The Issues Crystallize

Canadian Military Life After South Africa

Imperial Control Sundered

Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia

Caption: Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia

After 1902, pressure built up to make the militia an increasingly Canadian arm of the federal government. As early as January 1900 the minister responsible, Frederick Borden, was able to gain approval for the idea of a corps, which he described as provisional, of over 1,000 men, an eight-company battalion to be called the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, to relieve the British garrison in Halifax, which was needed in South Africa. In 1905 and 1906 the British garrisons in Halifax and Esquimalt were permanently replaced by Canadian men. In this process, the ceiling for the permanent force was raised first from 1,000 to 2,000 men and then, before 1914, to 4,000 men. Again in 1904, the Militia Council was formed and command of the militia passed to Canadians. This signalled the end of the precedence of British officers over Canadians of similar rank. Canadians' confidence in their military talents and abilities would encourage them to choose a different rifle and uniforms somewhat distinct from those of the imperial troops.

Additional Images

Canadian Hussar trooper, circa 1905