The World at War

Newfoundland 1919 - 1949

Newfoundland Timeline

1919January 8 The Paris Peace Conference opens. Prime Minister William F. Lloyd represents Newfoundland as a member of the British delegation.
April 10 Harry Hawker and MacKenzie Grieve make the first airplane flight in Newfoundland in a test for a trans-Atlantic attempt.
May 10 Lieutenant Richard Janes, USN makes the first airplane flight in Newfoundland by a native Newfoundlander.
May 16 United States Navy flying boat NC-4, piloted by Lieutenant Commander A. C. Read, leaves Trepassey Harbour and completes the first successful trans-Atlantic airplane flight reaching Plymouth, England two weeks later via the Azores and Lisbon.
June 5 The Newfoundland legislature passes an Aerial Mail Service Act. The government contracts with Aircraft Manufacturing Company, an English firm, to establish airmail, freight and passenger service on, "such routes as maybe agreed upon from time to time."
June 14 John Alcock and Arthur W. Brown depart Lesterís Field near Saint Johnís on the first nonstop trans-Atlantic airplane flight. Their Vickers Vimy crash lands in a bog near Clifden, County Galway, Ireland 16 hours and 57 minutes later. Afterwards they deliver the first shipment of trans-Atlantic air mail, 196 letters and one package. They are awarded a £10,000 prize by the Daily Mail and are later knighted by King George V.
1920July The Canadian Marconi Company broadcasts voice messages to the SS Victorian throughout its trans-Atlantic voyage.
1921April Newfoundlandís fiscal year ends in budgetary deficit. Revenues fall due to a post war slump in demand for minerals and newsprint, encroachment on the Newfoundland fisheryís traditional markets by Scandinavian fleets operating off Iceland and subsidies to the unprofitable Newfoundland Railway.
1922April The Reid Newfoundland Company informs the Government that it will no longer operate the countryís railway. The company later agrees to continue operations following a massive infusion of public funds.
July 29 Station VOS broadcasts Newfoundlandís first commercial radio program.
November 2 The dominions of Newfoundland and Canada request the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to determine, "What is the location and definition of the boundary as between Canada and Newfoundland on the Labrador Peninsula, under the statutes, orders in council and proclamations?"
1923July 1 The Government of Newfoundland takes over operation the railways from the Reid Company. The $2,000,000 buyout is necessary to facilitate construction of a pulp and paper mill at Corner Brook on the Humber River.
1924The Newfoundland legislature repeals prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages which was introduced in 1915.
July 1 Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig unveils the National War Memorial in Saint Johnís.
September A Squadron of United States Navy seaplanes lands at Indian Harbour, Labrador and Hawkes Bay, Newfoundland during the first round the world airplane flight.
1924Women age 25 and older are granted voting rights for the first time.
February 10 Prime Minister Walter Monroe writes Premier Taschereau of Quebec offering to sell Newfoundlandís rights in Labrador for $30 million.
March 3 Premier Taschereau declines Monroeís offer to sell Newfoundlandís interests in Labrador. The Quebec leader can see no reason to pay for what he believes already rightfully belongs to his province and decides to take his chances with the Privy Council's resolution of the dispute.
March 4 Prime Minister Monroe proposes to sell Labrador to Quebec for $15 million provided that Newfoundland would retain rights to a three mile wide coastal zone for the use of fishermen.
1927March 1 The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council rules in favor of Newfoundland in the Labrador boundary dispute.
May 19 Italian aviator Francesco De Pinedo lands at Trepassey following his circumnavigation of the South Atlantic in a twin engine Savoia-Marchetti.
May 20 Charles Lindbergh flies over Saint Johnís during his nonstop flight from New York to Paris.
August 28 American aviators, William Brock and Richard Schlee depart Harbour Grace on a nonstop flight to Croydon, England.
1928April 13 The Bremen, piloted by Captain Herman Keohl, completes the first east to west trans-Atlantic airplane flight from Dublin, Ireland to Greenley Island.
June 17 The Friendship departs Trepassey for Southampton, England. Passenger Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to complete trans-Atlantic flight.
1930June 25 Charles Kingsford-Smith and the crew of the Southern Cross land at Harbour Grace from Ireland on the last leg of a round the world trip.
1931Newfoundland is referred to as a "Dominion" (a title the government formally assumed in 1908) in the Statue of Westminster but requests that sections 2 - 6 not be implemented until such time as the legislature requests it which in never did. Newfoundland never joins the League of Nations and Great Britain continues to conduct Newfoundlandís defense until 1940 and external relations until 1949.
