William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

SOMME LESSON

Mothers wept for their son’s, in the WW1 battles on the Somme
Canadian wives were left alone, their husbands dead and gone
Newfoundland gave up her sons, they were the cream of the crop
Canadians all went over the top, into the slaughter, without stop

God Dam those British Generals of nineteen and sixteen
For their mass stupidity, and human killings, so obscene
A horse soldier mentality used against entrenched Huns
the bombardment ceased, they opened up, with modern Machine Guns

A 1,000 man battalion, wiped out, all wounded and dead
The guys at the top, surely did not, use their ficken heads
These things made us a Nation. This terrible massive waste of life
Our own Generals, they now lead us in each and every future strife!

The Brits and Yanks are now losing men to suicide killers in Iraq
Lessons of the Somme continue on, thank God we held our men back
Our NATO duties in Afghanistan help to pave the democratic way
So to all our troops wearing combat boots let’s thank them this CANADA DAY!

Author’s Note: Thanks Hugh. I was saddened by the numbers of killed and wounded – what a waste of life – I hate to say the Limey’s used us as cannon fodder, but that is exactly what they did – they did the same to the Aussie and Kiwi Lads at Gallipoli!

Royal Military Institute of Manitoba

At Vimy Ridge today, one is awed by simply standing where so many brave men fought and died for their country. The descendants of those Newfoundlanders would later become Canadians and serve their new country as well as they did the old.

Atlantic Voices http://www.atlanticvoices.ca/ performed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Canada Day, July 1st, 8.30-10am, to commemorate the Battle of Beaumont Hamel in WW1 (1916).

At that battle, the Newfoundland Regiment was nearly annihilated; out of 800+ who went into battle, 710 did not answer roll-call the next day.

This ceremony was NATIONALLY displayed on CBC and CTV television, and attended by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and other dignitaries who laid wreaths.

The choir sang the “Ode to Newfoundland”, “O Canada”, and “God Save the Queen”, accompanied by the Canadian Forces Central Band.

This was the first time in history that the Newfoundland flag was flown on the War Memorial. This is a great honour for the choir and for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

CEREMONY AT BEAUMONT-HAMEL, WHERE NEWFOUNDLAND REGIMENT DIED
Allies commemorate deadly day on Somme

By Angela Charlton

Patrick De Noirmont/Associated Press
Patrick De Noirmont/Associated Press
ALBERT, France — Church bells rang in villages across a patch of northern France yesterday, marking the moment 90 years ago that launched one of history’s bloodiest episodes, the Battle of the Somme.

The poignant tolling began a day of commemorations honouring the soldiers of 20 nationalities, including Canadians, who fought in the Somme. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, were on hand for ceremonies at Thiepval honouring troops who fought in the deadliest day the British army ever saw.

The battle has nearly receded from living memory, but its legacy remains. Monuments — from simple markers to major museums — in the fields and towns of the Somme region serve as a reminder of how the Great War changed Europe forever, and how young European unity is.

Britain led allied forces into battle July 1, 1916, hoping to end 18 months of deadlock with a decisive Allied victory over German forces. Yet when it ended, after four months of vicious trench warfare ravaging the countryside, Britain had only advanced about 10 kilometres. More than one million troops lay dead.

Until then, Britain thought it could beat the Germans easily.

“The Somme marks a turning point, not just in the war, but in the whole of British history,” said Nigel Steel, a historian at London’s Imperial War Museum. “On the first day of the battle alone, more than 20,000 British soldiers were killed and 40,000 wounded.”

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean began Canada Day celebrations yesterday by taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial, marking the anniversary of the battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. It was “very, very moving,” Harper later told The Canadian Press.

AP-CP

Note by Hugh Message: I must add a note to the above, which is concerned with another overdue ceremony. On 19 Aug 1942 a disastrous raid was conducted from Britain on Dieppe, France. We in this area of south-west Ontario are very much aware of it because our own Essex-Kent Scottish Regiment was there and sent 553 officers and men ashore. The day ended with 530 of them being casualties. Since that time there have been many post-mortems and many conclusions as to the usefulness of the raid. Whatever the truth is, those men will be recognized by a nine foot granite monument at Dieppe when it is unveiled 19 Aug 2006, this summer, the 64th anniversary of the battle.