No Man’s Land focuses our sights on the human side of the war as the men of Newfoundland Regiment reminisce the time when they saw the war as an adventure and an opportunity to seek glory for themselves and their country. They were told that the war would last only for a year and they would be coming home just in time for Christmas. They were proud volunteers then as many other soldiers were. The memories of their march past cheering crowds through the streets of St. Johns and into the transport Florizel was all fresh to them. War for them was an adventure. That view changed ever since the news of McWhirter’s death, the first Newfoundland man killed, was made known.
Now, Second Lieutenant Alan Hayward, Martin and the rest of the men find themselves anxiously waiting for the moment when they would step out of the trenches and assault the enemy. They cower under the protection of their makeshift bunkers as the enemy artillery barrage pummels their position. All of them knew that at any time they could end up dead or dying. The men longed for home and were frustrated by the lack of knowledge of what lies ahead of them but in spite of these, they stand resolutely on the fire steps glancing at their pocket watches and waiting for the zero hour. In reading the book, we become enticed with how Kevin Major effectively portrayed the unnatural quiet before the storm.
Major was also equally effective in portraying the camaraderie as the men on Newfoundland Regiment fight to make it through the barbed wire, deadly sweep of machine-gun bullets and grenades. In spite of their heroic efforts, the area known to be as no man’s land proved to be the graveyard for two hundred and seventy-two young men from the Newfoundland Regiment. It was the greatest casualty for any other unit in the battlefield. On that morning of July 1, 1916, the communities in Newfoundland lost many of its men who would have been their future leaders. The attempt to drive the enemy