“I Remain, Your Loving Son” Intimate Stories of Beaumont-Hamel

About the Book...

History has told us in unambiguous terms that the statistics from July 1, 1916, were grim and shocking. Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can recite the facts on cue: 801 men went “over the top” at Beaumont-Hamel, France; all but sixty-eight were either killed or wounded.

Another number, startling as well: thirty, as in thirty minutes, a half-hour. That’s how long it took for German machine gunners to virtually wipe out the Newfoundland Regiment, from 9:15 on that sunny Saturday morning to 9:45. The bloodletting was halted because, in the words of one officer at the time, “Dead men cannot advance any further.”

Inside these covers you will find deeply personal stories of Beaumont-Hamel, told by the soldiers themselves and their relatives back home, by their descendants, and by others who have found distinctive ways of bringing an intimate touch to what is sometimes described as the saddest day in Newfoundland and Labrador history.

The transcripts of two documentaries produced by Bob Wakeham and Bill Coultas, a series of poems by Frances Ennis, and hooked rugs created by the Holy Heart of Mary Alumnae Choir form the content of this unique tribute to those who died at Beaumont-Hamel.

 

About the Authors...

Frances Ennis has been a community worker as an adult education, program coordinator, evaluator, and researcher and writer for most of her adult life. She worked with the federal government for eleven years and, before that, with organizations whose mandates focused on health education, adult literacy, social justice, and women’s equality. Frances was co-founder of the first community-based adult literacy program in the province. She is a recipient of the Muriel Duckworth Award for participatory research, the Governor General’s Award in honour of the Person’s Case, and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has co-authored, edited, and/or produced books and training manuals for adult literacy work. As a current textile artist, Frances has participated in provincial, national, and international exhibits. She helped to initiate and facilitate several large group rug hooking projects that produced one-of-a-kind rugs, books about the rugs and stories they depict, and exhibitions, one of which travelled to Ireland. Frances and husband Bill Coultas live in St. John’s. They are proud parents of three lovely daughters—Sheila, Laura, and Jennifer—and they have a very special granddaughter, Abbegayle.

Bob Wakeham has been a journalist in Newfoundland for almost forty-five years and has won numerous awards and accolades for his work. Bob began his career as a reporter with the Evening Telegram. From there he moved on to become an interviewer and commentator with CBC Radio. Then he became the executive producer for the CBC television supper-hour news program, Here and Now, and the documentary programs On Camera, Soundings, and Land and Sea. He is the author of a memoir called For the Moment, about his survival from cancer. Since his retirement from the CBC, Bob has been writing a weekly column for the Telegram. He and his wife, Heather Coultas, live in Flatrock. Bob’s maternal grandfather, Joe Judge, a native of Point Verde, Placentia Bay, and a long-time resident of Grand Falls, was wounded at Beaumont-Hamel.

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