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Camp of the 43rd Regiment of Foot during the siege of Fort Beauséjour, June 1755

Type: Image

The men of the British 43rd Regiment of Foot were part of a 2,000 strong army under Lietenant-Colonel Robert Monkton that took Fort Beauséjour after a brief siege in the summer of 1755. At left can be seen men of the grenadier company, distinguished by their pointed mitre headdresses. In the centre are ordinary soldiers who have the tricorne hats worn by most of the regiment. The young men to the right are drummers, wearing coats with reversed colours (white with red facings instead of red with white). This was intended to make drummers easy to spot in a fight, which was important, since drum beats were used to give orders. The presence of women and children seem odd in a military encampment, but each British regiment would have a small number of soldiers' families following them on campaign. Reconstruction by Lewis Parker. (Parks Canada)

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

The billeted soldier's departure, circa 1790

Type: Image

In 18th century Canada, a good many soldiers were ‘billeted’ (lodged) in private houses rather than in barracks.

Site: National Defence

Molly Lamb – Canada’s First female War Artist

Type: Document

In 1943, the Canadian High Commissioner to London, Vincent Massey, championed the creation of the Canadian War Records Program. Molly Lamb was the first and only female artist allowed after the war to tour the theatres of operations, although several other women artists made contributions on the home front.

Site: National Defence

Warning bell, 1660s

Type: Image

Because of the constant Iroquois surprise attacks on settlers at Montreal between 1660 and 1665, the nursing nuns at the hospital also kept a lookout and would ring their bell to give the alarm whenever they spotted something suspicious.

Site: National Defence

Prisoner’s of War

Type: Document

Those who had been prisoners of war rejoiced at the end of the war and their return to Canada. They were marred by the maltreatment they had received in forced marches, concentration camps and brutal guards. Accompanying these returnees, were new Canadians – foreign spouses and dependents, and other nationals - such as the Poles - who had fought alongside the Canadians.

Site: National Defence

Poor Officers and Food

Type: Document

Officers with no income beyond their military pay would have to live very frugal lives. All officers were provided with much the same rations as the common soldiers, with some extras. In some more remote posts, officers' wives were given rations as well.

Site: National Defence

Quebec as seen from the north shortly after the 1759 siege of the city

Type: Image

This engraving, published in 1761, shows the walls of Quebec as seen from the north. The large white building seen at right centre is the Orphan's and Ursulines Nunnery. The convent was home to some 50 nuns who taught (according to a 1753 document) about 60 boarders and 150 day students. (Library and Archives Canada, C-000358)

Site: National Defence

Nutrition

Type: Document

When the calorie content of the basic military ration is calculated, it seems that soldiers were under-nourished. In practice, men made use of local resources (game, gardens) to obtain extra food. A Swedish traveller to Canada in 1749 found the men plump and in good health.

Site: National Defence

Regular British Troops Arrive

Type: Document

The Oregon Crisis of 1845 made it important to send British regular troops to Rupert's Land. A detachment of the 6th Regiment of Foot arrived in 1846, becoming the first British unit stationed on the prairies. The threat of an American attack from the south was an ongoing worry.

Site: National Defence