Canadian Expeditionary Force

Last updated
Canadian Expeditionary Force
Coat of arms of Canada (1868).svg
ActiveAugust 1914–1919
CountryCanadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg  Canada
Type Army
Role Land warfare
Size619,646 enlistments during existence

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. The force fielded several combat formations on the Western Front in France and Belgium, the largest of which was the Canadian Corps, consisting of four divisions. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade and the Canadian Independent Force, which were independent of the Canadian Corps, also fought on the Western Front. The CEF also had a large reserve and training organization in England, and a recruiting organization in Canada. In the later stages of the European war, particularly after their success at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, the Canadian Corps was regarded by friend and foe alike as one of the most effective Allied military formations on the Western Front. [1] [2] In August 1918, the CEF's Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force travelled to revolution-torn Russia. It reinforced an anti-Bolshevik garrison in Vladivostok during the winter of 1918–19. At this time, another force of Canadian soldiers were placed in Archangel, where they fought against Bolsheviks.

A field force in British and Indian Army military parlance is a combined arms land force operating under actual or assumed combat circumstances, usually for the length of a specific military campaign. It is used by other nations, but can have a different meaning.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.



26th Battalion of the Second Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915 Officers and members of the 26th Battalion of the Second Canadian Expeditionary Force.jpg
26th Battalion of the Second Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915

The Canadian Expeditionary Force was mostly volunteers; a bill allowing conscription was passed in August, 1917, [3] but not enforced until call-ups began in January 1918 (see Conscription Crisis of 1917). In all, 24,132 conscripts had been sent to France to take part in the final Hundred Days campaign. [4]

Conscription Crisis of 1917

The Conscription Crisis of 1917 was a political and military crisis in Canada during World War I. It was mainly caused by disagreement on whether men should be conscripted to fight in the war. It also brought out many issues regarding relations between French Canadians and English Canadians and motivated many revolutionary acts.

As a Dominion in the British Empire, Canada was automatically at war with Germany upon the British declaration. [5] Popular support for the war was found mainly in English Canada. [6] Of the first contingent formed at Valcartier, Quebec in 1914, about two-thirds were men who had been born in the United Kingdom. By the end of the war in 1918, at least half of the soldiers were British-born. Recruiting was difficult among the French-Canadian population, many of whom did not agree with supporting Canada's participation in the war; [7] [8] one battalion, the 22nd, who came to be known as the 'Van Doos', was French-speaking. ("Van Doos" is an approximate pronunciation of the French for "22nd" - vingt-deuxième)

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Private Joseph Pappin, 130 Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Joseph Pappin Pvt.jpg
Private Joseph Pappin, 130 Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

To a lesser extent, several other cultural groups within the Dominion enlisted and made a significant contribution to the Force including Indigenous people of the First Nations, Black Canadians as well as Black Americans. [10] Many British nationals from the United Kingdom or other territories who were resident in Canada also joined the CEF. A sizeable percentage of Bermuda's volunteers who served in the war joined the CEF, either because they were resident in Canada already, or because Canada was the easiest other part of the Empire and Commonwealth to reach from Bermuda (1,239 kilometres (770 miles) from Nova Scotia). As several CEF battalions were posted to the Bermuda Garrison before proceeding to France, islanders were also able to enlist there. [11] Although the Bermuda Militia Artillery and Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps both sent contingents to the Western Front, the first would not arrive there until June 1915. By then, many Bermudians had already been serving on the Western Front in the CEF for months. Bermudians in the CEF enlisted under the same terms as Canadians, and all male British Nationals resident in Canada became liable for conscription under the Military Service Act, 1917.

In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

Black Canadians is a designation used for people of full or partial native African descent, who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The majority of Black Canadians are of Caribbean origin, though the population also consists of African-American immigrants and their descendants, as well as many native African immigrants.

Bermuda British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws, while the United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.

The CEF raised 260 numbered infantry battalions, two named infantry battalions (The Royal Canadian Regiment and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), 17 mounted regiments, 13 railway troop battalions, five pioneer battalions, four divisional supply trains, four divisional signals companies, a dozen engineering companies, over 80 field and heavy artillery batteries, fifteen field ambulance units, 23 general and stationary hospitals, and many other medical, dental, forestry, labour, tunnelling, cyclist, and service units. Two tank battalions were raised in 1918 but did not see service. Most of the infantry battalions were broken up and used as reinforcements, with a total of fifty being used in the field, including the mounted rifle units, which were re-organized as infantry. The artillery and engineering units underwent significant re-organization as the war progressed, in keeping with rapidly changing technological and tactical requirements.

