04 October 2005

Today in Newfoundland and Labrador History

Trenches at Suvla Bay, 1915 (Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador) PANL VA-37-3. Likely from the collection of Major R. Tait.

The Blue Puttees set sail for England aboard the S.S. Florizel on October 4, 1914.

This first contingent of Newfoundland volunteers in the Great War formed the nucleus of what became the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

By June 1915 they were considered sufficiently trained and were at full strength, with a depot battalion in Scotland.

Selected for service at Gallipoli, the active service battalion joined the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division, the last regular army division to be formed by the British Army out of units that had been garrisoning the empire. They landed at Gallipoli in September 1915 and were the covering force for the Allied withdrawals in January 1916.

Trenching at Gallipoli is the only contemporary account of the Newfoundlanders overseas. John Gallishaw was teaching at Harvard University when he volunteered in 1915. Wounded at Gallipoli he was honourably released and returned to the United States. He wrote Trenching at Gallipoli while convalescing. Gallishaw authored a small pamphlet in 1917 aimed at American volunteers joining the American Expeditionary Force bound for Europe. He also authored other works on writing. Gallishaw may be considered to have influenced the filmmaker George Lucas.