Historical symposium to examine war experience
By Leslie Vryenhoek
Royal Newfoundland Regimental soldiers during the First World War. This archival photo is courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Archives and Manscripts Division.
In June, the Newfoundland Historical Society and the Trinity Historical Society are partnering to offer a symposium that explores the experiences of the men who fought the First World War, as well as the efforts to support them.
At Home and Abroad: Newfoundland and World War I will take place on June 2-3 in Trinity, NL, at the Rising Tide Theatre.
Melanie Martin, a research assistant in the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website education project and an organizer of the event, said a number of requests to do something special to mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, in which over 700 Newfoundland soldiers lost their lives, sparked this event.
Ms. Martin expects one highlight to be the sharing of firsthand accounts from those who had been captured. “The Trinity Historical Society has just acquired a collection of regimental records that includes POW letters,” she explained.
Other speakers will examine the role of doctors, and of the Women’s Patriotic Society, in the war. Memorial history professor Dr. Mike O’Brien will speak on the Royal Naval Reserve, and Bert Riggs, who heads the Archives and Manuscripts Division at Memorial University Libraries, will offer the closing speech.
The presentations are free and open to the public, though tickets must be purchased for Saturday night’s banquet. Call Debby at 737-4858.
More information is available at the Newfoundland Historical Society’s website www.infonet.st-johns.nf.ca/providers/nfldhist/.
According to Ms. Martin, this event is the precursor to an even larger event in October. Remembering: Beaumont Hamel, Newfoundland and the First World War will be presented in co-operation with the French and British governments, Memorial University and the Provincial Archives, with funding from Veterans Affairs.