The myth of dying a glorious death at war
STORY BY STEPHEN J. THORNE
The letter out of 44 Casualty Clearing Station, British Expeditionary Force, France, is neatly written in vivid blue ink on a creased and wrinkled page of notebook paper, its edges stained deep red in an oddly patriotic, if not disturbing, rendering of time or maybe circumstance.
Written by the chaplain to the forces, Leonard T. Pearson, it’s dated July 10, 1917.
There’s no destination address recorded on the page, but the recipient was William John Paul of Burin, Nfld., a merchant and father of Private Reginald Paul.
Twenty-one-year-old Reginald had been a member of the storied Newfoundland Regiment. He was killed on the first day of battle at the Somme—July 1, 1916. A day venerated by Newfoundlanders.