May The Bank of Montreal informs the Newfoundland Government that it is unable to raise funds on the bond market. The public debt reaches $100 million and interest payments are absorbing 65% of current revenues.
June 23 American aviators, Wiley Post and Harold Gatty, stop at Harbour Grace before departing on the trans-Atlantic leg of their record breaking, 8 days and 14 hours, round the world flight.
1932February 11 Finance Minister Peter Cashin charges Prime Minister Richard Squires with corruption. A $5000 fee taken by Squires for his work as War Reparations Commissioner stirs public anger.
March 23 The legislature increases tariffs and reduces veteransí pensions to meet demands of the Canadian banks for fiscal austerity. April 5
Rioters damage the Colonial Building, seat of Newfoundlandís legislature.
Spring Imperial Oil Company (Standard Oil of New Jersey) loans $1.75 million to Newfoundland in exchange for a monopoly on sales of gasoline and petroleum products in the country.
June 11 The United Newfoundland Party led by Frederick Alderdice wins 24 of the 27 legislative seats in a general election.
May 20 Amelia Earhart departs Harbour Grace in a Lockheed Vega and lands at Londonderry, Northern Ireland the next morning completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight by a woman.
Fall Newfoundland faces default once again. Canadian and British governments agree to loan 2/3rds of the funds need to make Newfoundlandís current payments on condition that the country agree to a British Royal Commission of Inquiry to include a Canadian member.
1933February 17 Lord Amulree is appointed by the British Government to chair a Royal Commission charged with investigating Newfoundlandís government and finances. Banker, Charles Magrath, represents Canada and Sir William Stavert, another Canadian, represents the Government of Newfoundland.
July 12 General Italo Balboís armada of 24 flying boats lands at Cartwright, Labrador en route to the Chicago Worldís Fair. July 12
Charles and Anne Lindbergh arrive in Newfoundland to begin surveying air routes for transatlantic passenger service.
August 1 General Balboís armada lands near Shoal Harbour, Newfoundland and spends 8 days there before returning to Italy. The squadron is visited by two Italian submarines and navy yacht during the stay.
October 4 The Amulree Commission recommends suspension of Responsible Government and assumption of direct responsibility for Newfoundlandís finances by Great Britain. The Canadian Government refuses to consider further aid to Newfoundland, confederation or the purchase of Labrador.
November The Legislature votes to accept the recommendations of the Amulree Commission.
1934February 16 Responsible Government is suspended. A Commission of Government appointed by and responsible to Westminster takes over. Newfoundland reverts to the status of a Crown Colony.
The number of persons receiving relief payments averages 31,899 per month.
1935The Commission of Government establishes the Newfoundland Ranger Force.
The North Atlantic Civil Aviation agreement between Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Newfoundland establishes Botwood as a base for flying boats and Gander for land based aircraft.
1936Construction of Newfoundland Airport at Gander begins.
1937July 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 trans-Atlantic 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 trans-Atlantic passenger flight on July 9th.
1939The number of persons receiving relief payments averages 58,187 per month. The "dole" provides 6 Cents per person per day.
June King George VI and the Royal Family visit Newfoundland.
September 1 An Act for the Defence of Newfoundland is 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 Great Britainís declaration.
The Newfoundland Constabulary seizes the Christopher V. Doornum, a German freighter anchored at Botwood, as a prize of war.
October The Newfoundland Militia is formed as a home guard.
1940June 14 Newfoundland grants a Canadian request to station ground troops at Newfoundland Airport, Gander and the seaplane base at Botwood. Subsequent agreements provide for, recruitment of Newfoundlanders into the Canadian services, Canadian command of the Newfoundland Militia and formation of a joint coastal defense battery.
September 2 Great 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 Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, K.C.M.G., M.D. dies after four decades of service to the fishing families of Labrador and Northern Newfoundland as a medical missionary and humanitarian. Grenfell 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 Grenfellís 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 is 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.
1941January 17 The first American troops arrive in Newfoundland aboard the SS Edmund B. Alexander.
February A Hudson bomber en route from Gander to Prestwick, Scotland disappears. Major Sir Frederick Banting Nobel Prize winning discoverer of insulin is among the missing crew members.
March 27 President Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act. Great 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.
April Construction of Royal Canadian Air Force 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, is 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 Johnís harbor. The base to be built and operated by the Canadians will be responsible for protection of trans-Atlantic 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 The Canadian Government appoints a High Commissioner to Newfoundland.
