Wondering about Newfoundland's unknown solider? Here's what's happening leading up to Memorial Day

The National War Memorial in St. John's will soon be off limits to visitors. A restoration project, the first since the 1960s, will begin soon. It's part of a plan to refurbish the site and establish a tomb of the unknown soldier ahead of the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the memorial on July 1, 2024.
The National War Memorial in downtown St. John's is celebrating 100 years this coming Memorial Day. An unknown solider who died fighting for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War will be entombed after being repatriated from northern France in late May. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

The week leading up to Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador will be a busy one.

The remains of Newfoundland's unknown soldier will be placed inside a tomb — his final resting place on home soil after more than 100 years abroad — in downtown St. John's at the newly refurbished National War Memorial, which is marking its centennial year.

The soldier was repatriated last month from northern France in a ceremony at Beaumont-Hamel.

He landed back in Newfoundland on a warm Saturday evening and was taken on a driving tour of the city that passed by significant historical sites, including the war memorial itself, unveiled July 1, 1924, eight years after the deadly Battle of the Somme, which decimated nearly an entire generation of men fighting for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

But the public will have its chance to pay its respects to the fallen solider ahead of July 1.

A lying-in-state will take place at Confederation Building for three days, June 28-30, before the man is laid to rest once more — this time permanently — at the war memorial.

Public visitation hours will be:

  • 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 28

  • 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 29

  • 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 30

The public can access the main entrance of Confederation Building through the east block lobby.

The July 1 ceremony at the war memorial begins at 9:30 a.m. Alternate viewing options are also being held at The Rooms and the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland.

CBC News will be carrying the event live.

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