On The Trail of the Caribou in St. John’s Newfoundland

Lance Corp. Arthur Francis Jesseau of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment

One year ago I set foot in St. John’s for my first visit to Newfoundland. My great-great-great grandparents sailed from Ireland in the 1830’s and raised a family in St. John’s before moving to Bytown (Ottawa) in the early 1850’s. More recently my grandfather served with the Royal Canadian Navy in St. John’s during the Second World War and took photos of U-190, a captured German U-Boat tied up in St John’s harbour in June 1945.

One of the many highlights of my visit was touring the new Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery which officially opened in The Rooms on July 1st, 2016. I shared my thoughts and photos of this wonderful new exhibit, entitled “Beaumont-Hamel and The Trail of the Caribou” in an article I wrote for Forces War Records Magazine earlier this year. You’ll find my article online beginning on page 8 of the Spring 2017 issue of Forces War Records Magazine. If you’re researching a soldier who served for Newfoundland during the First World War you’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for future Doing Our Bit articles.

In addition to the museum and art galleries The Rooms is home to the provincial Archives. After my tour of the Beaumont-Hamel and The Trail of the Caribou exhibit I spent a couple of hours with the helpful archives staff looking for traces of my Irish MacCarthy family’s presence in the 1830’s and 40’s. I wasn’t successful on this visit but I now have a wonderful excuse to make my way back to Newfoundland in the not too distant future. If you’ve never set foot on The Rock I strongly suggest you make every effort to do so.

A wall of Forget-Me-Nots, Newfoundland’s symbol of Remembrance

11 replies

  1. The Picture of The Young Soldier from Newfoundland is My Grandfather Lance Corp. Arthur Francis Jesseau. Reg#249 of The Blue Puttees Royal Newfoundland Regiment

    • Hi Joseph,

      Thanks so much for letting me know that the soldier pictured in my article is your grandfather. I’ve updated the caption accordingly!

      All the best,

    • He was my Great Uncle, his nephew is Donald (Mickey) Moore, my Dad from Corner Brook. Hope this text finds you and your family in good health.

      • Hello Kevin,

        Thanks for posting your connection to Arthur Francis Jesseau, it’s wonderful to see. All the best to you and your family this holiday season. Thanks again, Steve.

  2. Thanks Steve. That actually is the Picture of him shortly after his enlistment age 19. ( lied about his age) I believe he was actually 17 1914 In that picture. There`s another picture that I have of him, that is also in The Rooms at the end of his service sitting with The 5 Chevrons indicating the number of years he served. He served with The Blue Puttees as a Sniper and was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haigs dispatches as a courageous and Patient sniper that waited in the mud at Beaumont Hamel for hours before quickly killing his target.

    • I must have seen the photo when I visited but I can’t recall it at the moment. I will definitely be back in St. John’s and so I will check it out on my next visit.

      I’ve had a look at his service file and it is fascinating! I noticed the citation for his MiD and the large number of POW-related documents. Did your grandfather every speak to you about the war?

    • My great, great Aunt (Elsie Holloway) took that photograph and retouched it. Lance Corp. Arthur Francis Jesseau was one of the last people to see my great, great grandfather Robert Palfrey Holloway alive before he was killed in action in WW1. Apparently Elsie spent extra time retouching the photograph out of respect for him. My family and I are doing lots of research for our family tree and if you have any stories about Robert Palfrey Holloway I would love to be in touch.

      • Hi Susan, I’m fascinated by your family’s photography history, including tracking Robert Sr, then his children Robert Jr and Elsie. Would love to talk to a family member about the Holloways so I’m glad you posted here. Please get in touch. I am currently in St. John’s and pass by the old studio location at Bates Hill and Henry St almost every day. Elsie’s large format camera is in The Rooms as well. This family needs more attention historically. I would love to talk to you about them. Glenn Warner glenn@mapleleafup.ca

  3. The CBC Jason Turnball Did a Recording of his experiences with voice dubs. I have the recording.on CD how would I copy it and send it too you. its a Studio Recording. Yes he spoke briefly of some of some of his experiences but only when he was very drunk. He lived to be 87 years old and was buried in The Holy Cross Cemetary in Thornhill Ontario. There is no marking on his grave stone ( that we paid for ) that says he was a Blue Puttee. His Treatment as a POW was very severe as He was Tortured ( Germans put long Needles in his ears because he refused to obey their commands which made him completely deaf. he was put into a POW Work Detail that constantly moved around. During meals The enemy would throw the Food into the battle field under The shell fire and if you wanted to eat, thats were your food was.

  4. Grandpa Died at age 87 from cancer that riddled his body from the gas from the War. He was shot in the back 3 times. the bullets were never removed. I remember when I was a boy visiting him at his house in Midland Ontario, Him waking up in the morning and on the sheets remnants of lead that seemed to seep though his skin during the night. The Germans didnt remove the bullets. They seared the wound closed with a hot iron according to my Grandfather.

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