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The Good Samaritan Society, a Lutheran Social Service Organization, is a not-for-profit, registered charity with over 65 years of experience providing specialized health and community care services in innovative and caring environments.

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Good Samaritan Remembers: Laird Borst



November 5-11, 2023 is Veteran’s Week in Canada. In order to honour those who have served, Good Samaritan will be sharing our residents’ stories and experiences serving Canada during the wars as members of the Armed Forces and beyond. Read Laird Borst’s story below:

“In April 2017, I had the honor of travelling with the RCMP Regimental Pipes Drums and Dancers of K Division to France to take part in the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge that took place on April 9, 1917, a battle that many Canadian historians claim brought Canada together as a nation.

While I was on that tour, we also traveled to another battle site and cemetery that I was not familiar with but, after hearing the story, struck a chord in my soul.

This was the battle of Beaumont-Hamel in the Somme region of Northern France, a battle that took place on July 1, 1916. The losses sustained by the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on were staggering. Of the 800 Newfoundlanders who went into battle that morning, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day, with more than 700 killed, wounded or missing. When word reached the far shores of Newfoundland that the Regiment was decimated, it was a both a source of great pain and a sign of the resilience of the people of Newfoundland.  Many of the young men who had not previously enlisted joined up and reestablished the Newfoundland Regiment who travelled to France to engage in many more battles of World War 1.

While I was touring the cemetery I was reading the names on the many headstones as well as the many names on the memorial wall erected in honor of those men whose bodies were never recovered or identified.  While searching I came across the last name of at least 6 people who shared the same last name as my brother-in-law who also hails from Newfoundland. I took pictures of the names and the headstones and sent them to him and he was able to confirm that they were indeed relatives of his. Although he never met them in person, seeing their names on the wall and headstones connected them in an emotional way that he was not expecting.

This past September my wife and I travelled to Newfoundland and heard again the story of this Battle from the perspective of those who were left behind.

July 1 each year is a bitter sweet day for Newfoundland and Labrador as in the morning they hold Remembrance Day observations to remember and honor the generation lost at the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, but once these services are done, they change their clothes and gather around the barbecues to celebrate Canada’s birthday, a country so many of this generation is proud to call home.”


Laird Borst is a chaplain at Good Samaritan Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre.

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