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Friends of Beaubears Island Inc offers services year-round. During the summer months, we offer ferry service, guided tours, museum access along with many other activities. During the off-season and winter months, our full-time Executive Director offers online programming, presentations, information sessions and collaborates with other organizations in meaningful partnerships. If you would like to connect, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or ideas.

Welcome to Beaubears Island

Visit our Interpretive Centre at 35 St. Patrick's Drive, Nelson-Miramichi

Meet our characters, from early French fur traders, to the Marquis Charles Deschamps de Boishebert, to the various shipbuilders who inhabited the island for over 100 years

Experience the multicultural history of the Miramichi

Take our survey after your visit!

For more information on our tours and ferry services:

Discover a place where fortunes were made... and lives were lost.

The Latest News & Events

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Information reposted and shared by Friends of Beaubears Island Inc., Senior Historical Correspondent, John English.

What the home front felt like, and soldiers N. Ramsay, C. MacDonald and L. Weouche (Augustine).

[I was born after the second world war, and I often wondered what the war meant to those on the “home front” or overseas. Most people I knew that were impacted didn’t talk about it. My grandmother wouldn’t, and she lost a son in Italy fighting the Nazi army. I was lucky enough to speak with a fine lady (now deceased) in 2017(she was 86 at the time) about her younger days, and I asked her what she felt while that war was being fought. At the time her family would listen to the radio, in particular the broadcaster Gabriel Heatter.]
War rations and listening to Gabriel Heatter
“The second world war was scary. To the point where we only got it through radio. And we were very lucky to have a radio, because Papa needed it for the business. And what you would hear – Gabriel Heatter (he can be heard at https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/historical/gabriel-heatter/report-on-year-after-pearl-harbor-1942-12-07 and https://youtu.be/XHjYgEKmXhE) and he made it sound so awful. We were scared, really scared. He gave the impression that they (the enemy) were right over by the barn” I asked her about limitations on food, and she replied “We had ration books. So many tickets would give you a pound of sugar. And you only got what was in that book (for restricted rations). You would get meat if you needed meat. And I remember I went to get my grade nine at St. Mary’s (school in Newcastle), and you had to take the ration book with you. They wouldn’t give you any sugar for your cereal if you didn’t have the ration book… He (Gabriel) made it sound so real. And I remember, we were little devils too, ‘cause we (her and her siblings) wanted to listen to the Lone Ranger on the radio, and that was the time Gabriel Heatter was on. So we would go to the radio and get to that station.. But my father had to hear Gabriel Heatter, he had to have the news.. That field behind Harkins, were the ballfield is now, is where we stored pitprops cut by O’Brien’s to ship overseas for the coal mines”.
[So the war was felt by everyone, and sacrifices were made by everyone. I think this is why the generation that went through the war is often called “the last great generation”. People didn’t shirk responsibility because it was dangerous or hard or too painful. The did what needed to be done to defeat the enemy, plain and simple. 
So just in my own little world, my mother lost a brother in the war, and a close friend that I grew up with has an uncle that served with distinction. Whereas Norman was killed in May 1944, and Chester’s heroic actions occurred in September 1944, that they were both in the Carleton & York, and that they both were fighting in Italy at the same time, it is possible that they saw each other at one point. Two soldiers from the Miramichi area fighting thousands of miles away, one my uncle, and one my friend’s uncle, may have known each other. How uncanny is that?]
Norman Ramsay
Norman Ramsay (see Fig. 0.5) died on this date in 1944 during military action in the city of Pontecorvo, Italy. He was 21 years old.
Norman enlisted at age 17 in the Active Army after having served as a reservist in the North Shore Regiment for four years. A month later he was posted to the Carleton and York Regiment. Three months later he would be shipped overseas to the UK from where he eventually took part in the invasion of Sicily, July 1943. His remains lie in the CWGC, Cassino War Cemetery, which is 139 kilometres south-east of Rome. A number of our extended family have visited the gravesite.
Norman is commemorated in a number of different ways; Book of Remembrance on Parliament Hill (https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/2609947
the Cenotaph in Newcastle and the Harkins High School plaque of war dead as well as the smaller memorial in Nelson. In addition, he is also commemorated through a beautiful stained glass window (see Fig. 1) in St. Mary’s Church donated by Erving (brother of Norman) and Jessie (wife of Erving). I have included a reference in the work done by Gary Silliker, a Veteran in his own right, as well as a photo of the stained glass window (source Harold Dolan).

