It’s been more than a century and still the words ‘The Somme’ resonate with Canadians who grew up with a grumpy old granddad or family lore surrounding a strapping young man who fought in one of history’s most notorious conflicts.
About 100,000 Canadians did battle at the Somme—four divisions’ worth, plus a regiment from the Dominion of Newfoundland. For many a KIA or wizened old war veteran, it was their last, if not only, fight of the First World War.
Over the course of the three months that Canadians fought there, between August and November 1916, some 24,000 were killed or wounded, along with 2,000 Newfoundlanders, many of whom fell on July 1, the battle’s first day.
Many of the survivors went on to fight at Vimy Ridge the following April. Some survived that epic victory to fi...