Memorial Day service in St. John's to honour dead soldiers
The first of July is full of Canada Day celebrations across the country, but people in Newfoundland and Labrador will remember the sombre anniversary of the province's greatest loss in the First World War.
A memorial service will be held in Bowring Park at the war memorial at 2:30 p.m. on Monday to honour the men who died at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel.
Men from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment charged the German front line on July 1, 1916. The next day, only 60 of 780 men answered roll call.
Mark Hiscock, a member of Newfoundland band Shanneyganock, will be singing the Ode to Newfoundland during the ceremony. His great-grandfather George Cranford Hiscock was one of the men who survived the battle.
"My great grandfather was a Blue Puttee. He was one of the first five hundred that went over the top and he was one of the few that returned back to Newfoundland," he said.
"To be able to go in there and sing the Ode in his honour is an honour for me."
Hiscock says he has performed the song many times while performing with the band, but the memorial service will be different.
"There might be a tear shed probably, with watching all the vets and family members looking on," he said. "It's an emotional song and it's going to be an emotional time."
Long before the province joined Canada, people here set aside July 1 to mark one of the darkest chapters in their history.
Hiscock said the people of the province still honour the memory of the men who died in battle.
"To me, it's always Memorial Day. I've never thought of it as Canada Day — I've always thought of it, and thought of the history of the Newfoundland Regiment and the Blue Puttees."