Two Miramichi soldiers died on this day, in Italy, as the Allies broke the Hitler Line. They were from Newcastle and Doaktown.
- the Liri Valley
Norman Ramsay was the son of Ben and Clara Ramsay of Newcastle. He had served as a reservist in the North Shore Regiment for 4 years prior to enlisting in the active army in January 1940. Norman was posted to the Carleton and York Regiment in February and arrived in the UK in May. He took part in the invasion of Sicily in July, 1943.
Supported by British tanks, the Carleton and York Regiment broke the “Hitler Line” during four hours of fighting against the determined and hardened troops of the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division. Twenty-two year-old Corporal Ramsay was killed during that fight. He was initially buried at Pontecorvo and later reburied in the Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. Norman is commemorated on the Newcastle cenotaph as well as on the Harkins High School plaque of war dead now located at Miramichi Valley High School (source: Miramichiers During Times of War, courtesy Gary Silliker)

They called him Gabe, because he looked like Clark Gable. He was in the North Shore Regiment overseas but volunteered for the Carlton York Regiment for battle in Italy
His best Bud from Newcastle wrote this poem after hearing of his death MY BUDDY
This boy that I write of , an Acadian lad,
Was the best mate in our town that I ever had.
We roamed the wood, fished the river, and jigged from our school.
Yes, both of us experts at acting the fool.
Norm, your face I remember so handsome , so true
And I gave my best grip on my last meeting with you.
You came on your leave to see me once more,
And to share boyhood memories of home ;long our shore
My Newcastle buddy, how well I remember you yet
The best pal I had, one Ill never forget.
That night in old England Twas a night of good cheer,
As we sat in the pub and drank up our beer.
The next day we parted near the old Sally Ann,
And you walked down the road with a last wave of your hand.
Months later you gave them all that you had,
Your youth and your life, you Canadian lad.
Yes, this Acadian soldier, this buddy of mine,
In that blood bath of Hell on the Hitler Line.
Written by Richard Gough
Source: James English.

Some of my family have been to the CWGC, Cassino War Cemetery (see Figs. 2-4).

Also see: https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/2040600/cassino-war-cemetery/ (source: Gary Silliker)

Charles Frank “Chester” MacDonald
See Fig. 5 for his accommodation.

See Figs 6-11 for a column from local newspaper (unknown) sometime near the end of the World War 2 about that heroic event. All were provided to me by Kevin Godfrey, but because of space limitations some do not have him listed as the source.

See Fig. 12 for Chester with fellow soldiers. He on the far right.

See Fig 13 for a picture of Chester alone.

See Fig. 14 for Chester’s Military medal for his actions on the Gothic line in Italy.

L. John Weouche (Augustine)
Louis (Lewis) John Weouche (Augustine) was a Mi’kmaw who enlisted in the 55th Bn in Sussex in July 1915. He stated that his name was just Louis John and that he had been born in Bathurst on 7 March 1894. He also stated his father was Frank Weouche of Ste-Anne-de-Restigouche, Quebec. Louis made his will and monthly pay allotment out to his ‘friend’ Mrs Barney Augustine of North West Bridge. According to the 1911 census a 15 year old boy named “Louis John Augustine” was the adopted son of Barney and Bella Augustine of Eel Ground.
Private Louis John of the Natoaganeg First Nation served at the front with the 58th Bn and was killed in a disastrous attack on Regina Trench on 8 October, 1916. He is buried in the Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, France (source: Miramichiers at times of conflict and war, courtesy Gary Silliker).

