Enlist Ye Newfoundlanders

Newfoundland Regiment, No. 3 Platoon, A Company, Fort George, Scotland, ca. 1915.

Two recruiting sergeants came to the CLB,
For the sons of the merchants, to join the Blue Puttees.
So all the hands enlisted, five hundred young men:
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me.

They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel,
And on the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell.
And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell:
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me.

So it’s over the mountains, and over the sea,
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees.
You’ll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Gallipoli:
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

The call came from London, for the last July drive:
“To the trenches with the regiment, prepare yourselves to die.”
The roll call next morning, just a handful survived.
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me.


The stone men on Water Street still cry for the day,
When the pride of the city went marching away:
A thousand men slaughtered, to hear the King say:
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me.


Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me.

— Two Recruiting Sergeants, Great Big Sea.

First Five Hundred onboard the S.S. Florizel, at anchor at St. John’s, October 4, 1914.

Being mistaken for Canadians often irritated the Newfoundlanders in England. In a letter home in December 1914, Private Frank ‘Mayo’ Lind commented that the English “did not seem to know that Newfoundland is not Canada, but they thoroughly understand now that Newfoundland is NOT Canada and that we are Newfoundlanders, NOT Canadians” (Lind 23). Lieutenant Owen Steele further remarked that Newfoundlanders were “very particular that [they] not be classed as Canadians…” and that they were “much prouder of [their] distinction as Newfoundlanders” (Steele, “Letter to Parents, December 2, 1914”).

* * *

The regiment was nicknamed the “Blue Puttees” due to a fabric shortage which saw the regiment wearing blue puttees rather than the standard olive drab puttees during the First World War.

Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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