Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

July 01, 2009 10:15 ET

Canada Remembers the Battle of the Somme

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 1, 2009) - Canadian and French citizens gathered at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial National Historic Site of Canada in France to mark the 93rd anniversary of the day Canadians and Newfoundlanders marched into battle in the pursuit of peace during the Battle of the Somme.

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, attended the ceremony on behalf of the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and the people of Canada. Also attending was Philippe Leblanc, Sous-prefet of Peronne, representing the French Republic.

"The legacy of those Newfoundlanders and Canadians who fought on the Somme is part of our proud Canadian heritage-a heritage that must be commemorated and preserved," said Minister Thompson, who marked the anniversary in Canada. "This Canada Day, we honour their sacrifice while also giving thanks to the men and women serving in the Canadian Forces today."

On July 1, 1916, the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment advanced over open ground into a relentless barrage of artillery and machine gun fire. Their advance lasted less than 30 minutes. Of those men who went into the advance, 86 per cent became casualties. Only one other Battalion sustained heavier casualties.

"Today, we remember and honour the selfless devotion to duty shown on this very ground by the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment," said Minister Kenney. "Nowhere were their deeds more historic, nor their sacrifice greater, than here."

For more information on Canada's contribution in the First World War, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649
    or
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Arlene King
    Director, External Relations and Visitor Activities
    International Operations
    33-0-3-22-76-70-85
    or
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Alykhan Velshi
    Alykhan.Velshi@cic.gc.ca