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The Homecoming

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Municipality/Province: St. John's, NL

Memorial Number: 10006-026

Type: Statues

Address: Military Road

Location: Bannerman Park

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 47.5700898   Long: -52.7075237

Submitted By: Victoria Edwards. City of St. John's. Morgan MacDonald.

The Homecoming features a bronze statue of a Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldier in uniform holding his cap with the caribou head badge in his hand near his hip. He is missing a piece of his ear — a reminder of the war and the bullet that nicked him as it whizzed past his head. He holds the hand of a smiling young girl, his daughter.

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War in 2018, the City accepted a proposal from local philanthropist Marty Gregory to erect a monument by Sculptor Morgan MacDonald in Bannerman Park. The statues were unveiled on June 30, 2018, by benefactor Marty Gregory and Mayor Danny Breen along with plenty of children — great-grandchildren of Sergeant Charlie Parsons, one of the heroic Monchy 10 soldiers, and six students from Beatrix Potter School in London who tend the graves of Newfoundlanders buried at Wandsworth Cemetery. The students were visiting the province for the first time since learning about the First World War through their work tending the graves of 18 Newfoundlanders who died during the conflict.

For a ceremony in St. John’s, there were quite a number of attendees from Spaniard’s Bay. The soldier depicted in the monument was somewhat based on Spaniard’s Bay Mayor Paul Brazil's grandfather, Lance Corporal Matthew Brazil, and many of his descendants now live in Spaniard’s Bay. Brazil was a Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldier during the First World War. Paul and benefactor Marty Gregory are first cousins. Paul said his grandfather had several injuries during the war — one of them was the bullet wound to his ear that’s depicted in the sculpture. Brazil survived Beaumont-Hamel and Gallipoli, survived what one telegraph described as "gunshot wounds face and leg, severe", and survived being gassed twice. He eventually had at least 50 grandchildren.

It took sculptor Morgan MacDonald one year to complete The Homecoming. He is known for his bronze works and sculptural interpretations of Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and culture. Originally from Corner Brook, he was introduced to the bronze foundry process as a student at Memorial’s Grenfell Campus. Morgan has completed many military pieces across the province: One Hundred Portraits of the Great War and Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavilion, St John's; Danger Tree and Private Hugh McWhirter Statue, Corner Brook; Monument of Honour, Conception Bay South; Cox's Cove War Memorial; and Sergeant Gander and his Handler Memorial; Gander.

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