Southwest Arm’s contribution to the Great War

Reprinted from The Packet, August 14, 2015
by Lester Green



The ancient proverb that states “time and tide waits for no man” is certainly true when it comes to our collective experience on this earth. It is difficult for us to believe on July 28, 1914 that the western world was drawn into what became known as the First World War or the Great War. Before the First World War ended on November 11, 1918 a global war raged in central Europe and even the colony of Newfoundland would be drawn into the conflict and contribute greatly to Allied forces in Europe. In his book “Bully and Balderdash”, Graham Wilson stated that the death toll of 1,631 out of a total of 8,922 men and women for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Royal Naval Reserve of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland Forestry Corps and nurses equals approximately 18 per cent of that number. This percentage is greater than the often quoted causalities suffered by Australians at 13.5 per cent.

I mention this fact because we are now honouring the sacrifices made by these men and women by celebrating 100 years after this event raged the world. Most of us were not born when this occurred but had family members who served overseas or made contributions towards the war effort here at home in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our site, Southwest Arm Historical Society, has a Military window that contains information on both World Wars and other conflicts that individuals from our region were involved with.

I invite you to go to our site and browse the list of approximately 100 people from the communities of Loreburn, St. Jones Within, Hatchet Cove, Hillview, Ivany’s Cove, North West Brook, Queen’s Cove, Long Beach, Island Cove Hodge’s Cove, Caplin Cove, Little Heart’s Ease, Butter Cove, Gooseberry Cove, Southport and St. Jones Without that answered the call by the Allied Forces. There were 23 people from our region that enlisted in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and 77 individuals who served in the Royal Naval Reserve (Newfoundland). Read about Private Leander Green in the article “So That Others May Live” and how he was the first Newfoundlander to be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; How Private Richard James Spurrell act of bravery caused him to make the ultimate sacrifice; The act of Able Seaman George Walter Critch during the Halifax explosion; Private Andrew Shaw who was listed as Missing in Action and later was reported as a “Prisoner of War” and served three months in a German prison camp while still suffering from his gunshot wounds; etc.. Read and browse the photos of these individuals and ask yourself if you were aware of the contributions made by these young men so early in their lives.

As part of the 100 years celebration honouring these individuals, we are attempting to collect as much information about these people as possible. We know that there are a number of you who have information on these soldiers. You may have a photo, an article, war medals, etc.. that may assist us in honouring these people by helping tell their stories. I encourage you to email us at Also, check out our website at or our facebook page at