By Tracy Madore, B.Comm.(Co-op.)’96
My act of remembrance started with a needle and thread.
In 2015 I learned that the Cabot Quilters’ Guild were seeking submissions of quilt blocks, the idea being a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel.
My dad and I decided to work on a quilt block together, and it was one of many used to create 17 beautiful quilts. Together they became part of Peace-by-Piece: Quilted Memories of Newfoundland in the Great War . Our quilt block is dedicated to my great-uncle, Pte. George A. Madore, who fought at Beaumont-Hamel and survived, despite taking a bullet to the thigh. Less than a year later, in April 1917, he died in battle at Monchy-le-Preux.
Seeing where so many young men made the ultimate sacrifice was haunting, and the presence of their spirits was palpable as I reflected on what they endured on that same ground 100 years ago.
The quilt block we created includes a picture of George, a brief summary of his life, and a poem written by my dad, one that is based on stories relayed to him by his father and other family members.
This past June, we completed the journey of commemoration by travelling to Europe. My husband, my father and I visited London, Paris, Beaumont-Hamel and Monchy-le-Preux. In London, we went to Tower Hill Memorial where my great-uncle Walter Madore’s name is listed on a monument to those who served in the merchant marines. He was my dad’s namesake,and he died during the Second World War on board the SS Hartington.
Our trip to Beaumont-Hamel and Monchy-le-Preux was everything I thought it would be and so much more. Seeing where so many young men made the ultimate sacrifice was haunting, and the presence of their spirits was palpable as I reflected on what they endured on that same ground 100 years ago. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who defended their country, and to their families at home whose lives were changed forever.
During our visit we were treated with such wonderful hospitality when we identified ourselves as Canadians, but saying we were from Newfoundland and Labrador brought about a completely different level of respect. Our history remembered and recognized that way was quite impressive, and it made us proud.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime journey for us. I feel fortunate that my father, a veteran himself and in good health at the age of 73, could join us. I am grateful that I could share that time and experience with him.
Tracy Madore was born in Labrador City, but grew up in Corner Brook, N.L. She now lives in St. John’s with her husband Gerry Snow and works as a Senior Application Systems Analyst with Inmarsat.