Battalion military unit size

A battalion is a military unit. The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. A battalion is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. In some countries, the word "battalion" is associated with the infantry.

The Royal Canadian Regiment

The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the primary reserve. The RCR is ranked 9th in the order of precedence amongst Canadian Army regiments, but is the most senior infantry regiment that has regular force battalions.

Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry infantry regiment of the Canadian Army

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry is one of the three Regular Force infantry regiments of the Canadian Army of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is named for Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of the then Governor General of Canada. The regiment is composed of four battalions including a Primary Reserve battalion, for a total of 2,000 soldiers. The PPCLI is the main lodger unit of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton in Alberta and CFB Shilo in Manitoba, and attached to 3rd Canadian Division; as such it serves as the "local" regular infantry regiment for much of Western Canada. The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (LER), a Reserve Force battalion, is affiliated with the PPCLI but is not formally part of it. As part of this affiliation, the LER carries the designation '4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry'.

Another entity within the Canadian Expeditionary Force was the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. It consisted of several motor machine gun battalions, the Eatons, Yukon, and Borden Motor Machine Gun Batteries, and nineteen machine gun companies. During the summer of 1918, these units were consolidated into four machine gun battalions, one being attached to each of the four divisions in the Canadian Corps.

The Canadian Machine Gun Corps (CMGC) was an administrative corps of the Canadian Army. It was part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force sent to France during World War I. The Canadian Permanent Machine Gun Brigade was organized in the Permanent Force on 16 April 1917. The Canadian Permanent Machine Gun Brigade was redesignated the Royal Canadian Permanent Machine Gun Brigade on 16 June 1921. The Royal Canadian Permanent Machine Gun Brigade was disbanded on 1 November 1923. The Canadian Machine Gun Corps donated a wall plaque at St. George's Church in Ypres.

The Canadian Corps with its four infantry divisions comprised the main fighting force of the CEF. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade also served in France. Support units of the CEF included the Canadian Railway Troops, which served on the Western Front and provided a bridging unit for the Middle East; the Canadian Forestry Corps, which felled timber in Britain and France, and special units which operated around the Caspian Sea, in northern Russia and eastern Siberia. [12]

Major battles

Battle of Ypres, 1915

Enlistment form for a soldier of the 71st Battalion CEF, who saw action at Arras. This young man would suffer a shrapnel wound but later returned home safely to Canada. 71st Battalion CEF enlistment paper.png
Enlistment form for a soldier of the 71st Battalion CEF, who saw action at Arras. This young man would suffer a shrapnel wound but later returned home safely to Canada.

The 1915 Battle of Ypres, the first engagement of Canadian forces in the Great War, exposed Canadian soldiers and their commanders to modern war. They had previously experienced the effects of shellfire and participated in aggressive trench raiding despite a lack of formal training and generally inferior equipment. They were equipped with the frequently malfunctioning Ross rifle, the older, lighter and less reliable Colt machine gun and an inferior Canadian copy of British webbing equipment that rotted quickly and fell apart in the wet of the trenches.

In April 1915, they were introduced to yet another facet of modern war, gas. The Germans employed chlorine gas to create a hole in the French lines adjacent to the Canadian force and poured troops into the gap. The Canadians, operating for the most part in small groups and under local commanders, fired into the flanks of the German advance, forcing it to turn its attention onto the Canadian sector. For three days, Canadian and reinforcing British units fought to contain the penetration with a series of counter-attacks while using handkerchiefs soaked in urine to neutralize effects of the gas. One in every three of the inexperienced but determined Canadians became a casualty. The senior Canadian officers were also inexperienced at first and lacked communications with most of their troops. Notable among these was Arthur Currie, a brigade commander later became the commander of the Canadian Corps and who appointed as his divisional commanders only those who had fought well in this engagement. The battle cost the British Expeditionary Force - BEF (of which the Canadian Corps was a part of) 59,275 men and the Canadian Expeditionary Force over 6000. [13]

Battle of the Somme, July–November 1916

According to historian Gerald Nicholson, "The Somme offensive had no great geographical objectives. Its purpose was threefold – to relieve pressure on the French armies at Verdun, to inflict as heavy losses as possible on the German armies, and to aid allies on other fronts by preventing any further transfer of German troops from the west." [14] The Canadian Corps was formed after receiving the 2nd and 3rd and later, 4th divisions. Its first commander was Lieutenant-General Edwin Alderson, who was soon replaced by Lieutenant-General Julian Byng, in time to repulse a German attack at Mont Sorrel in the Ypres sector in June 1916. while much of the BEF was moving toward the Somme. In this engagement, Major-General Malcolm Mercer, commander of the newly formed 3rd Division was killed; he was the most senior Canadian to be killed in the war.

