CARBONEAR, NL — The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 Carbonear has a new painting to hang in memory of a local member of the Royal Navy.
In November 2017, St. John’s-based art gallery The Newfoundland Shop worked with artist Rod Hand to host a giveaway on their Facebook page. Two followers had a chance to win an unframed copy of one of Hand’s paintings – “Forget-Me-Not,” a piece created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s role at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.
Sheila Thoms, originally from Bay Roberts, saw the contest and decided to try her luck. In the comments on the original post, Thoms posted about her intentions were she to win a copy.
“I would love to win this in order to donate it to the Royal Canadian Legion in Carbonear in memory of my father-in-law, Frank C. Thoms, who served in the Second World War,” she wrote.
The draw was held the following day on Nov. 11. Luck may not have been on Thoms’ side, as she was not one of the two winners. However, Hand himself saw and acknowledged Thoms’ comment, and her wishes were still fulfilled.
“(Hand) doesn’t know me, or my family,” Thoms told the Compass, “but he decided to give me one of the prints out of the goodness of his heart, to give me the opportunity to not only honour my father-in-law, but to show people a beautiful piece of art, and most importantly, a part of our history.”
Following some Facebook Messenger exchanges, Thoms, who lives outside the province, arranged for the painting – personalized with Frank C. Thoms’ name on it – to be picked up in St. John’s, delivered to Carbonear and presented to the Legion.
On Wednesday night, Dec. 13, her husband’s nephew, Darrin Hunt, attended the Legion’s annual general meeting and presented Hand’s artwork to Mike Butt, president of Branch 23 Carbonear.
“My family and I are very happy to present this,” Hunt said during Wednesday night’s presentation.
The painting will be displayed on the Legion’s walls as both a presentation of Hand’s work and a way to honour the service of Newfoundland soldiers such as Frank Thoms.