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Newfoundland Regiment





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A Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Partner Project. Created under contract to Canada’s Digital Collections, Industry Canada.


One year of the war elapsed before the Newfoundlanders were sent to an active front. The regiment’s first encounter with the realities of war on the Gallipoli Peninsula was mild in relation to subsequent events on the Western Front. Nevertheless, it was at Gallipoli that the regiment received its baptism of fire, during which it acquired a reputation for steadfastness and courage.

On August 19, 1915, the Newfoundland Regiment received word that it was to be sent to Gallipoli and assigned to the 88th Brigade as part of the 29th Division of the British Army. After a brief stopover in Egypt, the 1,076 Newfoundlanders landed on the shores of the Dardanelles on September 19, 1915.

Cape Helles, Gallipoli.
Photo taken between December 22, 1915 and January 9, 1916.

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL B3-15), St. John’s, Newfoundland.
(44 Kb)

The soldiers arrived expecting action and excitement. They were soon disappointed; they spent the first few months digging trenches and keeping long night watches. In November 1915, Lieutenant Owen Steele commented on the lack of action, adding “However, we may get some excitement yet” (Steele, “Extract from letter November 1, 1915”).

Steele’s predictions were soon fulfilled. Before leaving the peninsula in January 1916, the regiment suffered its first casualties, survived a vicious November storm, twice aided in the successful withdrawal of troops from the peninsula and won its first battle honours after the capture of Caribou Hill in November.

B Company in front line, Suvla Bay, 1915.
Capt. Alexander (left) and Capt. Nunns (right).

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-37-1), St. John’s, Newfoundland.
(19 Kb)

It was also at Gallipoli that the regiment came under the command of the man who is said to have “made the Regiment,” Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Hadow, a regular British Army officer. Although Hadow was not popular with his troops, he earned their respect. It was under his stern command that the Newfoundlanders went into battle at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.