Facts from Veterans Affairs of Canada
Beaumont-Hamel is located nine kilometres north of the town of Albert in the Department of the Somme.
On 1 July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the Newfoundland Regiment fought its first engagement in France, its costliest of the whole war.
The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial was dedicated to the memory of those Newfoundlanders who served during the First World War and specifically commemorates those who died and have no known grave. The memorial site was 7 opened June 1925 by Earl Haig.
The memorial is the largest of the five sites in France and Belgium that honor the Newfoundland Regiment. It is 30 hectares (74 acres).
R.H.K. Cochius, originally from Holland, then living in Newfoundland, was the landscape architect for the site design.
The noble bronze caribou is the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Basil Gotto, a sculptor from England, created the bronze caribou monument. The caribou stands on a mound, surrounded by rock and shrubs native to Newfoundland, proudly facing in the direction of the former foe and overlooking the trenches and ground across which the battalion advanced on 1 July 1916.
Inscribed on three bronze tablets located at the base of the monument are the 814 names of those members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve and the Mercantile Marine who died during the First World War and have no known grave.
At the end of June 1916, the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment comprised slightly more than 1,000 all ranks.
On 1 July 1916, 798 all ranks deployed into the trenches (excluding 33 others detached to mortar and machine gun companies), and 22 officers and about 758 other ranks were sent forward against the enemy (approximately 10 percent of a battalion was held in reserve during any attack). Of these, all the officers and slightly under 658 other ranks became casualties. Only around 110 remained unscathed.
The battalion's war diary on 7 July 1916, states that on 1 July the overall casualties for the battalion were 310 all ranks killed, died of wounds, or missing believed killed, and that 374 all ranks were wounded, a total of 684. Some of the wounded subsequently died.