See Fig 15 for a picture of L. John Augustine’s tomb stone in the Somme valley of France.

Supplemental
I am admittedly a Churchill supporter. He had some flaws, as we all do, but he was a one-of-a-kind moral builder. This piece describes the live of that remarkable man, and the Battle of Britain (which I think is the first really big success by the RAF):
https://youtu.be/qWnKwFzx3Bc

For further info on WW2: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/information-for/educators/quick-facts/second-world-war
[And of course there were other wars such as WW1: https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_canada#:~:text=As%20best%20as%20can%20be,in%20the%20Books%20of%20Remembrance.
And Korea, and Afghanistan, etc. And peacekeepers serving under the United Nations.
Altho not a Miramichier, I cannot forget Roméo Dallaire  - General Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide.  General Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days; yet, permission to intervene was denied and the UN withdrew its peacekeeping forces.  General Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces (source: https://www.romeodallaire.com/). 
His book states the ability of humans to murder others in a horrible way, even in the modern age: SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL: THE FAILURE OF HUMANITY IN RWAND. 
If one reads it, one is left with the sadness that many people died unnecessarily because of mismanagement by those above his position. Usually, the military forces’ governing model is all about command and control. In the heat of the battle, the aim is for soldiers to conduct their actions as they were trained to do. 
I have tried in this Nov. 11th series to provide examples of sacrifices made by civilians and enlisted men and women. Most on both the home front and in active service could not forget what resulted from conflict. Nether should we. 
I thank all current and former civilians and enlisted men and women who sacrificed in active duty, in support axillary roles, or on the home front to keep us a free people.Image attachmentImage attachment+Image attachment

Information reposted and shared by Friends of Beaubears Island Inc., Senior Historical Correspondent, John English.

What the home front felt like, and soldiers N. Ramsay, C. MacDonald and L. Weouche (Augustine).

[I was born after the second world war, and I often wondered what the war meant to those on the “home front” or overseas. Most people I knew that were impacted didn’t talk about it. My grandmother wouldn’t, and she lost a son in Italy fighting the Nazi army. I was lucky enough to speak with a fine lady (now deceased) in 2017(she was 86 at the time) about her younger days, and I asked her what she felt while that war was being fought. At the time her family would listen to the radio, in particular the broadcaster Gabriel Heatter.]
War rations and listening to Gabriel Heatter
“The second world war was scary. To the point where we only got it through radio. And we were very lucky to have a radio, because Papa needed it for the business. And what you would hear – Gabriel Heatter (he can be heard at www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/historical/gabriel-heatter/report-on-year-after-pearl-harbor-1942-1... and youtu.be/XHjYgEKmXhE) and he made it sound so awful. We were scared, really scared. He gave the impression that they (the enemy) were right over by the barn” I asked her about limitations on food, and she replied “We had ration books. So many tickets would give you a pound of sugar. And you only got what was in that book (for restricted rations). You would get meat if you needed meat. And I remember I went to get my grade nine at St. Mary’s (school in Newcastle), and you had to take the ration book with you. They wouldn’t give you any sugar for your cereal if you didn’t have the ration book… He (Gabriel) made it sound so real. And I remember, we were little devils too, ‘cause we (her and her siblings) wanted to listen to the Lone Ranger on the radio, and that was the time Gabriel Heatter was on. So we would go to the radio and get to that station.. But my father had to hear Gabriel Heatter, he had to have the news.. That field behind Harkins, were the ballfield is now, is where we stored pitprops cut by O’Brien’s to ship overseas for the coal mines”.
[So the war was felt by everyone, and sacrifices were made by everyone. I think this is why the generation that went through the war is often called “the last great generation”. People didn’t shirk responsibility because it was dangerous or hard or too painful. The did what needed to be done to defeat the enemy, plain and simple.
So just in my own little world, my mother lost a brother in the war, and a close friend that I grew up with has an uncle that served with distinction. Whereas Norman was killed in May 1944, and Chester’s heroic actions occurred in September 1944, that they were both in the Carleton & York, and that they both were fighting in Italy at the same time, it is possible that they saw each other at one point. Two soldiers from the Miramichi area fighting thousands of miles away, one my uncle, and one my friend’s uncle, may have known each other. How uncanny is that?]
Norman Ramsay
Norman Ramsay (see Fig. 0.5) died on this date in 1944 during military action in the city of Pontecorvo, Italy. He was 21 years old.
Norman enlisted at age 17 in the Active Army after having served as a reservist in the North Shore Regiment for four years. A month later he was posted to the Carleton and York Regiment. Three months later he would be shipped overseas to the UK from where he eventually took part in the invasion of Sicily, July 1943. His remains lie in the CWGC, Cassino War Cemetery, which is 139 kilometres south-east of Rome. A number of our extended family have visited the gravesite.
Norman is commemorated in a number of different ways; Book of Remembrance on Parliament Hill (www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/2609947
the Cenotaph in Newcastle and the Harkins High School plaque of war dead as well as the smaller memorial in Nelson. In addition, he is also commemorated through a beautiful stained glass window (see Fig. 1) in St. Mary’s Church donated by Erving (brother of Norman) and Jessie (wife of Erving). I have included a reference in the work done by Gary Silliker, a Veteran in his own right, as well as a photo of the stained glass window (source Harold Dolan).

