Journey Home: Newfoundland’s Unknown Soldier Returns After 100 Years in France

Newfoundland's unknown soldier begins journey home from France after more than 100 years

“Newfoundland’s Unknown Soldier Returns Home After 100 Years”

In a poignant ceremony at Beaumont-Hamel in northern France, the remains of Newfoundland’s unknown soldier were transferred to Canadian possession. The setting was fitting for such a momentous occasion, with the Newfoundland Regiment caribou memorial standing tall against the backdrop of lush green mounds. As O Canada, La Marseillaise, the Last Post and the Ode to Newfoundland filled the air, it was a reminder of the sacrifices made more than a century ago.

A Bittersweet Closure

For many, this transfer ceremony brought a sense of closure. Jacob Neil, supervisor of the guide team at the historic site, described the somber yet exciting mood that enveloped the ceremony. While closure may not fully be attained given the tragedy that unfolded on those grounds, it was a step in the right direction for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Frank Sullivan, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion and instrumental in creating a tomb of the unknown soldier in St. John’s, expressed the profound significance of this moment. The soldier was finally coming home, and the emotions were overwhelming.

A Journey Home

As the unknown soldier’s remains were draped in a Canadian flag and prepared for the journey home, the delegation from France headed back to Newfoundland and Labrador. Premier Andrew Furey, deeply moved by the events, emphasized the historic and emotional significance of the soldier’s return. The soldier’s final resting place will be inside a newly constructed tomb at the Newfoundland National War Memorial.

Looking Ahead

As Newfoundland and Labrador prepare to mark Memorial Day and the 100th anniversary of the Newfoundland National War Memorial on July 1, the unknown soldier’s return serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the province’s young men. The soldier will lie in state at Confederation Building, allowing the public to pay their respects.

As we reflect on this historic moment, let us honor the memory of this unknown soldier and all the brave individuals who gave their lives in service to their country. May their sacrifices never be forgotten, and may we always strive to preserve their legacy for future generations.



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