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From: Lloyd Rowsell <>
Subject: 1919-1949....NL History timeline by RICHARD DOODY..Part II of Two parts 1936-1949.... web links added by ilghr...NL Militia renamed the NL Regiment
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 14:58:07 -0800 (PST)

A Timeline of Events from the Great War to Confederation 1919 -
by Richard Doody

PART II of Two parts....1936-1949

1936 Construction of Newfoundland Airport at Gander begins

1937 July 5 Pan American Airways Clipper 111 leaves Botwood,
Newfoundland en route from New York to Foynes, Ireland. The
Clipper completes the first west to east transatlantic passenger
flight the next day.

July 6 Imperial Airways flying boat Caledonia arrives in Botwood
en route from Foynes, Ireland to New York and completes the first
east to west passenger flight on July 9th.

1939 Number of persons receiving relief payments averages 58,187
per month. The "dole" provides 6 Cents per person per day.

September 1 Act for the Defence of Newfoundland instituted to
grant The Commission of Government broad powers over economic and
social life as necessary to defend the country.

September 3 Newfoundland enters World War II by virtue of
Britain’s declaration.

Newfoundland Constabulary seizes the Christopher V. Doornum, a
German freighter anchored at Botwood, as a prize of war.

October Newfoundland Militia formed as a home guard.

1940 June 14 Canadian request to station ground troops at
Newfoundland Airport, Gander and the seaplane base at BOTWOOD
granted. Subsequent agreements provide for, recruitment of
Newfoundlanders into the Canadian services, Canadian command of
the Newfoundland Militia and formation of a joint coastal defense

September 2 Britain agrees to grant a 99 year lease permitting
the United States build military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda
and the British West Indies in exchange for 50 destroyers and
other war material.

September The Emergency Powers Act extends the powers granted by
the Defence of Newfoundland Act.

October 9 Death of Sir Wilfred Thomason GRENFELL, K.C.M.G., M.D.
following a four decades of service to the fishing families of
Labrador and Northern Newfoundland as a medical missionary and
humanitarian. He began his mission in 1892 under the auspices of
the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman and continued his
work under those of the International Grenfell Association from
1912 to his retirement in 1935. Doctor Grenfell’s legacy to
Newfoundland and Labrador included; five hospitals, seven nursing
stations, two orphanages, fourteen industrial centers, four summer
schools, three agricultural stations, twelve clothing distribution
centers, four hospital ships, one supply schooner, a dozen
community centers, co-operative stores, a lumber mill and a ship
repair yard.

November 11 Atlantic Ferry Service inaugurated with the departure
of seven HUDSON bombers from Gander to Britain, the first of
12,000 aircraft ferried from America to Britain via Newfoundland
during the war.

1941 January 17 first American troops arrive in Newfoundland
aboard SS Edmund B. Alexander....[[mentioned in phone call on Nov.
1st,2005 with AA]]

February HUDSON bomber en route from Gander to Prestwick,
Scotland dissappears. Among the lost crewmen; Major Sir Frederick
BANTING who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of insulin.

March 27 President ROOSEVELT signs the Lend Lease Act. Britain
gives the United States permission to construct military bases in
Newfoundland, Bermuda and the British West Indies on 99 year
leaseholds in exchange for fifty American destroyers and other
military supplies.
[[Argentia TIMELINE]]

April Construction of RCAF bases at Torbay, Newfoundland and
Goose Bay, Labrador begins.

May U.S. Navy PBY aircraft stationed at the Argentia Naval Base
take part in search for German battleship Bismarck

May 31 Commodore Leonard MURRAY, Royal Canadian Navy, appoint
commander of the Newfoundland Escort Force reporting to Royal Navy
Commander in Chief Western Approaches

June The Admiralty announces construction of a home port for the
Newfoundland Escort Force in Saint John’s harbor . The base to be
built and operated by the Canadians will be responsible for
protection of transatlantic convoys between Halifax and the
mid-ocean meeting point with an escort force based in Iceland. The
base is home to as many as 23 destroyers, 36 frigates and 52
corvettes at the peak of wartime activity.

July Canadian government appoints a High Commissioner to

August 14 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill sign
the Atlantic Charter following a week long conference aboard ships
anchored in Placentia Bay.

September Royal Canadian Navy escort force in the western
Atlantic placed under co-ordinating supervision of the United
States Navy replacing British Commander in Chief Western

October 18 American B-17s and a RCAF Digby bomber make first
landings at Torbay airbase.

1942 February 18 Destroyers USS Truxton and Wilkes and supply
ship Pollux en route from Portland to Argentia round aground
beneath the cliffs of the Burin Peninsula. The Wilkes was
refloated but the Truxton and Pollux began to break up in the
pound surf and gale force winds. Ninety three sailors drown
attempting to abandon ship. Residents of two nearby towns manage
to rescue 140.

March 1 U.S. Navy sinks German submarine for the first time in
WWII. U-656 sent to the bottom by Hudson bomber based at Argentia

March 15 U-503 sunk SE of Virgin Rocks by USN bombers based at

March German submarines U-587 and U-158 pursuing convoy ships as
part of Operation Paukenschlag launch torpedoes at the entrance to
Saint John’s harbor but the only casualties are few large rocks.

September Dominions Secretary Clement Attlee visits Newfoundland

September 2 German submarine U-513 enters attacks iron ore
freighters berthed at Bell Island sinking the Canadian freighters
SS Saganaga, Lord Strathcona and Rose Castle.

