The caribou: here, there, everywhere

Royal Newfoundland Regiment hockey team in 1917.
Photo: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division, SANL 1.26.01.074

Being from the “Rock”, as Newfoundland is known, I take a great interest in our province’s military history. My ancestor Gander served in the Second World War and received a Dickin Medal for bravery. I’m pretty proud of him.

To remember the sacrifices made during the First World War, the people of Newfoundland erected caribou statues at Beaumont-Hamel and five other sites in France, Belgium and Newfoundland. It is a special caribou trail of remembrance.

The caribou is an important symbol to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are native animals there and can be found on the cap badge of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment as they symbolize the strength of its soldiers.

During the First World War, you could also find the caribou emblem on hockey sweaters and special pins that were sold at home to raise money to help the soldiers overseas. Caribous could also be seen engraved on the headstones of Newfoundlanders who died and on bronze memorial plaques. This tradition continues today as a recent project saw the Royal Newfoundland Regiment caribou added to more than three dozen street signs in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city.

Animals as symbols of remembrance are a great choice. Bow wow! It makes me want to wag my tail!

Gandy the dog
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