Canadian Military History Gateway
Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Recruitment and Demobilization
Organization > National Defence
Despite their disunity, the staff of New France agreed on one thing - the need for more fighting men to defend the colony. During the winter of 1756-57, Governor Vaudreuil reorganized existing resources, and two more battalions from the French metropolitan army were dispatched.
In fighting along the Cote d’Azur at the end of WW2, the Canadian officer Ralph Wilson Becket won the American Silver Star, along with Sergeant Thomas Price, the most decorated Canadian aboriginal soldier.
The Canadian government allowed individuals to raise private military formations to serve in South Africa. Lord Strathcona raised a regiment of mounted rifles under Sam Steele. The British also recruited over 1,000 men to serve in the British South African Police as mounted policemen.
A new Liberal government in 1963 chose a new mission for the reserves – survival training and territorial defence, with a reduced size. Following this decision, the size of the reserves fluctuated, as the relevance of the militia and their role became less apparent.
Encouraged by weak British resistance, the American rebels were able to capture Fort Saint-Jean south of Montreal in November 1775. This left the city without defence, and Governor Carleton fled. The rebels took Montreal, and began trying to raise Canadian troops to fight for them.
A young Canadian officer, Ralph Wilson Becket, joined the First Special Service Force, a combined Canadian-American mountain warfare force, and saw service at Kiska and the invasion of southern France.
One of the problems that confronted the Department of National Defence at the outbreak of war in 1939 was the provision of officers for the rapidly-expanding armed forces of Canada. Mobilization instructions from 1937 detailed the available sources from which such officers might be drawn, but said nothing about the methods of their selection.
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After 1777, in order to keep the American rebels on the defensive, the British adopted the old Canadian tactic of raiding enemy settlements. The raids were made by mixed groups of Amerindians and soldiers. The troops used were American loyalists such as Butler's Rangers.
This report is an attempt to deal with aspects of recruitment, training, and psychological assessment in order to best utilize the manpower available to the Canadian Army Overseas.
Before reforms in the mid-19th century, most British soldiers left the army only when their regiment was disbanded in the aftermath of a war. When this occurred in Canada, men were offered land to encourage them to settle in the colony. Pensions were rare, and worth little.