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What are these little blue flowers?

Before the Poppy became the popular emblem of remembrance of our war dear, Newfoundlanders wore a sprig of the little blue forget-me-not flower every July 1st in remembrance of their soldiers and sailors who fell in World War I. 

July 1st was chosen as the Newfoundland Day of Remembrance while we were still a Dominion in our own right; an independent nation and one of the many countries of the British Empire that suffered so many losses in that horrible war. The First of July became symbolic of the sacrifice of our youth in the so called Great War because it was on that date in 1916 that we lost the flower of an entire generation when the Newfoundland Regiment was virtually annihilated at the battle of the Somme, near the tiny villages of Beaumont and Hamel - now known collectively in our history as Beaumont-Hamel.

When the whistle blew to signal the start of the attack that fateful morning, the men of the Regiment "went over the top" of the trenches in a full frontal assault on the German line of machine guns and artillery.  Within thirty minutes the regiment was almost completely wiped out. It was a bloody half-hour that has coloured our history to this day. It was not the most brilliant plan of attack ever devised by military strategists, but it exemplified the leadership of British General Douglas Haig.

By next morning's roll call. 255 of the Regiment were dead, 386 were wounded, and 91 were listed as missing in action and presumed dead. Every officer who had gone over the top was either wounded or dead. Only 69 of the original 801 soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment were left to answer the roll call. It was a slaughter of a hugh portion of the young men of the tiny Dominion, but it was not their first sacrifice, nor their last in that terrible conflict.

While the poppy is now worn to mark Armistice Day or Remembrance Day on November 11th, traditionalists in Newfoundland still wear the forget-me-not on July 1st so that we may never forget those who were sacrificed in the insanity and futility and horror of that terrible conflict - and the wars that have kept repeating ever since.

Here we have chosen to place four flowers on our website to honour the memories of our war dead who served in the Navies, Armies, Airforces and Merchant Marines of the allied forces in the two World Wars, in Korea and in the many NATO and UN peacekeeping actions and conflicts since then and to the present day - Lest We Forget.