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Date > 1800 > 1890-1899

Organization > National Defence

Militia Deficiencies

Type: Document

Deficiencies in the militia included a lack of weapons, the tendency of militia members to lose uniforms and equipment, political interference, and rising economic sacrifices by individual members. These problems were compounded by the lack of a real enemy to focus political interest in solving the problems.

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

Sergeant, Hamilton Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, 1894

Type: Image

In 1894, the Canadian volunteer militia artillery included 17 field batteries. Field batteries were mostly armed with British 9-pounder Rifled Muzzle Loading guns, which were obsolete by the 1890s and were replaced with British 18-pounder Quick-Firing guns beginning in 1906. The uniform of the Royal Canadian Artillery was very similar to that of the British Royal Artillery except that Canadians normally wore white 'universal' pattern helmets on all occasions rather than the blue-black 'home service' helmet worn by the British gunners.

Site: National Defence

Training Camps

Type: Document

The system of militia training camps did not work well as it perpetuated the problem of paying units that arrived for training without a full complement of men. There was a high turnover of men as they left for better jobs, leaving units in a continuous cycle of training new members to replace those who left.

Site: National Defence

Artillery Developments in Canada

Type: Document

The role and importance of artillery to the Canadian Army evolved as artillery technology improved. Canadian gunners began to use artillery in 1871 with 9-pound muzzle loaders and, by 1918, had adopted 18-pound field guns and 60-pound howitzers.

Site: National Defence

Justice at the Muzzle of a Cannon

Type: Document

During the mid 19th century, outbreaks of piracy by Amerindians were met with strong responses by the Royal Navy. In one such incident in 1864, pirates murdered the crew of a merchant vessel. When the Navy arrived and met with armed resistance, 8 villages were burned.

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