War & Elliston - The Great War
World War One
For Newfoundland, the Great War or World War One was an event that had a widespread impact. It was a global conflict that pitted Britain and her allies against Germany and her allies. With the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Britain welcomed the support of its former colonies. The Dominion of Newfoundland answered the call and volunteers were forthcoming from all parts including Elliston.
Several Elliston men enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment (later Royal Newfoundland Regiment or RNR) for King and Country. Its best known exploit was its participation in the disastrous Battle of the Somme on July 1st, 1916. Specifically the Newfoundland force was to reinforce other British battalions once they breached the German positions at Beaumont Hamel. The engagement did not go as planned and these battalions failed to break the enemy lines. Their leaders believed these units had not suffered a complete failure, and through a series of misunderstandings, including the misinterpretation of a German flare for a British signal, the Newfoundland Regiment was ordered over the top. Before the Regiment could advance, they had to move over British ground and file through gaps in their own barbed wire that unfortunately provided excellent aiming points for German machine gunners. Of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only 68 were available for roll call the following day.
Others served in the Royal Naval Reserve (R. Naval R.), Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU), American Army, Canadian Army and Merchant Navy.
The Discovery Shooting Club recreated a section of WWI era trench at their shooting range and it is certified to actually fire a rifle from it just as was done during the war. The club also established the Great War Living History Committee to honour the regional contribution of the Bonavista Peninsula (& Area) to Newfoundland & Labrador’s World War One effort.
Below is a list of Elliston men, or men with an Elliston connection, with some additional information on each.
Special thanks to Mr. Doug Cole for his assistance in gathering much of the information/photos in this section.
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