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The Blue Puttees

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Mrt 2008 8:15    Onderwerp: The Blue Puttees Reageer met quote

The Newfoundland Regiment

Events moved rapidly following the British declaration of war on August 4, 1914. The formation of the Newfoundland Patriotic Association (NPA) on August 12, provided the structure for organizing the war effort and for raising the necessary forces for service overseas. Initially, the Association proposed to raise 500 men for a military contingent and to increase the size of the Naval Reserve to 1000.

The response to the proclamation of August 22 calling for volunteers was overwhelming. Within days, 335 had signed up, two thirds coming from the city cadet brigades. By the end of the first week, it appeared as if the entire 500 might be made up from St. John’s. When enlistment tapered off by September 26, nearly 1000 volunteers had signed up.

Half passed the required medical exams and moved to tent lines established at nearby Pleasantville. These were the First Five Hundred, a rag tag little army of enthusiastic volunteers, officered by the sons of the city’s elite, and attired in a variety of military costumes, including blue puttees obtained from a local supplier—hence their popular designation “The Blue Puttees.” The terms of enlistment were “for the duration of the war, but not exceeding one year.” By war’s end, over four years later, a total of 6,241 Newfoundland men had served in the regiment, 4,668 as volunteers. (Another 5,747 enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve, the Forestry Corps, the Canadian Expeditionary Force and British Forces.)

Recruitment for the regiment was not a major problem for the first two years. However, the near annihilation of the regiment at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916, and costly major engagements in October at Gueudecourt and at Monchy-le-Preux the following April, increased pressure on the colony to find additional men. A draft of 500 arrived in late June and early July 1917 but the Battle of Cambrai that November and December reduced the regiment to 250 all ranks.

While its actions at Ypres and Cambrai resulted in the regiment receiving the designation “Royal,” recruitment now became a serious problem. In August 1917, the new National Government created a Department of Militia. Over the course of the summer the number of men offering to serve had dropped dramatically. Inducements such as allowances to married men and others with dependants, and a highly publicized recruiting drive that fall, met with limited success.

Calls for conscription came from several quarters. The government eventually realized that some form of compulsory service was necessary, but delayed until April 1918 when it became obvious that the regiment was badly under strength and that drastic measures were necessary.

The Military Service Act was proclaimed on May 11, 1918, and, like similar legislation in Britain and Canada, allowed the government to conscript men for service. In the end, these conscripts were not sent to the Western Front. The regiment had been withdrawn from service briefly in May, but the last batch of volunteers allowed it to serve with distinction as part of the British 9th Division at the Fourth Battle of Ypres. As a consequence, the regiment was able to claim that it had served throughout the war as a truly volunteer force.

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/greatwar/articles/regiment.html
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Mrt 2008 8:16    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

THE BLUE PUTTEES

The fighting at Beaumont-Hamel
Came to a standstill,
The Blue Puttees were in their trenches
A place that they called "HELL!"

Down their in the muddy trenches
With rats they shared their home,
They were trapped in their shell-hole
The enemy had to be overthrown.

Advancement had been slow
Thet only gained a few miles a day,
How long it will take to win this war
No man can say.

As part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th British Division
The first Newfoundland Regiment were assigned,
A role with the second attacking wave
To take the third enemy line.

It was Saturday, July the first, 1916.
It would be a tragic day,
It was the beginning of the Battle of the Somme
And hundreds of Newfounfdlanders with their lives would pay.

Beginning soon after midnight
Out of the trenches the Regiment climbed,
But the Germans, they were waiting
They were alerted by an exploding mine.

The forward trenches were blocked with bodies
The advance of the Essex Regiment was delayed,
The Newfoundlanders were forced to cross
The exposed front where barbed wire had been laid.

30 kilograms of equipment
They carried upon their backs,
They marched slowly, wave upon wave
With bayonets held high, they attacked.

Just up ahead the Germans were waiting
With their trigger-happy guns,
For the Blue Puttees to charge them
So they could kill our Newfoundland sons.

Few made it to the beginning
Of the Allied barbed wire,
Just 230 meters from the starting point
The Germans opened fired.

The Blue Puttees had to follow the lanes
Between precut, highted openings in the wire,
That were well covered by the enemy
With machine gun fire.

The equipment, it was heavy
The mud, it was deep;
The Germans with their deadly fire
Slaughtered the Blue Puttees like sheep.

The unwounded survivors crawled back to their trenches
While the stretcher bearers searched the bloody ground,
For the soldiers that were wounded
But mostly bodies of the dead could be found!

A wounded Newfoundlander crawled through the mud
With his hand, he held his stomach in,
His hand was full of guts and blood
But to death, he would not give in!

After the slaughter was over
68 Newfoundlanders answered the roll call,
From the Regiment of 800
732 fighting Newfoundlanders did fall!

Back home in Newfoundland
The tragic news was received,
About the bloodly slaughter
Of the Blue Puttees!

The people were in shock
And total disbelief,
How could such a thing happen?
Their hearts were filled with grief.

When the soldiers returned home
And touched the Newfoundland ground,
From all the people gathered there
No dry eyes could be found!

By: Yvonne Legge
http://www.angelfire.com/nf/yvonne/Blue.html
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Mrt 2008 8:18    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Blue Puttees-Youtube:
http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=NuPx3G5v0hU
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geluveld



Geregistreerd op: 14-11-2005
Berichten: 781
Woonplaats: Zonnebeke

BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Mrt 2008 8:19    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

en voor de mensen die een paar originele van die blue puttees willen zien,
en die eens passeren bij mij thuis, help mij onthouden dat ik ze eens toon

heb die ooit gekregen van iemand die familie had in het Newfoundland Regiment, en die aan zijn over-overgrootvader toebehoorden Smile
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