Minister Acknowledges Efforts of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officers in Restoring First World War Monument
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Mr. Speaker, last summer while on patrol along the shores of the Merasheen Islands and the Burin Peninsula, several Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officers came across a dilapidated monument in the resettled community of Little Bona. Upon closer examination, the officers discovered that the monument was in commemoration of Private Michael John White of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
Private White was the son of Joseph and Evangeline White from South East Bight. During the First World War, he enlisted with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in Little Bona and was on the front lines early in the fall of 1918 near a town in Belgium called Ledeghem.
Between September 28 and October 26, when the Regiment was relieved of duty, 93 members were killed, including Private White who died on October 3 when he was just 17 years old. The war ended several weeks later on November 11. After paying the ultimate sacrifice, Private Michael John White was buried in the New British Cemetery in Dadizele, Belgium.
Mr. Speaker, the 1921 census shows that Little Bona had a population of just 25 residents. One can only imagine the devastating impact that Private White's death must have had on the community.
Almost 100 years later, after coming across the monument laid in memory of Private White, Officers Doug Hayes, Joseph Janes and Gary Edwards notified officials with the Canadian Armed Forces who asked the officers to bring the monument to St. John's for repair.
Mr. Speaker those repairs were completed and a few days ago, on June 14, representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division boarded a boat and left North Harbour, Placentia Bay, in possession of the refurbished monument to re-erect it at Little Bona.
On June 15, a wreath-laying and repatriation ceremony was led by Captain Glen Eagleson, the padre for the Canadian Armed Forces base in St. John's. The monument was respectfully placed again in the community along with a flag pole flying the Royal Newfoundland Regiment banner.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the initiative shown by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officers Hayes, Janes and Edwards and their effort to ultimately determine the importance of that weather-worn monument from Little Bona so that it could be properly restored. As well, acknowledgment is due to Officers Travis McDonald and Bradley Sparkes who helped with its reinstallation.
Private Michael John White now has a monument that is a fitting tribute to the important role he played in our history. A role that was so commonly filled by more than 6,000 young men from communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador during the First World War.