October 14 Newfoundland Railway ferry SS Caribou sunk 40 miles
off Port aux Basques by the German submarine U-69. 137 passengers
and crew go down with the ship. Royal Canadian Navy rescues 101

October 30 U658 sunk 290 miles NE of Torbay by Hudson bomber
from RCAF 145th Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron

November 2 German submarine U-518 attacks Bell Island sinking
the P.L.M.-27, a French freighter. A second torpedo misses the
Canadian freighter SS Flyingdale and strikes an iron ore loading
pier causing extensive damage. A total of 69 people are killed in
the two U-boat attacks on the island.

December 12 Fire in a Saint John’s Knights of Columbus hostel
claims the lives of 99 civilians and servicemen. Subsequent
inquiry determines arson to be the cause but finds no evidence of

1943 February 1 166th Newfoundland Regiment, Royal Artillery
lands at Algiers to take part in North Africa campaign.

March Newfoundland Militia renamed the Newfoundland Regiment.

May 6 U-630 sunk NW of Newfoundland by HMS Vidette

July Prime Minister W.L.M. KING announces that Canada is ready
to give serious consideration to confederation should
Newfoundlanders desire it.

October 22 A crew from the German submarine U-537 lands at Cape
Chidley, Labrador and sets up a weather data transmitter. The
battery powered station ceases to function after two weeks.

1944 January 166th Newfoundland Regiment, Royal Artillery lands
in Italy.

July 5 59th Newfoundland Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery
lands in Normandy.

1945 April 16 U-190 sinks HMCS Esquimalt near entrance to
Halifax harbor.

May 11 German submarine U-190 surrenders to the Royal Canadian
Navy 500 miles east of Cape Race. The submarine and its crew are
towed into Bull’s Bay three days later.

December 11 Westminster announces that Newfoundland would elect
member of a National Convention in 1946. The Convention will
discuss the country’s economic and political situation.

1946 January 12 Peter Cashin denounces the National Convention
as a violation of the 1934 agreement to restore Responsible
Government as soon as Newfoundland should once again become

June 21 Election of delegates to the National Convention

September 11 First meeting of the Newfoundland National

October 28 Joseph R. Smallwood moves that the National
Convention delegation be sent to Ottawa to ascertain the Canadian
Government’s terms for union with that country. The motion is
defeated 28 to 17 but a short while later the convention reverses
itself and votes to send delegations to meet with both the British
and Canadian governments.

1947 February 11 The Responsible Government League formed to
promote a return to self-government as it existed prior to 1934.

April 25 The National Convention’s delegation to the British
Government leaves for London. The Dominions Secretary, Viscount
Addison, makes Westminster’s position clear. If Newfoundland votes
to return to Responsible Government it can expect no further help
from Britain.

May 19 Major Peter Cashin, leader of the London delegation,
tells the National Convention that Britain is engaged in a
conspiracy, "to sell this country to the Dominion of Canada."

June 19 The National Convention’s delegation to the Canadian
Government, led by Joseph Smallwood and Chairman F. Gordon
Bradley, leaves for Ottawa.

October 30 Ottawa Delegation returns to Saint John’s with draft
of terms for union with Canada.

1948 January 28 The National Convention defeats a motion by
Smallwood to include confederation with Canada along with return
to Responsible Government as it existed prior to 1934 or
continuation of the Commission of Government as a choice to be
present on the ballot for the national referendum. The motion is
defeated 29 to 16.

February 21 Bradley and Smallwood form The Confederate
Association to rally support for union with Canada.

March 11 Westminster announces that confederation with Canada
will be on the ballot despite the vote of the National Convention.

March 20 Economic Union Party launched under the leadership of
Chesley CROSBIE.

June 3 National referendum held. Results: Return to Responsible
Government 69,400 (44.6%). Confederation with Canada 64,066
(41.1%), continuation of Commission of Government 22,311 (14.3%).

July 22 Second national referendum held. Results: Confederation
with Canada 78,323 (52.3%), return to Responsible Government
71,334 (47.7%).

October 6 Newfoundland delegation led by Sir Albert Walsh leaves
Ottawa to negotiate final terms for union with Canada. The
Newfoundlanders hope to negotiate more favorable financial and
fisheries clauses than those contained in the 1947 draft terms.

December 11 Signing of terms of union between Canada and
Newfoundland. Chesley Crosbie declines to sign for Newfoundland
citing objections to the financial terms.

1949 February 17 Canadian parliament enacts legislation
accepting the terms of union.

February 21 Commission of Government grants formal approval to
act of union.

March 23 British parliament grants final approval for act of
union between Newfoundland and Canada.

March 31 Newfoundland becomes Canada’s tenth province at 11:56

April 1 The King’s representative, Lieutenant Governor Sir
Albert Walsh swears in Joseph Roberts Smallwood as first Premier
of the Province of Newfoundland.

May 27 Liberal Party led by Joseph Smallwood captures 22 of the
28 seats in the first election of a provincial legislature. The
Liberals win the next five general elections and Smallwood serves
as Premier for 23 years.

June 27 Newfoundland elects 5 Liberals and 2 Conservatives to
the Canadian parliament.
See also...

* Article: "The Dominion of Newfoundland" by Richard Doody


* Newfoundland & Labrador Heritage
* Encyclopedia of Newfoundland & Labrador
* Newfoundland Book of Rememberance
* The Life & Times of Pre-Confederation Newfoundland
* Newfoundland Rangers Homepage
* Museum of the Atlantic Allies
* Avalon Project Atlantic Charter Text
* Aviation in Newfoundland & Labrador
* Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery Gander

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