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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1800 > 1890-1899

Militia Deficiencies

Type: Document

Deficiencies in the militia included a lack of weapons, the tendency of militia members to lose uniforms and equipment, political interference, and rising economic sacrifices by individual members. These problems were compounded by the lack of a real enemy to focus political interest in solving the problems.

Site: National Defence

Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia

Type: Image

Built in 1898-1900 to protect the entrance to the Royal Navy (and later the Royal Canadian Navy) base on the Pacific, the battery has been restored to its appearance during the Second World War 1939-45. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954

Type: Image

Except for a few details, the full dress uniform of officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, remained essentially the same since the college was founded in 1874. As shown in this 1954 photo, only the shakos and pith helmets worn on parade by first-class officer-cadets disappeared, replaced by pill-box caps. (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-2049)

Site: National Defence

Sergeant, Hamilton Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, 1894

Type: Image

In 1894, the Canadian volunteer militia artillery included 17 field batteries. Field batteries were mostly armed with British 9-pounder Rifled Muzzle Loading guns, which were obsolete by the 1890s and were replaced with British 18-pounder Quick-Firing guns beginning in 1906. The uniform of the Royal Canadian Artillery was very similar to that of the British Royal Artillery except that Canadians normally wore white 'universal' pattern helmets on all occasions rather than the blue-black 'home service' helmet worn by the British gunners.

Site: National Defence

Justice at the Muzzle of a Cannon

Type: Document

During the mid 19th century, outbreaks of piracy by Amerindians were met with strong responses by the Royal Navy. In one such incident in 1864, pirates murdered the crew of a merchant vessel. When the Navy arrived and met with armed resistance, 8 villages were burned.

Site: National Defence

Command of the Militia

Type: Document

From 1867 to 1904, the militia system was commanded by British General Officers who were often in conflict with Canadian Defence Ministers over matters of appointments, budgets, and the role played by Canada’s forces in the Empire. During this period small improvements were made in the staff system and the training of officers.

Site: National Defence

The Yukon Campaign

Type: Document

The discovery of gold in the Yukon resulted in a contingent of volunteers from the permanent force contingent being sent, in 1898, to northern Canada to assert territorial jurisdiction from American expansionists. The force was withdrawn after a year and replaced with a Non-Permanent Militia Unit raised in Dawson City.

Site: National Defence

The Military Lessons of the War

Type: Document

One of the results of the South African War for the Canadian militia was the formation of the necessary support Corps to maintain troops in combat. Politicians increased military investments, resulting in better pay, new equipment and uniforms, and more training facilities.

Site: National Defence

Officer, 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1891

Type: Image

The Queen's Own Rifles, a Toronto volunteer regiment dating back to 1860, were second in seniority in the Canadia Volunteer Militia. They wore uniforms closely modelled on those of the British army. The white pith helmet was a passing fashion for the QOR - they had previously worn a black fur rifle busby, and would be wearing them again for full dress by 1900. The regiment was one of the most active Canadian volunteer units, fighting Fenians at Ridgeway in 1866 and Métis in Saskatchewan in 1885.

Site: National Defence

Private, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, winter dress, circa 1899

Type: Image

In addition to the uniforms they wore during the winter, Canadian infantry were also provided with fur hats, scarves, winter coats similar to those worn by the British Army, mittens, and warm boots. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence