Ron Blake, 166th Artillery

Ron Blake enlisted while at school in November 1941. He trained in England before being commissioned to service in April 1943. His twin brother, Peter Blake, joined the Black Watch and was also commissioned in 1943.

Ron served with the 79th Field Regiment  (part of the 52nd Lowland (Mountain) Division) – Scottish Regiment. On January 10th, 1944, Blake was transferred to the 166th Artillery Regiment. It was the 166th that he spent most of his time during the war. Eventually, Blake was placed in the troop commanded by a 24-year-old Cam Eaton. 

Learn more about Ron Blake’s experience during the war from his diary. A copy is held here at the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum.

Francis “Mayo” Lind’s Lectern

A postcard from Frank Lind to Nellie Laymore. Lind is identified as second from the left

Francis T. Lind was a soldier during the First World War. Originally from Little Bay, Newfoundland, he is most remembered under the nickname “Mayo”. Lind wrote letters to the Daily Mail and were published for everyone back at home to read, to get an insight into life on the front lines. He was one of the many that never made it back home after July 1st, 1916. 

Requested by his mother, this lectern was built as a memorial to Francis “Mayo” Lind. Funded by the proceeds of local sales of the bound book of Lind’s letters, “The Letters of Mayo Lind”.

Manufactured by J. Wippell and Co., Ltd. of London and Exeter. When brought to Newfoundland, it was displayed in the windows of Ayre & Sons, Ltd (a dry goods department) while waiting for the brass plate to be attached. Upon receiving the plate, it was moved to Little Bay and donated to the Church of England at St. Luke’s. Little Bay was the hometown community of Francis T. “Mayo” Lind. 

The Plaque reads:

“To the Glory of God and in memory of Private Francis T. Lind/Born at Betts Cove. March 9th, 1879, who, with many of his gallant comrades, fell gloriously in action at Beaumont Hamel in France, on July 1st, 1916. Their name liveth forevermore.”

The lectern was unveiled at a memorial service for Lind at St. Luke’s in Little Bay, July 3rd 1921. It was a well attended service, officiated by Reverend Bull. The lectern was placed in the School Chapel.

It was moved to St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Springdale when St. Luke’s in Little Bay closed. It was in service there until it, too, closed in 2021. 

Donators: John and Netta Edgar

It remained in the custody of a parishioner of the church until this year where it was graciously donated by John Edgar on the parishioner’s behalf. 

We are glad to be able to accept this memorial piece in honor of Francis T. “Mayo” Lind. The lectern is now on display at the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum for visitors to see. 

Isabel May Simms

Isabel May Simms served during the First World War. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force as the rank of nursing sister. During her service, Simms served in Canada, England and France with the C.A.M.C Depot. 

She was discharged in 1919 due to “general demobilization” .

Come visit The Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see Isabel May Simms’ collection and the items of other nurses who served in the First World War on display.

The First World War Wheelchair

Wheelchairs have evolved and developed since their iterations as early as 1300 BC, with the first American patent issued in 1869. Over their lifetime, wheelchairs became lighter and more manoeuvrable. Wheelchairs used in the First World War utilized the changes brought about by the aftermath of the American Civil War. This included: bicycle wheels (wire-spoked) and the wicker back, legs, and seat. Both alterations to the wheelchair enabled it to become lighter, more portable, easier to handle, and more versatile. 

Visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see the First World War Wheelchair that belonged to Lt Col Walter Rendell on display.


Lance Corporal William Noseworthy

Pte. William Noseworthy enlisted on September 3rd, 1914. From there he trained in England and eventually his Company was joined with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Alongside his comrades, Pte. Noseworthy fought at Gallipoli in August 1915. He was later evacuated due to jaundice.

In March, 1916, Noseworthy rejoined the fight alongside the British Expeditionary Force in France. Due to several medical instances, Pte. Noseworthy was out of action until he returned to the British Expeditionary Force in March 1917. Shortly after, he was promoted to Lance Corporal (September 17th 1917).*

LCpl William Noseworthy was killed in action at Brombeek on October 9th 1917.* Brombeek was one of several offensives during the active conflict in France during World War I (following the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel). 

Visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see Noseworthy’s memorial plaque on display. See the Rooms for their digital collection on LCpl William Noseworthy:

*Cramm’s Five Hundred

Gifts from Ayr, Scotland

Located in south-west Scotland, Ayr served as the Depot for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment for most of the First World War. The connection between the Newfoundlanders stationed there and the town of Ayr was strong. This bond can be seen, not only in the stories and memories created, but in the two gifts presented to Newfoundlanders from the town of Ayr. 

The base of this cigar box is made of oak taken from the “Auld Brig O’Ayr” or the “Old Bridge of Ayr”. This makes the base over 800 years old. This special box was a gift to the Officers of the First Newfoundland Regiment by the Town of Ayr, Scotland on January 13 1916. 

