The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, attended the ceremony on behalf of the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and the people of Canada. Also attending was Philippe Leblanc, Sous-prefet of Peronne, representing the French Republic.
"The legacy of those Newfoundlanders and Canadians who fought on the Somme is part of our proud Canadian heritage-a heritage that must be commemorated and preserved," said Minister Thompson, who marked the anniversary in Canada. "This Canada Day, we honour their sacrifice while also giving thanks to the men and women serving in the Canadian Forces today."
On July 1, 1916, the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment advanced over open ground into a relentless barrage of artillery and machine gun fire. Their advance lasted less than 30 minutes. Of those men who went into the advance, 86 per cent became casualties. Only one other Battalion sustained heavier casualties.
"Today, we remember and honour the selfless devotion to duty shown on this very ground by the men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment," said Minister Kenney. "Nowhere were their deeds more historic, nor their sacrifice greater, than here."