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Meals

Type: Document

British army rations during the 18th and 19th centuries were dull but adequate. Each day, a man got 1 pound (489 g) of bread or flour, 1 pound of beef (or ½ pound of salt pork), a little butter and cheese and a pint (0.568 l) of beer. Vegetables or other items had to be bought by the soldier.

Site: National Defence

Housing

Type: Document

British army barracks during the 18th and 19th centuries were laid out like crowded dormitories. Each room housed a company (50-100 men) plus any wives. Beds or bunks ran along the sides, with tables and benches down the centre. In Canada, a cast-iron stove heated the room.

Site: National Defence

The Military Wedding

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, marriage for the common British soldier was governed mostly by custom. Marriage involved 'leaping over the sword', where bride and groom did just that in the presence of the man's companions. Official permission was needed in theory, but seldom given.

Site: National Defence

Blowing Up The Powder Keg

Type: Document

The life of the French troops in the small posts of the West was occasionally too exciting. In 1751, a French officer was only able to save his skin from 200 hostile Assiniboines by waving a lit torch over an open barrel of gunpowder, threatening to take them with him in death.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Tacticians

Type: Document

To compensate for their lack of numbers, a new style of war developed from Amerindian tactics was created by French officers in Canada. Two Canadian-born men with much Iroquois experience were especially influential: Charles Le Moyne and Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière.

Site: National Defence

Barracks

Type: Document

The British garrison in Canada lived almost exclusively in barracks during the 18th and 19th centuries, unlike troops during the earlier French regime. This made British troops a somewhat isolated society within the colony as a whole. The authorities felt that this improved discipline.

Site: National Defence

British Invasion Plan - Conquering New France

Type: Interactive Resource

Major General John Campbell, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in North America, 1756-1757, was a talented strategist. This site outlines his impressive plan to invade New France.

Site: National Defence

Chaplains

Type: Document

Religion was very important in the society of New France, and this was true amongst the military also. The Recollect order of Franciscan monks acted as military chaplains in the colony. These men held Mass, herd confessions and administered last rites as needed.

Site: National Defence

The Mess

Type: Document

The social centre of a British officer's life was his regimental Mess. The term comes from the practice of 'messing', or sharing the cost of meals to improve standards. By the 19th century, the Mess was the equivalent of a good social club were officers found food and recreation.

Site: National Defence

Major-General Guy Simonds, Sicily, 1943

Type: Image

Guy Granville Simonds (1903-1974) commanded the 1st Canadian Division during the Sicilian campaign of 1943. Later, he led the 5th Armored Canadian Division (Italy, 1943-1944) and II Canadian Corps (North-West Europe, 1944-1945). (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-486)

Site: National Defence