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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1900 > 1900-1909

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

The Empire's Naval Strategy

Type: Document

Imperial naval defence policy sought a united and centralized fleet in 1902 to counter the German threat, a change from defending the Empire in the colonies and dominions. While British attempts for total control over all naval ships was opposed in Canada, domestic efforts to create a Canadian navy languished. The first Canadian patrol boats were purchased as a contribution to the Imperial naval policy, but used for fisheries protection rather than for defence needs.

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 The force was withdrawn after a year and replaced with a Non-Permanent Militia Unit raised in Dawson City.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

Trooper, Canadian Mounted Rifles, 1900-1902

Type: Image

Six regiments of Canadian Mounted Rifles were sent to South Africa in 1900-1902, although the final four arrived after the end of the war, and saw no service. All of them had khaki uniforms. This man wears British-made clothing, issued to replace inferior Canadian uniforms made of canvas. The 'stetson' hat was the distinguishing mark of a Canadian soldier during the war. These were bought from an American company. The Mounted Rifles wore Oliver pattern equipment (invented by a British doctor and used only by the Canadians) made up of a belt, bayonet, and haversack, along with Orndorff pattern bandoliers from British stocks. They were armed with Lee-Enfield Mark I rifles. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

The Price Of Exclusion

Type: Document

The attempt by Canadian military authorities to impose a British military tradition on the whole of the population during the years following Confederation in 1867 led to a lack of support by Francophones for the Militia. Each linguistic community mistrusted the other's motives.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Control of the Militia

Type: Document

Lord Dundonald fell afoul of the Canadian government’s patronage system over the appointment of a Regimental commander and by speaking out publicly against the government in the 1904 election campaign. His dismissal was used by the new government to establish a Militia Council reporting directly to the Minister of Militia and Defence. Direct Canadian political control of the militia was now established.

Site: National Defence

The Canadian Navy League

Type: Document

The Canadian branch of the (British) Navy League lobbied for a Canadian Navy Militia to complement the Army, but found little political support due to the financial cost.

Site: National Defence