My great uncle, Nathaniel Croucher, was killed in the battle of Beaumont-Hamel. He enlisted for the Great War when he was just 19 years old on April 27, 1915. His ship, the S.S. “Galgarian”, left St. John's to go overseas on June 19, 1915. It took weeks after the battle of Beaumont-Hamel for the bad news to reach my great grandfather, Elias.
Elias received a telegram dated July 31, 1916 that his son, Nathaniel was missing. It wasn't until late November, 1916 that he received a letter confirming that his son was killed on the first of July (months after his son's death). Private Nathaniel Croucher was supposed to receive 20 cents for every day he served in the war. If he lived, he would have received this pay after the war. Since he died, his father was sent a letter and a cheque for $118.63.
In 1922, after the money was gone, my great grandfather wrote a letter to the Newfoundland government asking for more money. I would imagine that he did this because he was feeling the pressure of poverty. The chief staff officer sent a letter back saying that Elias was actually over-payed for his son's death. The battle of Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916 was such a sad event in our history. We need to remember the ultimate sacrifice these young men paid in pursuit of freedom.
My family continues to remember Private Nathaniel Croucher. Nathaniel's name has been passed down to my father and brother; and my son recently represented Nathaniel in his grade 5 Newfoundland Heritage Fair project.