The below document was sent to the families of those who had members of their family missing since the July 1st battle and had been told earlier by officials that they may be Prisoners of War. Four months after the battle had started, and after receiving word from the German side regarding who was being held as prisoners, the following letter was sent to those families that lived in hope that their loved ones were actually a Prisoner of War and not dead.


For some time past the Imperial Government have been making enquiries in relation to those men of the First Newfoundland Regiment who have been reported missing since the action of the 1st July. I very much regret to state, however, that from the correspondence which has taken place, a copy which I enclose, it is evident that none of them are Prisoners of War in Germany, and the authorities are, therefore, reluctantly forced to the conclusion that all these gallant men, whose names are given in the enclosed list, and one of whom was very dear to you, were killed in that fateful action on the 1st of July.

I desire to express to you on behalf of the Government, as well as for myself, the sincerest sympathy in this time of sorrow. We feel the loss of our loved ones, but it will, no doubt, be some consolation to you to think that he, for whom you now mourn, willingly answered the call of King and Country, did his part nobly, and feel, facing the foe, in defence of the principles of Righteousness, Truth and Liberty. Though he has laid down the earthly weapons of warfare he now wears the Soldier’s Crown of Victory, and his name will be inscribed upon the Glorious Roll of Honour, and be held in fragrant memory by all his fellow-countrymen. When the victory is won, and Peace again reigns upon the earth, it will be a comforting thought to you that in this glorious achievement he bore no small part.   

I trust that you may have the Grace and consolation of the Great Father of us all at this time.

With sincere sympathy,

Believe me to be,
Your obedient servant,

Colonial Secretary.

Source: The Rooms, Provincial Archives, St. John's, NL


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