That Day At Beaumont Hamel: A Letter To Mother From The Trenches

A correspondence between mother and son at wartime. A message from a son who may never return. The 1916 Battle of the Somme and Beaumont Hamel in particular still resonates in the hearts and minds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to this day. The horrors and sadness of that fateful battle on the fields of France live on in letters as well, like that of Private Ernest Chafe who grew up on Casey Street in St. John’s. Private Chafe sent a heartfelt, foreboding letter to his mother shortly before going over the top at Beaumont Hamel with so many other brave souls.

Private Ernest Chafe did not survive the Battle of the Somme, but his poignant letter lives on, preserved for all to see at the Rooms Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery in St. John’s. The letter is also inspiration for the latest in our Letters To Mother video series. In this video you’ll hear Chafe’s final words to his mother waiting at home, combined with a haunting rendition of Valley of Kilbride, performed by Terra Bruce Resident Artist Vicki Harnett.

That Day at Beaumont Hamel: A Letter To Mother from The Trenches is the story of one family, and of all families affected by war. It is a testament to the bond between mother and son, and the heroism of those who fought, and those who never returned. We dedicate this video to all who fought and served with honour, and the families who suffered immeasurable loss.

“I remain your ever-loving son, Ern.”
Private Ernest Chafe

Listen as the heartfelt notes pay tribute to a day that still haunts our collective memory. That Day at Beaumont Hamel: A Letter To Mother From The Trenches is the latest in our Letters to Mother music video series, and we hope you enjoy it.


Directed by: Mark Whelan, Pat Dempsey

Directors of Photography: Naomi Russell, Pat Dempsey

The Valley of Kilbride Performed By: Vicki Harnett

Music Arranged & Producted By: Paul Kinsman

Presented & Narrated By: Mark Whelan


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