July 1st has become a day of mixed emotions for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. While most of Canada celebrates, here it is a day of commemoration and mourning known as Memorial Day.
On July 1st, 1916, 801 members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment fought in the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel, France. Only 68 answered the roll call the next morning. There was hardly a home on the island that was unaffected by the carnage of that day. One historian has noted that no other unit which fought in the First World War was so identified with the community that raised it. The loss was imprinted in the Newfoundland and Labrador history and culture.