The corps did not participate in the battles of the Somme until September, but these began on 1 July after a seven-day bombardment. British losses on the first day amounted to 57,470, which included the casualties of the Newfoundland Regiment serving in the British 29th Division. The regiment was annihilated when it attacked at Beaumont Hamel. By the time the four Canadian divisions of the corps participated in September, the Mark I Tank first appeared in battle. Only a few were available because the production time was long for the unfamiliar and unproven technology; those delivered were committed in order to aid the expected breakthrough. The psychological impact of them was considerable, with some claiming that they made many German soldiers surrender immediately, although the four months of sustained combat, high casualties among the defending Germans and the appearance of the fresh Canadian Corps were more likely factors in the increasing surrenders. The toll of the five-month campaign cannot be statistically verified by a single reliable source, however historians have estimated German losses at roughly 670,000 and an Allied total of 623,907. [14] The Canadian Corps suffered almost 25,000 casualties in this the final phase of the operation, but like the remainder of the BEF, it had developed, significant experience in the use of infantry and artillery and in tactical doctrine, preparation and leadership under fire.

Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9–12 April 1917

The Battle of Vimy Ridge had significance for Canada as a young nation. For the first time the Canadian Corps, with all four of its divisions attacked as one. This Canadian offensive amounted to the capture of more land, prisoners and armaments than any previous offensive. [14] The main offensive tactic was the creeping barrage, an artillery strike combined with constant infantry progression through the battlefield. [note 1]

Passchendaele, October – November 1917

In August 1917, the Canadian Corps attacked Lens as a distraction to allow two armies of the BEF to begin the Third Battle of Ypres, the attack on Passchendaele Ridge. The Corps, led by Lieutenant General Arthur Currie, captured Hill 70 overlooking Lens and forced the Germans to launch more than twenty counter-attacks in attempting to remove the threat to its flank. The Ypres offensive began with the swift capture of the Messines Ridge, but weather, concrete defences and the lack of any other concurrent Allied effort meant that the BEF fought a muddy, bloody campaign against the main German force for two months. The BEF, including the ANZACs, pushed to within two kilometres of the objective with very high casualties and in ever-deepening mud.

By September, it became clear that a fresh force would need to be brought in for the final push. With the situation in Italy and within the French army deteriorating, it was decided to continue the push and Currie was ordered to bring in the Canadian Corps. He insisted on time to prepare, on reorganizing the now-worn down artillery assets and on being placed under command of General Plumer, a commander he trusted. The first assault began on October 26, 1917. It was designed to achieve about 500 meters in what had become known as "bite and hold" tactics but at great cost, 2,481 casualties. and made little progress. The second assault on October 30 cost another 1,321 soldiers and achieved another 500 metres but reached the high ground at Crest Farm. On November 6, after another round of preparations, a third attack won the town of Passchendaele, for another 2,238 killed or wounded and the final assault to capture the remainder of Passchendaele Ridge began on November 10 and was completed the same day. Nine Canadians earned the Victoria Cross in an area not much bigger than four football fields and the Canadian Corps completed the operation, which had taken the BEF three months to advance the eight kilometres onto the ridge. Canadian Corps suffered 15,654 battle casualties in the muddiest, best-known battle of the Great War. [15]

Final count

After extensive experience and success in battle from the Second Battle of Ypres, through the Somme and particularly in the Battle of Arras at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, and Passchendaele the Canadian Corps came to be regarded as an exceptional force by both Allied and German military commanders. [16] [17] Since they were mostly unmolested by the German army's offensive manoeuvres in the spring of 1918, the Canadians were ordered to spearhead the last campaigns of the War from the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918, which ended in a tacit victory for the Allies when the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

The Canadian Expeditionary Force lost 60,661 men killed or died during the war, representing 9.28% of the 619,636 who enlisted.

