In a ceremony demonstrating the battle that forged a bond between two allied nations, France transferred the remains of an unknown Newfoundland First World War soldier to Canada at Beaumont-Hamel on Saturday 25 May 2024. Following a ramp ceremony in France, the remains were transported to Newfoundland for a reception ramp ceremony at the airport in St. John’s. They will be laid to rest in the new Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Newfoundland National War Memorial by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This ceremony will take place on 1 July 2024, and be open to the public. Prior to this, there will be a public laying-in-state at the Confederation building in St. John’s from 28 – 30 June 2024.

The Newfoundland National War Memorial was built to commemorate the service of approximately 8,500 soldiers and sailors from Newfoundland that fought in World War I (roughly 1,500 of whom gave their lives). The central plaque of the memorial was built in 1924 and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the cenotaph, which has been undergoing refurbishing, and will be complete in time for Memorial Day (which is also Canada Day). The Royal Canadian Legion – Newfoundland and Labrador Command, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are partners supporting this initiative.

5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown honours the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers, sailors, and aviators from Newfoundland & Labrador, along with those from other provinces in Canada, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country and have no known grave. As we look ahead to this year’s Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Canada Day, we reflect on our rich national tradition of service; those who put service to protect our sovereignty and national interests ahead of their own. Lest we forget.

Second-Lieutenant Raghav Sharma