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.