Government of Canada announces $3.5 million to honour the legacy of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served in uniform

News release

10 May 2024 – Ottawa, ON – Veterans Affairs Canada

Memorials in Canada and around the world are silent but powerful reminders of the eternal debt of gratitude we owe to the selfless dedication of our service members. More than 12,000 people from Newfoundland and Labrador served in various military branches and services during the First World War. Approximately 1,700 of them died, and more than 800 have no known grave.

To recognize and honour the service and sacrifice of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the Government of Canada is investing over $3.5 million over two years to support the Newfoundland and Labrador National War Memorial Centennial project. This funding will support the renovation of the National War Memorial in St. John’s, the creation of the tomb of an unknown Newfoundland First World War soldier, as well as the repatriation ceremonies.

In recognition of this important initiative, Veterans Affairs Canada is supporting a delegation to France. There, they will honour and recognize the Newfoundland soldiers who fought and died in service of world peace.

As part of this initiative, the Government of Canada will repatriate the remains of an unknown Newfoundland First World War soldier from northern France. On 25 May 2024, the Government of France will formally transfer the unknown soldier to the Government of Canada in a public ceremony at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in northern France.  

Veterans Affairs Canada, along with other partners, encourages Canadians to learn about the people of Newfoundland and Labrador’s military service, contributions and sacrifices from the years before Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949, until today.

Join us in #CanadaRemembers activities in Canada and in France. Share your connection to Newfoundland during the First World War and learn more about Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique military history.


“The Government of Canada recognizes the tremendous contributions and sacrifices of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and all Canadians to the freedom of Europe. We are proud to support this significant memorial initiative to help preserve the legacy of the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served in the war years, especially those who have no known final resting place. Together, we will always remember their sacrifices and achievements.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“The Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought tooth and nail for the future and the honour of their country. One of those Newfoundlanders is now coming home."

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Seniors and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South–Mount Pearl

“The centennial of the National War Memorial in St. John’s is a significant point of pride for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The refurbishment of the National War Memorial, including the reinterment of an unknown Newfoundland First World War soldier, is a moving and poignant way to commemorate this milestone. This would not be possible without the support of our partners Minister Petitpas Taylor and Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Legion – Newfoundland and Labrador Command.”

The Honourable Steve Crocker, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation

“The Royal Canadian Legion Newfoundland and Labrador Command is extremely proud of its role, over the past five years, in this historic Centennial Remembrance Project and in the completion of Lt. Col. Thomas Nangle’s dream. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t publicly acknowledge the unwavering crucial support of Premier Dr. Andrew Furey and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I also want to sincerely thank the Government of Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the very hard-working Centennial Project Steering Committee. I assure our proud Veterans, their families and loved ones, and the serving men and women of our renowned Canadian Armed Forces that, “At the going down of the sun and in the morning – We Will Remember Them!”

Gerald Budden, President, Royal Canadian Legion – NL Command

Quick facts

  • During the First World War, Newfoundland was a separate dominion of the British Empire and not yet part of Canada. Like Canada, once Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Newfoundland was automatically at war.

  • The tomb of an unknown Newfoundland soldier will symbolize Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from all branches of service who have no known grave.

Associated links


Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Mikaela Harrison
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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