A Visit to Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Battlefield Memorial Park

September 29, 2017.  After we left Grandcourt Road Cemetery, we decided to visit a memorial site where we were assured of easy access.  Kevin Peddle of Prince County Trophy in Summerside had made plaques for Pieter for two soldiers listed on Menin Gate in Ypres, Charles Benjamin Buxton and George Albert Campbell, and he had also made the plaques for Patrick Raymond Arsenault and John Lymon Wood that were left at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in April by the Kinkora Regional High School students.

So when Kevin mentioned that his great-uncle, Seaman Alec PEDDLE was killed during WW1, Pieter did some research for him and found out that he was the son of David and Mary Ann Peddle, husband of Julia Peddle, and was listed on the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Battlefield Memorial Park. Pieter promised to try and visit the memorial and pay his respects.

Beaumont-Hamel, the largest of the battlefield parks established in memory of Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in World War I, is located nine kilometres north of the town of Albert.  Like Vimy Ridge, this is a well visited site, with student guides and a visitors centre.  This was quite a contrast to the many cemeteries we’d been to, where we were the only visitors.

CIMG8537 Sep 6 2017 Sign to Beaumont Hamel

Sign directing us to Beaumont-Hamel. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

The Beaumont Hamel Memorial Park, opened in 1925, is the home of the monument of a bronze caribou, the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

CIMG8540 Sep 6 2017 Pieter at Beaumont Hamel Memorial

Pieter at the base of the Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

At the base of the caribou statue are three bronze tablets with the names of 800 members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, and the Mercantile Marine.  All of these have no known grave.

Seaman Peddle, who was with the  Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, had been on a ship, the H.M.S. ‘Dirk’, which was torpedoed off the east coast of England on May 28, 1918.  Although Admiralty records state that ‘Dirk’ was a trawler hired in 1917, she was a ferry owned by David MacBrayne, and was used for submarine patrol duties along with her sister ship, the ‘Lochiel’.  As Peddle has no known grave, he is mentioned on the memorial on a panel for the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve.

CIMG8541 Sep 6 2017 Nfld Royal Naval Reserve Memorial

Bronze plaque listing members of the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve who died in WW1 and have no known grave. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

CIMG8544 Sep 6 2017 Nfld Royal Naval Reserve Memorial Pieter points to where Alec Peddle is mentioned

Pieter points to Seaman A. Peddle’s name on the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve Plaque. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

While we were at Beaumont-Hamel, we dropped in to say hello to site manager Arlene King, who had kindly arranged for site manager Johanne Gagné to help us out at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park.

CIMG8552 Sep 6 2017 Pieter with Arlene King site mgr of Beaumont Hamel

Pieter with site manager Arlene King at the Beaumont Hamel Visitors Centre. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Although the visit to Beaumont-Hamel was not part of the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project, we were honoured to pay our respects to Seaman Peddle and see this beautiful site.

In the next blog entry we continue our search for the Manitoba Cemetery. Comments or stories?  You can share them by emailing us at dariadv@yahoo.ca or by commenting on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg

2 thoughts on “A Visit to Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Battlefield Memorial Park

  1. Thanks for this one.

    Beaumont-Hamel was the first battlefield that we visited when we toured the area in 2014.

    In retrospect, I wish that I had taken more time in advance of our visit to learn about what had happened there on July 1, 1916. Sadly, our tour was so packed with visits to various other places that I didn’t really have time to learn much about Beaumont-Hamel while I was there. I did, however, walk around to most of the various small cemeteries dotted around the landscape on the site of the battlefield.

    We had been delayed for hours that morning trying to sort out the loss of our guide’s passport which, along with his briefcase, maps, etc. had been stolen from our hotel lobby earlier – cutting our time at B-H very short.

    Our tour guide commented on what had happened that day on the battlefield. It sounded like an outrageous fiasco on the part of the commanders. I did not have a chance to get to the visitors centre, so I’m not sure how the day’s events were portrayed there. The site of the “Danger Tree” in the middle of the battlefield was very moving.

    Years ago I had a friend in Toronto named Peddle, and I remember seeing it commemorated at various sites that we visited. I guess that it’s a typical Newfoundland family name.

    Best wishes as you continue your tour.




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