Two Miramichi soldiers died on this day, in Italy, as the Allies broke the Hitler Line. They were from Newcastle and Doaktown.
- the Liri Valley
Norman Ramsay was the son of Ben and Clara Ramsay of Newcastle. He had served as a reservist in the North Shore Regiment for 4 years prior to enlisting in the active army in January 1940. Norman was posted to the Carleton and York Regiment in February and arrived in the UK in May. He took part in the invasion of Sicily in July, 1943.
Supported by British tanks, the Carleton and York Regiment broke the “Hitler Line” during four hours of fighting against the determined and hardened troops of the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division. Twenty-two year-old Corporal Ramsay was killed during that fight. He was initially buried at Pontecorvo and later reburied in the Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. Norman is commemorated on the Newcastle cenotaph as well as on the Harkins High School plaque of war dead now located at Miramichi Valley High School (source: Miramichiers During Times of War, courtesy Gary Silliker)

They called him Gabe, because he looked like Clark Gable. He was in the North Shore Regiment overseas but volunteered for the Carlton York Regiment for battle in Italy
His best Bud from Newcastle wrote this poem after hearing of his death MY BUDDY
This boy that I write of , an Acadian lad,
Was the best mate in our town that I ever had.
We roamed the wood, fished the river, and jigged from our school.
Yes, both of us experts at acting the fool.
Norm, your face I remember so handsome , so true
And I gave my best grip on my last meeting with you.
You came on your leave to see me once more,
And to share boyhood memories of home ;long our shore
My Newcastle buddy, how well I remember you yet
The best pal I had, one I'll never forget.
That night in old England 'Twas a night of good cheer,
As we sat in the pub and drank up our beer.
The next day we parted near the old Sally Ann,
And you walked down the road with a last wave of your hand.
Months later you gave them all that you had,
Your youth and your life, you Canadian lad.
Yes, this Acadian soldier, this buddy of mine,
In that blood bath of Hell on the Hitler Line.
Written by Richard Gough
Source: James English.

Some of my family have been to the CWGC, Cassino War Cemetery (see Figs. 2-4).

Also see: www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/2040600/cassino-war-cemetery/ (source: Gary Silliker)

Charles Frank “Chester” MacDonald
See Fig. 5 for his accommodation.

See Figs 6-11 for a column from local newspaper (unknown) sometime near the end of the World War 2 about that heroic event. All were provided to me by Kevin Godfrey, but because of space limitations some do not have him listed as the source.

See Fig. 12 for Chester with fellow soldiers. He on the far right.

See Fig 13 for a picture of Chester alone.