End of the CEF

The CEF was a special force, distinct from the Canadian Militia which mobilized in 1914 on a limited basis for home defence and to assist with the recruitment and training of the CEF. In 1918 the militia personnel active in Canada were granted CEF status, to simplify administration in the wake of conscription coming into force. Beginning in 1918, in anticipation of the disbandment of the CEF, plans for the re-organization of the militia were initiated, guided largely by the deliberations of the Otter Commission, convened for this purpose. Among the commission's recommendations was a plan by which individual units of the Canadian Militia, notably infantry and cavalry regiments, would be permitted to perpetuate the battle honours and histories of the CEF units that had fought during the war. [18]

During the latter part of the war, the Canadian Military Hospitals Commission reported on provision of employment for members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on their return to Canada, and the re-education of those who were unable to follow their previous occupations because of disability. [19]



Officially an infantry division would be classified at full animal strength at 5,241 horses and mules, 60.7 percent or 3,182 of these animals were part of the infantry division's artillery branch. [20]

Besides mounted and cavalry units, the CEF used horses, mules, donkeys and cattle to transport gun pieces on the battle front as motorised vehicles would not be able to handle rough terrain. [21] [22]

At the start of the war over 7000 horses were brought over to England and Europe from Canada [23] and by the end of the war over 8 million horses were lost in the course of fighting in Europe. [21]

Dogs and carrier pigeons were employed as messengers in the front. [21]

With horses, wagons were also used to transport equipment as well. [23]


Armoured carriers and armoured tractors
Mark I tank Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Training tank
Mark IV tanks Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom They were operated by CEF crews during battle, but they belonged to the British Army
Autocar trucks Flag of the United States.svg  United States 20 cars ordered: 8 machine gun carriers (motor Maxim MG battery), 5 ammo and supply cars, 4 officer transport, 1 gasoline carrier, 1 repair vehicle, 1 ambulance; 1 MG carrier displayed at Canadian War Museum [24]

Small arms

.303 rifles

Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Ross Rifle Mark I and Ross Mark II (multiple * variants)1905–1913Canadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg  Canada
Ross Rifle Mark III1913–1916Canadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg  Canada
Lee–Enfield (SMLE) Mark III1916–1943Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service pistols
Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Colt "New Service" Revolver—1900-1928 (also used by the NWMP and RCMP from 1905–1954)Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Colt Model 1911 Pistol—1914-1945Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Smith & Wesson 2nd Model "Hand Ejector" Revolver—1915-1951Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Approved private purchase and secondary side-arms
Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Webley Mark VI RevolverFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Enfield No. 2 MkI RevolverFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Bayonets and combat knives
Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Pattern 1907 bayonet Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Ross Bayonet (for 1905 and 1910 rifles)Canadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg  Canada

Machine guns, light machine guns and other weapons

Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Colt Machine Gun 1914-1916Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Vickers Machine Gun 1914-1950sFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Lewis Machine Gun—1916-c.1945Flag of the United States.svg  United States


Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
.303 British Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
.455 Webley Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Uniforms, load bearing and protective equipment

Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Service dress 1903-1939
Canadian pattern and British pattern

Load bearing equipment

Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Oliver Pattern Equipment 1898-19??
1908 pattern web equipment

Head dress

Model/TypePeriod or Years in UseManufacturer/Origins
Glengarry Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Tam o'shanter Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Field Service Cap Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Brodie helmet after 1915Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom


Chinese labourers were also brought over to Europe, especially the Canadian Railway Troops. [25] From 1917 to 1918 84,000 Chinese labourers were recruited for the Chinese Labour Corps from China (via Shandong Province) that were shipped to Canada and then some the Western Front. Many of these labourers died in Belgium and France. [26]

In literature

A considerable part of the plot of the novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies describes the protagonist's experiences as a soldier of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.[ citation needed ]

See also


  1. The Canadian artillery was reinforced with British units and its planning was directed by a British officer, Major Alan Brooke, serving with the Corps HQ.

Related Research Articles

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War. Planning for a British Expeditionary Force began with the Haldane reforms of the British Army carried out by the Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War (1899–1902).

63rd (Royal Naval) Division

The 63rd Division was a United Kingdom infantry division of the First World War. It was originally formed as the Royal Naval Division at the outbreak of the war, from Royal Navy and Royal Marine reservists and volunteers, who were not needed for service at sea. The division fought at Antwerp in 1914 and at Gallipoli in 1915. In 1916, following many losses among the original naval volunteers, the division was transferred to the British Army as the 63rd Division, re-using the number from the disbanded second-line 63rd Division Territorial Force. As an Army formation, it fought on the Western Front for the remainder of the war.