This pair of spoons are carved from deer antler and are engraved with “a present from Ayr” . They belonged to Janet Miller (later Murray) who served with the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in England during the First World War. She was engaged, and later married, to Captain Eric S. Ayre. 

Visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see these items, and more gifts to the Regiment, on display.

Gunner (Reverend) Wesley Oake

Gunner (and later Reverend) Wesley Oake was born and grew up in Beaumont, Notre Dame Bay. He joined the Regiment in 1941: spending a year in the militia and then joining the 166th Newfoundland Field Regiment. Gunner Oake saw active duty in England and Italy (Naples and Casino). 

After the Second World War Gunner Oake followed a spiritual call and became a minister for the United Church of Canada.

Pictured above is the sermon (2019-086P) Reverend Oake gave at the 61st Reunion Service for the 166th Field Regiment on September 8th, 2002. 

Coming soon to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum Website and YouTube is a video of the full interview with Reverend Wesley Oake. Below is a clip from the interview.

166th NFLD Field Regiment, R.A. Flag


The main flag of the 166th Newfoundland Field Regiment, R.A. The crest is that of the Royal Artillery. 

The two mottos on the flag are: 

Ubique = “Everywhere”

Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt = “Where Right and Glory Lead”. 

The flag pictured above is the second flag of the 166th. The flag in the museum’s collection was blessed by the Roman Catholic Basilica in St. John’s on the 50th Anniversary of the First 400 going overseas. It was used in the Parade, carried by Leo Knox.

Come visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see this flag and others on display.

Lt. Col. Arthur Burgess


Arthur Burgess was born on June 12th, 1895 and raised in Baine Harbour, Newfoundland. He was the fourth son of James Edward and Lydia Burgess. The family owned a business called Baine Harbour Packing Company. 

In 1916, at the age of 21 and caught up in the fervour of the First World War commencing two years earlier, Arthur decided to join the Newfoundland Regiment. Arthur was in the field on several fronts in 1917, including Arras. Over the course of his service during the war, he rose through the ranks from Lance Corporal to Second Lieutenant. Upon the end of the First World War, Burgess was in Officer Training School. 

By the time he returned home at the end of the First World War, most of his family was dead except his sister, Laura. He eventually married Gertrude DeWolfe, despite the friction caused by their different faiths (he was of the Church of England, Gertrude’s family were strict Catholics). 

Arthur served in the “Vet’s Guard” during the Second World War. He had various detachments to look after prisoners of war sent back to Canada for internment. At these camps, Arthur was Officer Commanding. He was eventually sent on special assignment which saw him loaned to 21 Army Group (a British element under the command of General Montgomery). 

He was placed in charge of the coal mines in Belgium upon its liberation. Arthur worked to defend these places from German counterattack. He was involved in the liberation of Holland. His work in Belgium saw him taken from 21 Army Group in 1945 and placed with the American 9th Army. Arthur’s job was to take over all German coal mines and associated industries once captured and get the mines producing as soon as possible. 

During this time, Arthur arrested Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (often referred to as Alfried Krupp) who was later charged with war crimes for using slave labor from concentration camps at his family’s steelwork company, Fried. Krupp. Started by Friedrich Krupp, it expanded to “become one of the most important industrial enterprises of the nineteenth century”*. During the Second World War, it was a key weapons and material supplier to the German Government. Arthur Burgess also set up his headquarters in the Krupp mansion in Essen, Villa Hugel, and took control of the Krupp factories. The mansion was originally built by Alfried’s predecessor, Alfred Krupp, between 1870-1873. 

Arthur Burgess was discharged from the Canadian Military in May 1946 when he accepted a contract with the Coal Commission for Germany as Chief Controller of Production. He retired from the army as a Colonel. 

During his service, Arthur received the following medals and decorations:

  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • 1939-1945 Star
  • France & Germany Star
  • Defence medal
  • Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp
  • General Service Medal
  • Order of the Crown of Belgium

Come visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see Burgess’ Funeral Pall and Dog Tags. 

*Villa Huegel

Ceremonial Swords


Ceremonial swords symbolize authority and power. They are worn with dress uniforms at special events or ceremonies; a military wedding is one such example. 

Over time, there has been a change in what these swords are crafted with. Today, ceremonial swords are made using precious metals which makes them significantly less effective in actual combat (not much of an issue since they are only used for ceremony and symbol). Previously, there was no distinction between ceremonial and practical. A soldier typically had one sword which he used in both combat and ceremony. Thus, earlier swords tended to be made of steel or other sturdier metals. 

The one pictured above was donated to the museum by the family of Col. Sir Leonard Outerbridge (first Honorary Colonel of the newly established Regiment, 1949). It is a steel ceremonial sword with a leather bound steel scabbard. This sword was manufactured by Mander & Allenders in Liverpool, England.  

Come visit the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum to see Sir Leonard Outerbridge’s ceremonial sword, and others like it, on display.