See Fig. 14 for Chester’s Military medal for his actions on the Gothic line in Italy.

L. John Weouche (Augustine)
Louis (Lewis) John Weouche (Augustine) was a Mi’kmaw who enlisted in the 55th Bn in Sussex in July 1915. He stated that his name was just Louis John and that he had been born in Bathurst on 7 March 1894. He also stated his father was Frank Weouche of Ste-Anne-de-Restigouche, Quebec. Louis made his will and monthly pay allotment out to his ‘friend’ Mrs Barney Augustine of North West Bridge. According to the 1911 census a 15 year old boy named “Louis John Augustine” was the adopted son of Barney and Bella Augustine of Eel Ground.
Private Louis John of the Natoaganeg First Nation served at the front with the 58th Bn and was killed in a disastrous attack on Regina Trench on 8 October, 1916. He is buried in the Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, France (source: Miramichiers at times of conflict and war, courtesy Gary Silliker).

See Fig 15 for a picture of L. John Augustine’s tomb stone in the Somme valley of France.

Supplemental
I am admittedly a Churchill supporter. He had some flaws, as we all do, but he was a one-of-a-kind moral builder. This piece describes the live of that remarkable man, and the Battle of Britain (which I think is the first really big success by the RAF):
youtu.be/qWnKwFzx3Bc

For further info on WW2: www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/information-for/educators/quick-facts/second-world-war
[And of course there were other wars such as WW1: encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_canada#:~:text=As%20best%20as%20can%20be,in%....
And Korea, and Afghanistan, etc. And peacekeepers serving under the United Nations.
Altho not a Miramichier, I cannot forget Roméo Dallaire - General Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide. General Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days; yet, permission to intervene was denied and the UN withdrew its peacekeeping forces. General Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces (source: www.romeodallaire.com/).
His book states the ability of humans to murder others in a horrible way, even in the modern age: SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL: THE FAILURE OF HUMANITY IN RWAND.
If one reads it, one is left with the sadness that many people died unnecessarily because of mismanagement by those above his position. Usually, the military forces’ governing model is all about command and control. In the heat of the battle, the aim is for soldiers to conduct their actions as they were trained to do.
I have tried in this Nov. 11th series to provide examples of sacrifices made by civilians and enlisted men and women. Most on both the home front and in active service could not forget what resulted from conflict. Nether should we.
I thank all current and former civilians and enlisted men and women who sacrificed in active duty, in support axillary roles, or on the home front to keep us a free people.
... See MoreSee Less

November 25th, 6:00 am
Weeee bit chilly on the island I am sure, but look how still and beautiful it looks!

Nous avons un peu froid sur lîle, jen suis sûr, mais regardez comme cest calme et beau !

Weeee bit chilly on the island I am sure, but look how still and beautiful it looks!

Nous avons un peu froid sur l'île, j'en suis sûr, mais regardez comme c'est calme et beau !
... See MoreSee Less

November 24th, 7:09 am
Beaubears Island Nov 20/22

Will not be long before we start sharing snow covered island. 

Please share or tag us with your beautiful Beaubears Island pictures.

Île Beaubears 20/22 novembre Nous ne tarderons pas à partager lîle enneigée. Sil vous plaît partagez ou identifiez-nous avec vos belles photos de lîle Beaubears.

#beaubearsisland❤️ #beaubearsisland #beaubears #fall #islandofpines #nelson #miramichiriver #miramichinb #backyardgems #backyardgems😍

Beaubears Island Nov 20/22

Will not be long before we start sharing snow covered island.

Please share or tag us with your beautiful Beaubears Island pictures.

Île Beaubears 20/22 novembre Nous ne tarderons pas à partager l'île enneigée. S'il vous plaît partagez ou identifiez-nous avec vos belles photos de l'île Beaubears.

#beaubearsisland❤️ #beaubearsisland #beaubears #fall #islandofpines #nelson #miramichiriver #miramichinb #backyardgems #backyardgems😍
... See MoreSee Less

November 21st, 10:26 pm