In search of their sons: Here are real letters written by Newfoundland families at height of WW I

More than 700 young men from Newfoundland and Labrador died at the battle of Beaumont Hamel 99 years ago. (CBC - image credit)
More than 700 young men from Newfoundland and Labrador died at the battle of Beaumont Hamel 99 years ago. (CBC - image credit)
More than 700 young men from Newfoundland and Labrador died at the battle of Beaumont Hamel 99 years ago.
More than 700 young men from Newfoundland and Labrador died at the battle of Beaumont Hamel 99 years ago.

The Newfoundland Regiment suffered its highest casualties in France. Of the 780 who made the advance toward German lines on July 1, 1916 at Beaumont-Hamel, just 68 were able to answer the roll call the following day. (CBC)

Gallipoli, Beaumont-Hamel, Flanders, Monchy-le-Preux — these are among the places from the First World War where many fighting with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment would see their final days.

Most famously was the regiment's time spent in France during the opening of the brutal Battle of the Somme but the men of 1st Battalion had previously spent three months in Turkey, becoming battle-hardened from intense cold and trench warfare before transferring to the western front in March 1916.

The regiment suffered its highest casualties in France. Of the 780 who made the advance toward German lines on July 1, 1916 at Beaumont-Hamel, just 68 were able to answer the roll call the following day.

In April 1917, another 485 men were lost during the Battle of Arras in the French village Monchy-le-Preux.

The chaos of war deeply affected the families back home.

WATCH | Hear these heartfelt and pleading wartime letters:

Many desperately sent letters, hoping to get word from their sons — and the government — of their whereabouts, whether they were missing, killed in action and if they were buried.

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador asked actors Darrel Brenton and Janet O'Reilly to bring these real wartime letters, which are stored at the archives in The Rooms in St. John's, back to life.

On Memorial Day, an unknown solider of the Newfoundland Regiment will be placed inside his newly built tomb at the National War Memorial in downtown St. John's.

CBC will carry live televised and online coverage from the National War Memorial on Monday, from 9 a.m. NT.

Click on the video above to hear the real words written by mothers and fathers of Newfoundland Regiment soldiers.

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