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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1900 > 1910-1919

Canadian POWs

Type: Document

During the First World War nearly 3,000 Canadians became prisoners of war.

Site: National Defence

Assertion of Canadian Identity

Type: Document

The development of a Canadian army overseas promoted the growth of a Canadian identity that was separate from the British model. Canada's military independence on the battlefield would be succeeded, over the decades, by gradual political independence.

Site: National Defence

Consequences of the Naval Bill

Type: Document

Opposition by all groups to the new navy became an issue in the 1911 election that saw Laurier defeated. The navy was mothballed by the new government and a monetary contribution to the British Navy was made instead. Canada’s navy hung on until better times by retaining two mine-sweepers for training purposes.

Site: National Defence

Canada’s Military Effort: Summing Up

Type: Document

Canada’s effort during the First World War was exceptional given its small population and its military history. Those Canadians who sacrificed their lives are remembered in the many monuments and cemeteries in Europe.

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

Marrying Combatants

Type: Document

Marriage in the Canadian military was subject to many regulations. This can be seen in the experience of Blanchee Lavallee and Henri Trudeau.

Site: National Defence

On Top of the Ridge

Type: Document

Canada's achievement at Vimy was a contrast to the previous failure of the French Neville offensive. Canadians were later used at Arleux-Gobelle and Fresnoy as part of the British effort to keep the Germans occupied while the French army, suffering from a series of mutinies due to high casualties, waited for the Americans to arrive.

Site: National Defence

The Royal Canadian Navy Created

Type: Document

The Naval Bill of 1910 created a Canadian navy with two obsolete British ships manned by British crews on loan, until Canadians could be recruited. Canadian Imperialists derided the acquisitions as being obsolete and a waste of money. Opposition by French Canadians to imperial entanglements were furthered by Henri Bourassa who championed the notion that the only real threat to Canada was the United States; since the British refused to confront the Americans - then there was no need for a navy.

Site: National Defence

Canadians in Imperial Air Forces

Type: Document

Many Canadians excelled as combat pilots throughout the war zones and later laid the ground-work for an independent Canadian Air Force.

Site: National Defence