National War Memorial (Newfoundland)

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National War Memorial
Dominion of Newfoundland Red Ensign.svg Newfoundland
Flag of Canada.svg Canada
For soldiers of Newfoundland, World War I
Unveiled July 1, 1924
Location 47°34′03.28″N52°42′13.67″W / 47.5675778°N 52.7037972°W / 47.5675778; -52.7037972 (National War Memorial) Coordinates: 47°34′03.28″N52°42′13.67″W / 47.5675778°N 52.7037972°W / 47.5675778; -52.7037972 (National War Memorial)
near  St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Designed by Father Thomas Nangle
Erected by "a grateful people to honour its war dead"
Unveiling the National War Memorial in St. John's, Newfoundland.
(Memorial Day, July 1, 1924) Warmemorialstjohn's.jpg
Unveiling the National War Memorial in St. John's, Newfoundland.
(Memorial Day, July 1, 1924)
The National War Memorial in St. John's, Newfoundland War memorial Newfoundland.jpg
The National War Memorial in St. John's, Newfoundland

The National War Memorial in Downtown St. John's is the most elaborate of all the post World War I monuments in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was erected at King's Beach on Water Street where, in 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland for England. It was formally unveiled on Memorial Day, July 1, 1924 by Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig. The term "National" refers to this monument being built by the Dominion of Newfoundland as a nation, before it became part of Canada.

Downtown St. Johns Neighbourhood in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Downtown St. John's is the historic core and central business district of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Located north of St. John's harbour, it is the business, entertainment, and tourism centre with office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and other services.

St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial capital city in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St. John's is the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the large Canadian island, Newfoundland. The city spans 446.04 square kilometres (172.22 sq mi) and is North America's easternmost city.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


The Great War Veterans' Association and the Newfoundland Patriotic Association launched the campaign to have the National War Memorial established. They developed a committee to establish the design and undertake the fund-raising to pay for the proposed memorial. Construction of the memorial was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel Father Thomas Nangle, the Roman Catholic Padre of Royal Newfoundland Regiment and (Ret) Captain Gerald (Gerry) Whitty

Reverend Thomas Matthew Mary Nangle was a Newfoundland cleric, military chaplain of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during World War I, diplomat and later a Rhodesian politician and farmer.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Royal Newfoundland Regiment

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. It is part of the 5th Canadian Division's 37 Canadian Brigade Group.


The design was semi-circular with a graduated plateau rising from the entrance stairway on Water Street to the cenotaph on Duckworth Street. The five figures were designed by two English sculptors, Ferdinand Victor Blundstone (top and sides) and Gilbert Bayes (front), and were cast in bronze by E.J. Parlanti from London, England. These figures represent Newfoundland's involvement in World War I.

Cenotaph "empty tomb" or monument erected in honor of a person whose remains are elsewhere

A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.

Ferdinand Victor Blundstone British sculptor

Ferdinand Victor Blundstone (1882–1951) was a Swiss-born sculptor who worked in England. His father was Charles Blundstone, an India rubber merchant who was born in Manchester, England. He studied at the South London Technical Art School and Royal Academy Schools.

Gilbert Bayes British artist

Gilbert William Bayes was an English sculptor.

At the top of the central pedestal is a figure of a woman. It symbolizes Newfoundland's willingness to serve and the spirit of loyalty to the Empire. She is holding a flaming torch in her left hand as a symbol of freedom. In her right hand, she is holding a sword poised and ready to battle, if she must. From the sides of the central pedestal, two wings of granite protrude. On the west wing, representing the Newfoundlanders who joined the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, is a sailor holding a spyglass. On the east wing, representing the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, is a soldier in full battle gear, loading his rifle, searching the horizon for "the enemy".

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve

The Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve was a military reserve force founded in 1900 in what was then the Colony of Newfoundland, a part of the British Empire. From 1900 to 1902, approximately 50 members of the reserve trained each winter with the North American and West Indies squadron of the Royal Navy until a steam and sail powered training ship, HMS Calypso, was provided by the United Kingdom in 1902 for local drills before at-sea training with the NA and WI squadron. The reserve had 375 members by late 1903 and then between five and six hundred reservists until the start of World War I, growing to over 1000 in 1915. 1,964 Newfoundlanders served with the Naval Reserve in World War I, suffering 192 fatalities. The Reserve disbanded in 1920-1921. Calypso, having been renamed HMS Briton, was sold as a storage hulk and was burned for salvage near Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Out in front, on the lower pedestal, are fishermen in oilskins and Wellington boots, and a lumberman with his axe slung over his shoulder, symbolizing the Newfoundlanders who served with the Merchant Marine and the Forestry Corps. Over their heads is a granite cross symbolizing the sacred nature of the war memorial. Below, is a bronze plaque stating that the memorial was erected by "a grateful people to honour its war dead". Similar plaques were added on both sides of the pedestal to commemorate the Newfoundlanders who died in World War II, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan.

An oilskin is a waterproof garment, typically worn by sailors and by others in wet areas, such as fish-plant workers. The modern oilskin garment was developed by a New Zealander, Edward Le Roy, in 1898. Le Roy used worn-out sailcloth painted with a mixture of linseed oil and wax to produce a waterproof, yet still breathable garment suitable to be worn on deck in foul-weather conditions.

Wellington boot

The Wellington boot was originally a type of leather boot adapted from Hessian boots. They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The "Wellington" boot became a staple of practical foot wear for the British aristocracy and middle class in the early 19th century. The name was subsequently given to waterproof boots made of rubber and they are no longer associated with a particular class. They are now commonly used for a range of agricultural and outdoors pursuits.

Lumberjack craftsmen who perform the initial harvesting of trees

Lumberjacks are North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to a bygone era when hand tools were used in harvesting trees. Because of its historical ties, the term lumberjack has become ingrained in popular culture through folklore, mass media and spectator sports. The actual work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and primitive in living conditions. However, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.


Each year the National War Memorial is the site of several ceremonies to commemorate those service personnel who died in past wars.

Gallipoli Campaign Military campaign during World War I

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Entente powers, Britain, France and the Russian Empire, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers, by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia. The invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul). The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn. It was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors, especially Winston Churchill.

Battle of the Somme battle of the Western Front, World War I

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of World War I fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Battle of the Somme was fought in the traditional style of World War I battles on the Western Front: trench warfare. The trench warfare gave the Germans an advantage because they dug their trenches deeper than the allied forces which gave them a better line of sight for warfare. The Battle of the Somme also has the distinction of being the first battle fought with tanks. However, the tanks were still in the early stages of development, and as a result, many broke down after maxing out at their top speed of 4 miles per hour.

Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial

The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the commemoration of Dominion of Newfoundland forces members who were killed during World War I. The 74-acre (300,000 m2) preserved battlefield park encompasses the grounds over which the Newfoundland Regiment made their unsuccessful attack on 1 July 1916 during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.


On 3 January 1928 Newfoundland issued a postage stamp titled 'War Memorial, St. John's' based on a sculpture by Ferdinand-Victor Blundstone and a sculpture by Gilbert Bayes. The stamps are perforated 13.5 x 13 and were printed by Thomas De La Rue & Company. [1]


At the tail end of the 1980's and around the beginning of the 90's; street skateboarding evolved as a new approach to Skateboarding from elements taken from the other existing Skateboarding disciplines. Instead of drained swimming pools and riding purpose-built skateparks, Skateboarders began to utilise urban areas and public spaces.

Since the early 90's, the War Memorial has been a sought after location by local skateboarders and visitors alike. It is not uncommon to find groups utilizing the space, as the architecture provides adequate means for a place to hone their skills.

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