The NEWFOUNDLANDERS


Apart from the training of British troops, Stobs saw the arrival of volunteers from the British Empire.
One of the most colourful units to arrive was a regiment of men from Newfoundland, which at this time was still an independent colony of the British and did not become a province of Canada until 1949.

Acreknowe Camp looking towards the Vertish Hill

Although the colony did not have a large population to call upon, when Britain entered into the war the Newfoundlanders found enough eager volunteers to form their own regiment. The men where camped at Acreknowe Camp, just several hundred yards from the main camp at Stobs.

Acreknowe Camp above Whitlawhaugh

One of them, Frank 'Mayo' Lind wrote:
"Our tent is No.21 and we have quite a nice crowd, just a dozen. We have lots of music, accordion, tin whistle, mouth organ, gramophone, and as soon as we get room will put in a small organ. Oh yes, the boys are intent on having the organ, even if we have to move the washstand and dinner table out to make room for it, and then we can enjoy the evenings in fine style for we have some nice singers amongst us. This is one of the nicest days we've had since landing on this side, and a nice day in Scotland is beyond description, it makes a fellow feel that life is worth living."

Frank Lind's Tent

Frank Lind

"I am writing this sitting on the grass outside our tent and the sun is simply pouring down. We have just come back from a skirmish over the hills and this rest is good, the boys are enjoying themselves at various games, just behind me some of them are playing ball and a few minutes ago the ball landed with a bump at my feet. I thought it was a bomb and the Germans had come at last and was going to run for my arms, only to find an innocent ball kicked out of bounds by a player.
All the boys are well and happy, and everything goes along merrily."

Newfoundland Tent

Newfoundland Tents at Acreknowe

 Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-36), St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

 Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-3-6), St. Johnís, Newfoundland

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-36-28), St. Johnís, Newfoundland

Acreknowe Camp

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-37-17), St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-36-43), St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-36-46), St. Johnís, Newfoundland

In July 1916, at the Battle of the Somme, the Newfoundland Regiment was ordered to advance at 08.45 a.m. and consolidate the success of the previous battalions who had passed before. Except that the previous attackers had suffered grievous loss in No-Man's-Land and had ceased to exist. No one had cancelled the forthcoming attack, defeat was being reinforced. The Newfoundlanders were obliged to move forward in the open because the communication trenches were blocked by the dead and wounded of the earlier attack. They were the only troops visible on the entire battlefield, and immediately they came under fire. As the men bunched at specially cut gaps in the barbed wire in front of the British line, it was said that they pulled their chins down onto their chests as if battling against snow in the Newfoundland winter, except it was not snow, it was deadly German machine-gun bullets.
In a matter of minutes, and before they had even got out into No-Man's-Land, the regiment had lost every officer and over 650 men, either killed or wounded. In total, 91% of the regiment were casualties. They had achieved nothing. Not one German was rendered a casualty because of the Newfoundland attack.

Acreknowe Camp

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-36-43), St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

Presentation of Colours June 1915

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-40-9), St. Johnís, Newfoundland

Presentation of Colours June 1915

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-37-13), St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

Presentation of Colours June 1915

Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL VA-40-9b), St. Johnís, Newfoundland

Writing in the spirit of the time, their divisional commander wrote:
'It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour. The assault failed of success because dead men can advance no further.'
Amongst their dead lay Frank 'Mayo' Lind who had kept a diary of his time while training at Stobs 

Frank Lind's Grave at Y - Ravine

The body of Frank Lind was eventually buried in Y Ravine Cemetery at Beaumont Hamel.

Of his friends who had shared his tent at Stobs, Archie Newman died of wounds at Gezaincourt on the 3rd July, 1916 while Arthur Pratt was wounded on the 1st July.

Newfoundland Caribou at Newfoundland Park, Somme