Newfoundland Memorial / Monchy-le-PreuxNewfoundland Memorial representing a caribou in bronze
©Newfoundland Memorial representing a caribou in bronze|Pauline Roches
The caribou of courageMonchy-le-Preux

Newfoundland Memorial, Monchy-le-Preux

In the center of the village of Monchy-le-Preux, near the church, a proud bronze caribou looks out over the horizon. It is one of 5 memorials erected in Europe to honor the Newfoundland soldiers who fought in World War I. The same caribou can thus be found at Masnières in the Nord, Beaumont-Hamel and Gueudecourt in the Somme, and at Courtrai in Belgium.

Around the world

From America to the Middle East to France

In 1914, Newfoundland was a dominion of the British Empire, as was Canada, which it would not join until 1949. When war broke out, young Newfoundlanders joined the Newfoundland Regiment. After training, these soldiers participated in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey in 1915, before being transferred to the European Front where they took part in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

A strategic position

On April 9, 1917, the Battle of Arras was launched by the British Imperial Army. In the plain of the Scarpe and Sensée rivers, the village of Monchy-le-Preux, located on a hill, represented a strategic objective of the first order. On April 11, it was taken by the British 37th Division, in whose honor the memorial now located in rue du Tilleul was erected.

The Infantry Hill

On April 14 at 5:30 a.m., the Newfoundland Regiment and the 1st Essex Battalion launched an assault on a height nicknamed “Infantry Hill,” located east of Monchy, from which the German army was organizing its defense. The British losses were very important. To defend Monchy from the German counter-offensive that followed, Lieutenant-Colonel Forbes-Robertson at the head of the Newfoundlanders could only count on 10 soldiers, including 8 of his own men. They held off 200 to 300 German soldiers for more than 4 hours before reinforcements arrived.

Of the 591 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who took part in this assault, more than 460 casualties were suffered.


The caribou

Symbol of the courage of the soldiers from Newfoundland

Perched on a former German concrete post, the Monchy caribou continues to bellow towards Infantry Hill and honours the memory of the Newfoundland soldiers who, in recognition of their courage, were granted the privilege of adding the word “Royal” to their regimental name by the Sovereign George V.