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Date > 1800 > 1890-1899 > 1896

Subject > Armed Forces

Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site of Canada: End of a Long Reign

Type: Document

Wilfrid Laurier's penchant for compromise allowed him to remain in power for 15 years, earning him the nickname of the "Great Conciliator". But in 1911, this talent proved inadequate to the task of winning elections.

Site: Parks Canada

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

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

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

Major Arthur L. ("Gat") Howard (1846-1901) - South African War

Type: Document

Major Arthur L. (Gat) Howard accepted the position of machine gun officer in the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (later called the Royal Canadian Dragoons). Instead of returning home from the South African War with his unit in December 1900, Howard organized the Canadian Scouts and took command of the unit.

Site: Canadian War Museum

The Price Of Exclusion

Type: Document

The attempt by Canadian military authorities to impose a British military tradition on the whole of the population during the years following Confederation in 1867 led to a lack of support by Francophones for the Militia. Each linguistic community mistrusted the other's motives.

Site: National Defence

The Canadian Navy League

Type: Document

The Canadian branch of the (British) Navy League lobbied for a Canadian Navy Militia to complement the Army, but found little political support due to the financial cost.

Site: National Defence

Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Otter (1843-1929) - South African War

Type: Document

Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Otter became the first Canadian-born officer to command this country’s military. As commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in South Africa, his no nonsense, no frills approach to soldiering brought him into conflict with the less disciplined ways of his officers and men, but his austere professionalism got results.

Site: Canadian War Museum

Volunteer Training

Type: Document

Members of both the Active and Non-Active Militia undertook various types of qualification training including exams and courses, often at personal expense and under poor conditions.

Site: National Defence

Rural Corps Problems

Type: Document

Within the militia, rural units experienced the most problems. Many units were created simply to line the pockets of unscrupulous commanders. The system promoted paid annual inspections without adequate training of the members or maintenance of weapons during the year.

Site: National Defence