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The July 1st, 1916 attack on the Somme by British and allied forces witnessed the highest casualty rate in the history of the British army. It was also the worst day in history for armed forces form Newfoundland. Newfoundland was not a part of Canada during the First World War and its unites were integrated with the British army. The assignment of the Newfoundland regiment was to attack along the Beaumont-Hamel section of the front. The Newfoundlanders had seen action in Gallipoli and had been thoroughly trained but the Western Front was a harsh experience when faced with German artillery and experienced machine gun defences.


The allied artillery bombardment failed to destroy or even marginally effect the German defences. The barbed wire was also substantially intact.

The result of the attack was that of the 780 Newfoundland soldiers who went over the top only 68 returned after the attack. The regiment had virtually ceased to exist. Their valour and heroism was not matched by the skill of the generals that ordered them into battle.


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