August 14 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill sign the Atlantic Charter following a week long conference aboard ships anchored in Placentia Bay.
September The Royal Canadian Navy escort force in the western Atlantic is placed under coordinating supervision of the United States Navy replacing the British Commander in Chief Western Approaches.
October 18 American B-17s and a RCAF Digby bomber make first landings at Torbay airbase.
1942February 18 Destroyers USS Truxton and Wilkes and supply ship Pollux en route from Portland to Argentia run aground beneath the cliffs of the Burin Peninsula. The Wilkes is refloated but the Truxton and Pollux begin to break up in the pounding surf and gale force winds. Ninety three sailors drown attempting to abandon ship. Residents of two nearby towns manage to rescue 140 others.
March 1 The U.S. Navy sinks a German submarine for the first time in World War II. U-656 is sent to the bottom by a Hudson bomber based at Argentia.
March 15 U-503 is sunk SE of Virgin Rocks by U.S. Navy bombers based at Argentia.
March German submarines U-587 and U-158 pursuing convoy ships as part of Operation Paukenschlag launch torpedoes at the entrance to Saint Johnís harbor but the only casualties are few large rocks.
September Dominions Secretary Clement Attlee visits Newfoundland.
September 2 German submarine U-513 attacks iron ore freighters berthed at Bell Island sinking the Canadian freighters SS Saganaga, Lord Strathcona and Rose Castle.
October 14 The Newfoundland Railway ferry SS Caribou is sunk 40 miles off Port aux Basques by the German submarine U-69. 137 passengers and crew go down with the ship. The Royal Canadian Navy rescues 101 survivors.
October 30 U658 is sunk 290 miles NE of Torbay by a Hudson bomber from the 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 A fire in a Saint Johnís 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 sabotage.
1943February 1 The 166th Newfoundland Regiment, Royal Artillery lands at Algiers to take part in the North Africa campaign.
March The Newfoundland Militia is renamed the Newfoundland Regiment.
May 6 German submarine U-630 is sunk NW of Newfoundland by HMS Vidette.
July Prime Minister William 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.
1944January The 166th Newfoundland Regiment of the Royal Artillery lands in Italy.
July 5 The 59th Newfoundland Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery lands in Normandy.
1945April 16 German submarine U-190 sinks HMCS Esquimalt near the 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 Bullís Bay three days later.
December 11 Westminster announces that Newfoundland will elect members of a National Convention in 1946. The Convention will discuss the countryís 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 self-supporting.
June 21 Delegates to the National Convention are elected.
September 11 The first meeting of the Newfoundland National Convention convenes.
October 28 Joseph R. Smallwood moves that a National Convention delegation be sent to Ottawa to ascertain the Canadian Governmentís 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.
1947February 11 The Responsible Government League is formed to promote a return to, "self-government as it existed prior to 1934".
April 25 The National Conventionís delegation to the British Government leaves for London. The Dominions Secretary, Viscount Addison, makes Westminsterís 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 Conventionís delegation to the Canadian Government, led by Joseph Smallwood and Chairman F. Gordon Bradley, leaves for Ottawa.
October 30 The Ottawa Delegation returns to Saint Johnís with draft of terms for union with Canada.
1948January 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 F. Gordon Bradley and Joey 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 The Economic Union Party is launched under the leadership of Chesley Crosbie.
June 3 The national referendum is held. Results:Responsible Government 69,400 - 44.6%, Confederation with Canada
64,066 - 41.1%, Commission of Government 22,311 - 14.3%
July 22 A second national referendum held. Results:
Confederation with Canada 78,323 - 52.3% Responsible Government 71,334 - 47.7%
October 6 A Newfoundland delegation led by Sir Albert Walsh leaves for 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 The terms of union between Canada and Newfoundland are signed. Chesley Crosbie declines to sign for Newfoundland citing objections to the financial terms.
1949February 17 The Canadian Parliament enacts legislation accepting the terms of union.
February 21 The Commission of Government grants formal approval to act of union.
March 23 The British Parliament grants final approval for act of union between Newfoundland and Canada.
March 31 Newfoundland becomes Canadaís tenth province at 11:56 p.m. April 1
The Kingís representative, Lieutenant Governor Sir Albert Walsh swears in Joseph Roberts Smallwood as the first Premier of the Province of Newfoundland.
May 27 The 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.

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