On the evening of August 4, 1914, Walter Davidson, the Governor of Newfoundland, received a cable informing him that Britain was at war. As a colony, Newfoundland and Labrador officially entered the war when Britain did. However, the exact role the colony would play was still to be determined.
Davidson reacted quickly. On August 8, he wired London to say that Newfoundland and Labrador would raise five hundred men for land service and one thousand men for
. Prime Minister Patrick Morris supported this decision without calling the Legislature together.
On August 12, 1914, a public citizens' meeting in St. John's endorsed the
actions taken by the Government and passed a resolution that led to the creation of the Newfoundland Patriotic Committee. (The committee was soon re-named the
Patriotic Association of Newfoundland.) The committee assumed responsibility for recruiting, training, and equipping the Newfoundland Regiment during most of the war.
Opposition parties also gave their support to the war effort. In a special session of the Legislature on September 2 to discuss the colony's contribution, the Leader of the Opposition, John Kent, stated "This is not a time when we should think of Party differences. This is a time when our land calls for united action!"