Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

June 30, 2008 10:42 ET

Minister Issues Statement on the Occasion of Beaumont-Hamel Anniversary

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 30, 2008) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement to mark the 92nd anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel:

"As Canadians come together tomorrow to celebrate our nation on its birthday, we must also take the time to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the peace and freedom that we have today - the Canada we have today.

The Battle of the Somme began in the early morning hours of July 1, 1916, near the towns of Beaumont and Hamel, France. The 1st Newfoundland Regiment served valiantly and with determination against overwhelming odds that morning. With courage and without hesitation, they went 'over the top' into No Man's Land where they faced a terror unfathomable to most. In less than half an hour the first battle would be over. Newfoundland paid an extraordinary price on that day: of the 801 who had gone into battle, only 68 were able to respond at roll call the following morning.

The Battle of the Somme would rage on for another four and a half months, and tens of thousands of Canadians would see action. Ultimately, Canada suffered approximately 24,000 casualties.

We should regard their legacy with nothing less than sincere gratitude and respect. Their unbreakable spirit, unwavering courage and selfless sacrifice so many years ago continues to have a profound influence on our Canadian way of life. Their legacy is our heritage - and, together, we will honour their memory."

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