Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador Date in the current year: July 1, 2024

Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador On July 1, all Canadian provinces and territories celebrate Canada Day, the national holiday of Canada commemorating Canadian Confederation. In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, however, it is also known as Memorial Day. It has been observed since 1917 to honor the memory of the soldiers of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who died in the Battle of the Somme.

During World War I, the island of Newfoundland wasn’t part of Canada yet; it belonged to the Dominion of Newfoundland, which also included the region of Labrador on the continental mainland.

In 1914, the General Assembly of Newfoundland authorized the formation of the Newfoundland Regiment. In July 1915, the regiment joined the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division and was deployed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. After the end of the Gallipoli campaign in January 1916, the regiment recuperated for a short time before being transferred to the Western Front.

In France, the regiment participated in the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1, 1916. The Newfoundland Regiment and the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment were the first to advance and consequently suffered heavy casualties.

Out of about 800 men who went forward, only 68 answered the roll call the following day. The rest were killed in battle or succumbed to their wounds afterwards, were heavily wounded or went missing; most of the battalion was wiped out during the first half hour of the battle. The unit’s casualty rate was approximately 90%.

Memorial Day was observed for the first time in 1917 to commemorate the first anniversary of the battle. Since Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada as the tenth province in 1949, the observance has honored all members of the armed forces from Newfoundland and Labrador who served and sacrificed during wars and peacekeeping operations.

Since Memorial Day coincides with Canada Day, which is a federal holiday, Memorial Day ceremonies are usually held in the morning, and Canada Day events take place in the afternoon and evening. Memorial Day is marked by parades, silences, and wreath-laying ceremonies held at the National War Memorial in the province capital of St. John’s and cenotaphs across Newfoundland and Labrador. The Union Flag is flown at half-staff during the first half of the day.

In the past, people pinned forget-me-nots to their lapels to commemorate those who died in the Battle of the Somme. Since the province’s introduction to Canada, they have been largely displaced by the Remembrance Poppy. Newfoundland and Labrador is the only Canadian province where the Remembrance Poppy is worn on another day in addition to Remembrance Day.

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Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador, holidays in Newfoundland and Labrador, observances in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadian observa