When Britain went to war on August 4, 1914, its far-flung empire, including Newfoundland, was
drawn automatically into the conflict. Few Newfoundlanders would have questioned the colonys
obligations or the necessity of joining in the imperial war effort. In fact, the declaration
of war was greeted with great enthusiasm. ;Those who reckon with England, must reckon with
Englands sons! blared a headline in the Daily News (3 Sept. 1914: 8).
The response was immediate. Britains most ancient and loyal colony was determined to do
its part for King and Country. As soon as the government indicated its intention to raise troops
for overseas service, hundreds of volunteers rushed to join, far more than was needed in the
first instance. Even contemporaries were startled by the wave of patriotic fervour that swept over
Newfoundland in these early days of the war. As Private A. J. Stacey of the Royal Newfoundland
Regiment later recalled: There was the singing of patriotic songs and flag waving, which seemed
to whip up emotion as you had to volunteer.
The crowd watches volunteers depart, ca. 1914.
Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL B3-3), St. Johns,
King George, n.d.
Photo of King George with the Union Jack and the Newfoundland ensign,
taken from a military death certificate.
Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Johns, Newfoundland.
The Image Gallery contains a
based on a photo album held by the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador. This scrapbook
is typical of many such albums created by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who followed with interest
the exploits of their armed forces.
There are also video clips of the embarkation of a contingent showing the unbridled
patriotism prevalent in the colony. It is not known when these scenes were photographed.
depicts the crowds cheering the members of the regiment that was
simply known as Ours.
shows Newfoundland troops meeting their convoy outside St. Johns Harbour.