses. As he had "flat feet" and had been a jockey in civilian life they thought they would put him to good use with the horses.
    Very sad tales he told us about those brave animals.
    Thanks, Victoria. Your post reminds me of the story of my sister in law's grandfather. He was a house painter in Glasgow in the 1890s and was expert in using a brush on the end of a very long pole to do intricate work on Victorian ceilings. He volunteered for the Boer war, and when his profession was disclosed he was immediately put into a regiment of lancers. He missed only one campaign - Mafeking - where his horse was shot from under him. He went back to painting ceilings. When the Great War came, his employer told him to enlist again as part of the firm's contribution to the national effort. He survived and went back to his delicate brushwork.
    Harry Nicholson

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    Default Re: The fighting newfoundlanders

    The mention of the losses and suffering among the horses stands as a reminder that it was not just a time of human suffering but also for our four legged friends as well. I would like to share a brief verse I wrote many years ago for a school class that were learning about the Great War ( this was of course back when young people learned what service and sacrifice could mean.)

    THE LAIRD OF THE LAND

    Says the field mouse to the soldier,
    What the 'ell you doing 'ere,
    Trespassin on my grand estate,
    With yer guns what hurt my ear.

    What nerve you got to dig yer 'oles,
    In the fine turf of my lawn,
    An yer pals what crush my flower beds,
    In their 'urried march along.

    Yer a nervy lot, I'll grant you that,
    To take possession of my land,
    And glad I'll be to see you gone,
    With yer destructive minded band.

    Ian Adrian Millar

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