Nfld. & Labrador·Video

A tribute honouring the Goodyear family's sacrifice at Beaumont-Hamel

A touching tribute was held at the Confederation Building in St. John's to recognize a family's sacrifices during World War One.

'We lost the cream of Newfoundland youth in that first World War,' says Terry Goodyear

A name to remember

6 years ago
Duration 3:06
The Goodyear family was acknowledged yesterday in the House of Assembly. Out of 7 siblings, 5 brothers and 1 sister fought in World War One.

A touching tribute was held at the Confederation Building in St. John's to recognize a family's sacrifices during World War One.

The Goodyear family sent six out of seven siblings into battle in 1916.

"Like many Newfoundland families, our family grew up with stories of having served in the war and what Beaumont-Hamel specifically meant to the province and this is a chance to reflect on what was, what could have been, and also remember family members," said Geoff Goodyear, whose grandfather fought in the war.


Honour roll ceremony

Members of the Goodyear family attended a special ceremony Tuesday, where the honour roll from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was read in the House of Assembly to become part of the official register.

This served as an acknowledgement for the family's sacrifice.

The names of the fallen Goodyears, along with 38 other names, were read out loud at the ceremony.

Members of the Goodyear family in attendance at Tuesday's ceremony were from left to right, Shawn Goodyear, Claire Goodyear, Aiden Goodyear, Brittany Pomeroy, Cathy Goodyear, Seamus Goodyear, Mike Goodyear, Terry Goodyear and Geoff Goodyear. (Kenneth Sharpe/CBC)

Family affair

The Goodyear family spent their time in Ladle Cove and Grand Falls-Windsor.

Five brothers enlisted as soldiers, while one sister fought the war from a different battlefield, serving as a nurse.

Three of the brothers — Raymond, Stanley and Hedley — were killed in battle while the other two brothers, Ken and Joe, returned to Newfoundland badly wounded.

Roland Goodyear, the oldest of the siblings, was denied enlistment to avoid the potential of all sons in the family being killed in the war and was told he had to stay behind.

Three of the Goodyear brothers on horseback, left to right, Stanley, Hedley and Joe. (Submitted)
Ray Goodyear, with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was killed in battle. (CBC)

Keeping their memory alive

Terry Goodyear said his father Ken never spoke a lot about the war.

"I guess things were so horrific there, that they preferred to not re-think it," he said.

"I think my father and my uncle Joe, they became very, very strong men because they had lived through it and I think that made them all the stronger and no task was too hard to tackle." 

Joe Goodyear was wounded during the war in 1916. (CBC)

"I just hope that never again do we ever see anything like what they had because we can't imagine," said Terry.

"We lost the cream of Newfoundland youth in that first World War and what those men could have been, we'll never know."

Members of the Goodyear family wait patiently in the lobby of Confederation Building Tuesday. (Kenneth/CBC)

The Goodyear family, like most Newfoundland families, lived through good times and bad.

Unlike many, their stories were woven into David Macfarlane's best-selling book The Danger Tree, which told the tale of Newfoundland's war experience through a family. 

Geoff Goodyear stands next to what is known as the 'Danger Tree' with his father Terry during a trip to Beaumont Hamel. (Submitted)

The actual "Danger Tree," one of the most resounding icons from Beaumont-Hamel, stood at roughly the halfway point on the No Man's Land area of the French battlefield, and served as a marker for the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, many of whom were killed before reaching it.

Today, Goodyear family members are spread out across the province and country.

Some of them will be making the trek to Beaumont-Hamel on July 1 for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, to pay a special tribute to their loved ones on the soil where some were wounded and others perished.

With files from Kenneth Sharpe