21st August, 1923
As the Field Marshal does not wish to visit Canada or the United States I think this is a great honour for us being the first Dominion to be visited with the exception of South Africa where he went two years ago to form the British Empire Service League. During the Conference he took special interest in the Ex-Service Men of Newfoundland and I think his coming to Newfoundland will be a good thing for all concerned. It will be good publicity for the Colony and will add to the solemnity of the unveiling ceremony, will put a lot of money in circulation, and it will pull the Ex-Service Men together thereby helping them to help themselves.
Having taken an especial interest in our National War Memorial, and being responsible to the Government for our other War Memorials, and it being also my intention to undertake re-organizing all our Ex-Service Men. I am going to ask you to give me control of the Programme during the stay of our distinguished visitor. During the last few hours I have thought out a preliminary programme which I am submitting to you and the Governor for your approval or improvement.
I should like you to ask the Governor to invite the Home Government to send the North Atlantic Squadron to St. John’s for the occasion. I should also like you to invite a French Ship.
The first ceremony will be the public welcome at the Official Landing. I am making arrangements with Furness, Withy to put on a better boat as when people know that the Field Marshal is traveling they will be sure of a full passenger list. I have asked them to time the arrival of this boat the week previous to 1st July.
On the Sunday, 29th June, previous to the anniversary I intend to ask the Brigades to run the commemoration religious services of the Ex-Service Men of their own denominations.
On Monday, 30th June, I propose that the Officers Mess should give a welcome dinner to Earl Haig.
On the 1st July itself I propose to run the parade not on denominational lines but on regimental lines. I propose assembling the troops on the Promenade; the Royal Naval Reserve under Howley, or some other Naval Officer; the Foresters under Sullivan, or one of the Goodyears: the members of the Regiment according to the Company with which they served in France under their senior company commanders. I am going to ask you to grant me free transport over rail or coastal boat for all bona fide Ex-Service Men. I shall endeavour to billet them on the Ex-Service Men living in St. John’s. By this means I hope to make a monster parade of about five thousand trained men, apart from the detachments from ships which I hope we shall have in Port. I suggest that the Field Marshal, the Governor, yourself and members of your Government should take the salute from a Pavilion erected in front of the Post Office as the parade proceeds to the Memorial site on the King’s Beach. I propose to run the unveiling ceremony in the same manner as the unveiling of the Cenotaph, at which ceremony I had the honour of representing Newfoundland.
On Tuesday afternoon, 1st July, I propose holding a Sports Rally at which a competition between the eighteen branches of the G.W.V.A. and inter-bay competitions would be a leading feature.
That night I propose to hold a monster meeting of Ex-Service Men to give the Field Marshal an opportunity of addressing them.
As there will be a great number of outport Ex-Service Men, I think it would be a good idea to hold a Regatta on Wednesday afternoon, 2nd July, at which the ships in Port would also complete.
No doubt the Governor will wish to entertain and I hope the Government and City will do something in the same line.
One other request I want to make is to ask your Government to strike a commemorative medal ( the same idea as the Coronation Medal) to be given to all Ex-Service Men who take part in the parade; the ribbon combining the Regimental and Naval colours and the medal bearing on one side the Caribou badge and the other an Anchor, the emblem of the Navy.
This I think would be a fitting commemoration for an event which will be the biggest thing in our generation. I have written the Presidents of the Newfoundland Clubs in Montreal, Boston and New York asking them to organize an “Old Home Week” excursion. As the Field Marshal is not going on to the States or Canada, I am sure that a number of Yanks will avail themselves of this opportunity of making a round trip to Newfoundland.
By all those means I think we can make the occasion of the visit a unique event.
In addition I should also like to invite such outstanding men as Rudyard Kipling (I think ours is the only Dominion that he has not visited), Forbes-Robertson, V.C., etc., etc., who commanded the Battalion, and one or two other outstanding men who would add to the importance of the occasion.
I propose visiting Newfoundland some time this Fall to put in the preliminary concrete work on the Memorial.
The above suggestions have not taken definite shape yet. As I said before, they have been only thought out in the last hour or two. This work together with the Beaumont Hamel Park, the other War Memorials and Graves, the National Pilgrimage to France and the contracting and erecting of the Memorial itself, are keeping me pretty busy but as everything is going well and successfully I am rather enjoying it.
Hoping that you and your Government will give the above suggestions your support.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Source: The Rooms, Provincial
Archives, St. John's, NL
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