This weekend is very different in places like St. John’s, Bradford, Edinburgh, Belfast and other small and large towns all over the Colonies. July 1 2016, marks the centennial of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It was the worse day in the history of the British Army, 57,470 casualties in one day where 19,240 men were killed.
The Newfoundland Regiment sent 721 men over the top that day at Beaumont Hamel and by day’s end, 619 were listed as wounded, killed or missing in action. About 91 men trickled in over the next few days, many too wounded to rejoin the battle.
And there were 140 more days to go, but nobody knew that on July 1st 1916.
So while many of us in Canada and the US enjoy a long weekend of parades, sweet treats and fireworks, take a few moments to reflect on the extraordinary effort and sacrifices made on this day and more days to come.