Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

Today is not only Canada Day but the 90th Anniversary of the battle of the Somme. A battle which saw the Royal Newfoundland Regiment all but wiped out.

A day of infamy later to be repeated at Dunkirk and Dieppe by the Imperious Colonel Blimps of the British Command who viewd their colonial troops as expendable.

Just as they had at Gallipoli where the Royal Newfoundland also fought.

Blogger Galloping Beaver remembers this fatal day.

While most of Canada celebrates Canada Day, in one province this date holds a different significance. In Newfoundland, this is Memorial Day, a commemoration of one of the greatest human disasters to ever befall that independent British dominion. On this day 90 years ago, the armies of the British Empire, along the line of the Somme River in France, stepped out from the cover of their trenches and into one of the worst slaughters in military history. The infantry assault against the German positions on the Somme started just after breakfast on the 1st of July, 1916. By sunset of that day, approximately 60,000 Allied troops had fallen - 20,000 of them killed - something which remains a one-day record of losses to this day. The armies of the British Empire were led by perhaps the most incompetent generals the British army has ever produced. General Sir Douglas Haig, a cavalry officer, planned the Somme
Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial - Veterans Affairs Canada

Bronze Caribou

  • Of the five memorials established in France and Belgium in memory of major actions fought by the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment, the largest is the thirty hectare site at Beaumont-Hamel, nine kilometres north of the town of Albert. This site commemorates all Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War, particularly those who have no known grave. The site was officially opened by Field Marshal Earl Haig on June 7, 1925.

It would be battles like the Somme that would instill in the German soldiers the belief that they could have defeated the allies in WWI and the German High Command had betrayed them. It was this belief that led to the formation of the right wing military FreiKorps after WWI and their heirs the Nazi's.

Also See:

The Vimy Myth

Christmas in the Trenches

WWI Xmas Mutiny

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