Completing the Trail

12,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians served in the First World War; their contributions are finally being commemorated in September 2022 at Gallipoli, Turkey.

Written by Canada’s History Staff

Posted July 4, 2022

A dedication ceremony will take place in September at Gallipoli, Turkey, for a bronze caribou statue honouring Newfoundlanders who served and sacrificed during the 1915–16 Gallipoli campaign of the First World War. This is the sixth and final caribou monument in the “Trail of the Caribou,” a series of memorials marking key Royal Newfoundland  Regiment battles in France, Belgium, and now Turkey.

Newfoundland was an independent dominion of Britain during the First World War. In 2012, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced plans to complete the Trail of the Caribou as part of its war centennial commemorations.

The caribou is the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR), and bronze caribou monuments are found at Beaumont-Hamel, Gueudecourt, Masnières, and Monchy-le-Preux in France as well as at Courtrai, Belgium.While the Gallipoli monument was erected in April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented a public dedication ceremony. Twelve thousand Newfoundlanders and Labradorians served in the First World War, drawn from a then population of 242,000 people. Between 1,281 and 1,305 RNR members were killed and another 2,284 were wounded.

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This article originally appeared in the August-September 2022 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

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