|When The Rooms opened its doors on June 29th, 2005, the Provincial Archives Division unveiled an exhibition which carries meaning and sentiment for each and every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. Titled Distinguished Service: the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the Great War, this exhibition documents the lives and experiences of the province’s soldiers and aims to encourage interest in research on the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Located on level three at The Rooms, the exhibition focuses on the World War I service records of the Regiment, available at the archives on microfilm for the first time in this Province. These important records have been made available through a partnership with Library and Archives Canada, which holds the originals and the Genealogical Society of Utah, which microfilmed the records.
The archives is also providing a first-hand look at the exhibit by providing access to the exhibit panels online.
The exhibition contains both originals and copies of photographs, documents, and maps from the Archives’ collections. It traces the Regiment’s involvement in the First World War from enlistment and training in Newfoundland and the United Kingdom to Gallipoli and the battlefields of Europe.
While it does include Beaumont-Hamel, for which the Regiment is perhaps most well known, it also documents other European engagements and, through photographs and documents, illustrates the lives of soldiers in the trenches. The exhibition also highlights the war effort, especially the Women’s Patriotic Association, which provided many items of clothing, bandages and comfort packages for the troops overseas.
An element of the Great War, which is often overlooked or unknown to most, was the Prisoner of War (POW) camps. The Archives’ exhibition highlights the experiences of three particular POWs, using personal accounts from their service records. These voices provide a glimpse of the experiences of POWs in the First World War.
Find out more about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment by visting the Archives and researching the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Service Records, made available for the first time ever in the province. These records tell a story of immense sacrifice and valour, and they document the exemplary and proud service of the Regiment during the Great War.
Or, visit the Newfoundland and the Great War Website by visting http://collections.ic.gc.ca/great_war/home.html Based on glass plate images located in and provided by the Archives, supplemented with images from elsewhere, this site provides an introduction to what was experienced by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador during the Great War. The main sections deal with the home front, Newfoundland's participation in the war and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the commemoration of the war after 1918. In addition to the photos appearing in the Article section of the site, the Images section includes a further and extensive collection of the Newfoundland Regiment photographs.