Living History...

Organization & Programming Offerings 

 

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment (i.e. battalion) formed 1 of 4 battalions in the 88th brigade of the British 29th Division. In September 1918, it became 1 of 3 battalions in the 28th Brigade of the 9th Scottish Division. A battalion was divided into four companies that was further divided into four platoons. The platoon was the basic tactical unit of the army and within it were four specialized units known as sections. Each section was differentiated by the weapon systems for which they were trained. Here is an example of four sections that would make up a platoon in the latter half of the war:

  • No. 1 - Rifle Section: Equipped with standard issue rifles.
  • No. 2 - Bombing Section: Equipped with Bombs* (i.e. hand grenades) in addition to rifles.
  • No. 3 - Rifle Bombing Section: Rifles equipped with dischargers (.i.e. grenade launchers).
  • No. 4 - Lewis Machine Gun Section: Equipped with one or more Lewis Guns in addition to rifles.

* During this period hand grenades were referred to as Mills Bombs or simply bombs. In the context of the infantry a bombing section refers to soldiers that received specialized training and were organized into units that utilized hand grenades in tactical roles.

 

The Bombing Section was not the only group that had hand grenades. All soldiers at one time or another carried them but the Bombing Section carried many more and used them more effectively than those with only basic training. Our group has an example of the No. 5 and its replacement the No. 36 that were the standard British grenades of the war.

 

We have the means to represent Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers using all the weapon systems outlined above (all non-functional for public display). Additionally, we have the ability to represent infantry with using light mortars (i.e. 3” Stokes mortar). Our interpreters are badged as bombers.

 

Here are a few programming offerings.

 

 

Hand Grenade Training Game/Activity

 

Since we are uniformed as Bombers (soldiers trained in the effective use of hand grenades) we have developed a game to simulate grenade training in an outdoor setting. We can demonstrate the proper throwing technique employed during the period using plastic dummy grenades filled with sand. People are welcome to try their hand at lobbing a few grenades into a target zone marked out on the ground and this essentially becomes a game very much like horseshoes. It provides a hands-on experience and an appreciation for the difficulty involved.

 

Note: These grenades cannot explode!

 

 

 

Gas Mask Demonstration

 

Our group is outfitted with small box respirators (gas masks) and can conduct gas mask drills. We use a smoke generating canister to produce coloured smoke simulating gas but only outside. In an indoor setting, we can demonstrate this as well but without the smoke. We also have examples of several types of gas masks and discuss its evolution during the conflict.

 

 

Rifle Drills & Training Maneuvers

 

We can conduct various rifle exercises (drills) with non-firing dummies. Additionally, we can conduct simulated maneuvers using dummy rifles and a dummy Lewis Gun (WWI light machine gun). Such activity can also be combined with other options such as gas drills, mortar demonstration (see below) or even mock grenade training. This especially makes for a fine spectacle at a festival or outdoor event.

 

Note: Functioning firearms are only used at a shooting club where it is permissible to use real rifles with blanks and, on occasion, live ammunition. Such undertakings usually revolve around a replica trench located at the Discovery Shooting Club in Elliston. Working rifles are not used at public events outside of a certified range except when we work with agencies licensed to do so. For example, demonstrations on Signal Hill (St. John’s) in cooperation with Parks Canada.

 

 

 

 

Special Offering - Mortar Firing Demonstration (Outside Only)

 

We have a nearly full size replica of a 3” Stokes Mortar that was used to provide indirect high angle fire on enemy positions. Our version has the capability to simulate a “firing sequence” using a special blank adaptor. This adaptor cannot accept any type of live ammunition and instead contains a shock sensitive cap that emits a “bang” sound once dropped into our replica striking bottom. It is very much like a real mortar would have fired except our version simply makes noise being essentially a large cap gun that doesn’t launch a projectile.

 

Alternately, we can set up the mortar as a static display without the sound effects for any setting where “firing” would be inappropriate or disruptive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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