The below forms part of the recruiting campaign that took place to try and get young men who had not yet enlisted to do so. Note the wording that was used in the text to try and make those who had not yet signed up feel guilty for not doing so. The last part of the recruitment literature notes that unless men started to sign up the government may have to look at "other means" of acquiring men to keep the Regiment at full strength. The "other means" being conscription. At a special session of the Legislature the Military Service Act was proclaimed on May 11, 1918. The Act was only used once to call up a group of 3,629 men on whom 1,573 were found medically fit however none of them saw active service as by the time they crossed the Atlantic and underwent further training in Britain the Armistice had been signed.

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only Regiment, Allied or Enemy, to have its full complement of soldiers volunteer themselves for service.




 To the People of Newfoundland

 Since the outbreak of the Great European War, this Colony, in common with all other parts of the British Empire, has sent forth her bravest and best sons to uphold the glorious traditions of our flag and Empire.

 Amongst the fighting Forces of Great Britain and her splendid Allies the men of the Newfoundland Regiment  have established a name and record for themselves and their beloved Country, that will live for many years to come, and will rebound to the lasting glory and honour of this most ancient and loyal colony.

 Up to a few months ago a steady number of recruits were available to fill up the gaps, in the ranks, that were continually occurring, owing to our Regiment being called upon to participate in all, or most, of the important battles in France and Flanders, as well as the earlier days in Gallipoli. But, unfortunately, for the past few months there has not been sufficient men offering to replace those who are no longer able to hold their places in the fighting line, who have to retire through wounds or sickness-in addition to those who have laid down their lives in the righteous cause for which we are fighting. Are we, the kinsmen, at home of these glorious soldiers of Newfoundland, to turn  a deaf ear to the call for help that they are continually sending forth? Are we to let go for naught the great and valiant deeds that they have accomplished, by holding back and failing to keep the gaps filled up.

 In as much as the lads who have fought and suffered and died so heroically and nobly for us—our country and our homes, in the past,-- are those who are left behind content to allow their deeds and sacrifices to go for naught, and have the world realize that the young men of Newfoundland who still remain at home, are not made of the same good stock as those who won distinctions in the British line. No I feel that there are hundreds of young men who only want to be awakened to a realization of their responsibilities, when they will come forward and take the places of those who are gone, or incapacitated, and relieve for a time at least, those brave boys (especially those of the first five hundred) who have borne the heat and turmoil of the Battle, and who should be given an opportunity to return to their homes for that well earned rest which they naturally desire and long for.

 We are about to start on an active recruiting campaign, and recruiting parties will be sent to all parts of the Island, so that every man who is eligible for service will be given an opportunity to enlist. Every provision will be made for the comfort and care of those dependents whom they leave behind. In the case of married men, and others leaving dependents separation allowances are provided under Regulations just published. 

 Pensions will be provided for those who are incapacitated through wounds or sickness, as well as the dependents of those who make the supreme sacrifice. Therefore, I confidently appeal to the young men of the Country, who are of Military age, to offer themselves as recruits for a Regiment that every man, be he Newfoundlander or otherwise might well feel proud of. Do your duty now; play the man’s part, and never let it be thrown in your face or the faces of your children, that you failed in your duty to your Country in her hour of greatest trial. I appeal to the mothers, to the fathers, and to the sisters, to help the boys to realize their duty, and spur them on, to quit themselves like men, so that they may participate in the great victory that is surely coming, and which cannot be delayed much longer.

 If this appeal, and our present recruiting efforts are not fruitful of the necessary of recruits before the end of the year, we will then have reached the parting of the ways; we must then take one of two courses—either withdraw our Regiment as a separate unit, which would be a most unfortunate and deplorable occurrence, or the Government of the Colony will be reluctantly compelled to consider other means of acquiring men to keep our fighting Forces up to the required strength. Prove, therefore, men of Newfoundland, that this ancient and loyal Colony is able, and is prepared, to keep at least one Battalion in the fighting line, composed entirely of volunteers, to maintain the magnificent record already gained right through to the close of hostilities.

 Men who are not altogether fit for active service will find an opportunity to do “their bit” by applying for admission into the Forestry Companies, which are also badly in need of more men.


J.R. Bennett,
Minister of Militia

Source: MG 439 Box 2, File 9, The Rooms, Provincial Archives, St. John's, NL


Back to Documents



The Regiment   The Battle   Soldier/Family Stories   Commemoration   Additional Information

Education   Acknowledgements   Links   Contact Us   Copyright   Home