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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Wages and Pensions

Demobilization and Retirement

Type: Document

Before reforms in the mid-19th century, most British soldiers left the army only when their regiment was disbanded in the aftermath of a war. When this occurred in Canada, men were offered land to encourage them to settle in the colony. Pensions were rare, and worth little.

Site: National Defence

Mutinies and Desertion

Type: Document

Despite the ferocious punishments they were subject to during the 18th and 19th centuries, mutiny was very rare amongst British troops. Desertion, on the other hand, was a constant problem, and grew worse as travel to the United States became easier during the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Pay

Type: Document

A soldier's pay was never high, and very seldom adjusted as the cost of living increased. From 1797 to 1867, the rate was a shilling (12 pence) a day, from which deductions were made for food, clothing and other expenses. Little money would be left to spend as a man wished.

Site: National Defence

Daily Camp Pay by Rank

Type: Document

A private serving in the Canadian militia earned about 50 cents a day in the 1870s, while a day labourer earned $1.00 a day. Men attending camp were paid according to a scale based on their rank. Rates of camp pay didn't vary much between 1868 and 1898.

Site: National Defence

Growing Canadian Nationalism

Type: Document

Canadian participation in South Africa fostered a growth in Canadian nationalism due to the social differences between Canadians and the British, the British Army's mistreatment of lower ranks, and the desire of Canadian politicians to control what they saw as Canadian troops. Memories of the combatants to the horrors of the war receded over time and new Canadian military myths were created.

Site: National Defence

Conditions of Militia Service

Type: Document

Budget cuts by the governments of the day often directly affected men and officers and their willingness to stay in the militia.

Site: National Defence