Canadian Corps World War I corps

The Canadian Corps was a World War I corps formed from the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1915 after the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division in France. The corps was expanded by the addition of the 3rd Canadian Division in December 1915 and the 4th Canadian Division in August 1916. The organization of a 5th Canadian Division began in February 1917 but it was still not fully formed when it was broken up in February 1918 and its men used to reinforce the other four divisions.

First Battle of Ypres First World War battle fought for the strategic town of Ypres

The First Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War, fought on the Western Front around Ypres, in West Flanders, Belgium, during October and November 1914. The battle was part of the First Battle of Flanders, in which German, French and Belgian armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fought from Arras in France to Nieuport on the Belgian coast, from 10 October to mid-November. The battles at Ypres began at the end of the Race to the Sea, reciprocal attempts by the German and Franco-British armies to advance past the northern flank of their opponents. North of Ypres, the fighting continued in the Battle of the Yser (16–31 October), between the German 4th Army, the Belgian army and French marines.

Second Battle of Ypres A battle in 1915 during the First World War

During World War I, the Battle of Ypres 1915 was fought from 22 April – 25 May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium. The First Battle of Ypres had been fought the previous autumn. The Second Battle of Ypres was the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front. It also marked the first time a former colonial force defeated a European power in Europe.

1st Canadian Division division of the Canadian Armed Forces

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Battle of Amiens (1918) A battle during the First World War

The Battle of Amiens, also known as the Third Battle of Picardy, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive which began on 8 August 1918, later known as the Hundred Days Offensive, that ultimately led to the end of the First World War. Allied forces advanced over 11 kilometres (7 mi) on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war, with Gen Henry Rawlinson's British Fourth Army playing the decisive role. The battle is also notable for its effects on both sides' morale and the large number of surrendering German forces. This led Erich Ludendorff to describe the first day of the battle as "the black day of the German Army". Amiens was one of the first major battles involving armoured warfare.

31st Battalion (Alberta), CEF

The 31st Battalion (Alberta), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 17 May 1915. On 18 September 1915 it disembarked in France, where it fought with the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

Second Battle of Passchendaele

The Second Battle of Passchendaele was the culminating attack during the Third Battle of Ypres of the First World War. The battle took place in the Ypres Salient area of the Western Front, in and around the Belgian village of Passchendaele, between 26 October and 10 November 1917. The Canadian Corps relieved the exhausted II Anzac Corps, continuing the advance started with the First Battle of Passchendaele and ultimately capturing the village. Beyond gaining favourable observation positions, the battle was intended to gain drier winter positions on higher ground.

The 27th Battalion, CEF was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 17 May 1915. It disembarked in France on 18 September 1915, where it fought as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

British Army during World War I

The British Army during World War I fought the largest and most costly war in its long history. Unlike the French and German Armies, the British Army was made up exclusively of volunteers—as opposed to conscripts—at the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, the British Army was considerably smaller than its French and German counterparts.

10th Battalion (Canadians), CEF

The 10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force was a Canadian field force unit created during the First World War. Technically distinct from the Militia from which its soldiers were drawn the unit served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), specifically in the 1st Canadian Division from 1914 to 1919. The battalion participated in every major Canadian battle of the First World War, and set a record for the most decorations earned by a Canadian unit in a single battle at Hill 70. The unit was known to its contemporaries simply as The Fighting Tenth.

The 50th Battalion (Calgary), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 50th Battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 27 October 1915. The battalion disembarked in France on 11 August 1916, where it fought as part of the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

4th Battalion, CEF was an infantry battalion raised as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force for service during the First World War. Raised in Canada in September 1914, the battalion sailed to the United Kingdom within weeks of its establishment. After a short period of training it was committed to the fighting on the Western Front, remaining in France and Belgium until the war ended. It returned to Canada in mid-1919 and after its personnel had been demobilized, the battalion was subsequently disbanded in 1920.

2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles

The 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, was authorized on 7 November 1914 as the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF. The battalion recruited in Victoria and Vernon, British Columbia and was mobilized in Victoria. An earlier incarnation was raised for Boer War.

Battle of the Menin Road Ridge

The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, sometimes called "Battle of the Menin Road", was the third British general attack of the Third Battle of Ypres in the First World War. The battle took place from 20–25 September 1917, in the Ypres Salient in Belgium on the Western Front. During the pause in British and French general attacks between late August and 20 September, the British changed some infantry tactics, adopting the leap-frog method of advance, where waves of infantry stopped once they reached their objective and consolidated the ground, while other waves passed through the objective to attack the next one and the earlier waves became the tactical reserve. General adoption of the method was made possible when more artillery was brought into the salient, by increasing the number of aircraft involved in close air support and by specialising the tasks of air defence, contact-patrol, counter-attack patrol, artillery observation and ground-attack.

