Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

July 01, 2011 08:30 ET

Canada Remembers the Battle of the Somme

BEAUMONT-HAMEL, FRANCE--(Marketwire - July 1, 2011) - A commemorative ceremony was held today at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in honour of those who fought and died at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916—the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

"Today's commemorative ceremony at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is a pledge to our continued remembrance of all Newfoundlanders who fought and lost their lives in the Great War," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs. "They served with conviction, with pride, and with compassion. These remarkable heroes are the reason we remember."

A number of dignitaries attended the commemorative ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and laid wreaths in honour of the fallen. They included Kim Butler, chargé d'affaires ad interim, Canadian Embassy to France; the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador; Lieutenant-Colonel Marcel Cloutier, Deputy Defence Attaché, Canadian Embassy to France; M. Jean-Marc Bassaget, sous-préfet de Péronne; representatives of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment; representatives of Canadian Veterans' organizations; and parliamentarians.

Ceremonies were also held in Canada today to honour the 95th anniversary. As part of the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, an early-morning commemorative ceremony was held at the National War Memorial. The Honourable Senator Fabian Manning attended the ceremony and laid a wreath in honour of those who served during the Battles of the Somme and of Beaumont-Hamel. Representatives from Canadian Veterans' organizations, Canadian youth, parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps and other special guests also participated in the wreath-laying ceremony.

In St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Royal Canadian Legion held its traditional Memorial Day ceremony in recognition of the losses suffered at Beaumont-Hamel. The Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, attended the ceremony and laid a wreath at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the final resting place of many local Veterans, which was followed by a ceremony at 11:00 a.m. at the province's National War Memorial, with ceremonial support from the Department of National Defence.

For more information on the 95th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and of Beaumont-Hamel, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at veterans.gc.ca. Share your thoughts at facebook.com/CanadaRemembers.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468
    janice.summerby@vac-acc.gc.ca

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649