The three villages of Beaumont, Gare-de-Beaucourt and Hamel make up the municipality of Beaumont-Hamel and were situated immediately behind the German front line.
Newfoundland was, at the time of the Great War, a British Dominion and like other Commonwealth countries raised an army of volunteers for the war effort.
On the 1st July, at 9am, men from the Newfoundland Regiment left their trenches and were immediately trapped under German machine gun fire. Half an hour later, only 68 remained unscathed and all of the officers had been killed or wounded. They suffered one of the highest casualty rates of the 1st July, making this one of the bloodiest actions of the Somme.
Several years ago, a Visitor’s Centre was added to the site. Several park rangers are on site. They offer information and guided tours; it is also possible to go an a self-guided tour of the battlefield.
The handout for visitors who go around on their own (“Self-Guided Tour of the Battlefield”) comprises a map.
This is the ‘Welcome’ section:
Veterans Affairs Canada welcomes you to the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. Since Newfoundland’s confederation with Canada in 1949, the Government of Canada has been responsible for the maintenance and care of this site.
Please remember that this whole site is a war memorial and, effectively, a war cemetery and should be treated accordingly; the remains of many men, never recovered, still lie here.
Please be aware that the ground over which you walk is uneven, often muddy and slippery. Please use the wooden platforms when moving through the accessible trenches.
There is still something mystic in the air – not only at the danger tree…
This memorial, as all the other memorials, and war cemeteries convey that we all need a little more R – E – S – P – E – C – T for the world around us.
This remembrance trip certainly was not my last visit to the Caribou.
War is not the solution for our issues.
Excerpt from Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”:
…when will we ever learn…
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