197th (Lancashire Fusiliers) Brigade

The 197th Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army that saw distinguished active service in both the First and Second World Wars.

25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles), CEF

The 25th Battalion, CEF was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. It was the first of three to be raised entirely in Nova Scotia during the war. The 25th served in Belgium and France as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division from 16 September 1915 until the end of the war. Regimental headquarters were established at the Halifax Armouries, with recruitment offices in Sydney, Amherst, New Glasgow, Truro and Yarmouth. Of the 1000 Nova Scotians that started with the battalion, after the first year of fighting, 100 were left in the battalion, while 900 men were killed, taken prisoner, missing or injured.

46th Battalion (South Saskatchewan), CEF

The 46th Battalion, CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 46th Battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 23 October 1915. On 11 August 1916 it disembarked in France, where it fought with the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

54th Battalion (Kootenay), CEF

The 54th Battalion (Kootenay), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 54th Battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914, embarked for Britain on 22 November 1915 and disembarked in France on 14 August 1916. It fought as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.


  1. Godefroy, A. (April 1, 2006). "Canadian Military Effectiveness in the First World War." In The Canadian Way of War: Serving the National Interest Bernd Horn (ed.) Dundurn Press. ISBN   978-1-55002-612-2
  2. Comeau, Robert (November 12, 2008). "Passchendaele cemented Canada's world role". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. The Maple Leaf. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013.
  3. Amy J. Shaw (1 July 2009). Crisis of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in Canada during the First World War. UBC Press. pp. 28, 199. ISBN   978-0-7748-5854-0.
  4. 1951-, Dennis, Patrick M., (2017). Reluctant warriors : Canadian conscripts and the Great War. Vancouver, British Columbia: UBC Press. ISBN   9780774835978. OCLC   985071597.
  5. Gordon L. Heath (13 January 2014). Canadian Churches and the First World War. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 9. ISBN   978-1-63087-290-8.
  6. René Chartrand (20 December 2012). The Canadian Corps in World War I. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 11. ISBN   978-1-78200-906-1.
  7. World War I: The Definitive Visual History. DK Publishing. 21 April 2014. p. 231. ISBN   978-1-4654-3490-6.
  8. Brock Millman (6 April 2016). Polarity, Patriotism, and Dissent in Great War Canada, 1914-1919. University of Toronto Press. ISBN   978-1-4426-6763-1.
  9. Original author is unknown. The photo comes from a private family collection. They would have been taken in late 1915 or early 1916, before their deployment.
  10. Morton, Desmond. When Your Number's Up
  11. Richard Holt (2017). "4". Filling the Ranks: Manpower in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 283. ISBN   978-0-7735-4877-0.
  12. Stacey, C. & N. Hillmer "Canadian Expeditionary Force". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  13. Dancocks, Daniel G. Welcome to Flanders Fields: the First Canadian Battle of the Great War : Ypres, 1915. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1988
  14. 1 2 3 Nicholson, Gerald W. L. Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War. Ottawa: R. Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery, 1962.]
  15. [Bercuson, David Jay. The Fighting Canadians: Our Regimental History from New France to Afghanistan. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2008.]
  16. Nathan M. Greenfield (10 October 2008). Baptism of Fire: The Second Battle of Ypres and the Forging of Canada, April 1915. HarperCollins. p. 352. ISBN   978-0-00-639576-8.
  17. William Kaye Lamb (1971). Canada's Five Centuries: From Discovery to Present Day. McGraw-Hill Company of Canada. p. 230. ISBN   978-0-07-092907-4.
  18. "Otter Committee". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  19. The Provision of Employment for Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on Their Return to Canada, and the Re-Education of Those Who Are Unable to follow their previous occupations because of disability. Canada Military Hospitals Commission Nabu Press August 2010. This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.
  20. Nance, Susan (2015). Historical Animal. New York: Syracuse University. p. 278. ISBN   9780815634065.
  21. 1 2 3 "Canadian Expeditionary Force - Library and Archives Canada Blog". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  23. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2009-02-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. Ma, Suzanne (11 November 2011). "Chinese recruited for war had secret passage through Canada". Retrieved 18 May 2017.

Further reading