Unveiling Women in War: The Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War

When Canadian men rushed to the recruiting stations in 1914, professionally trained nurses could enlist with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC); the first contingent, composed of 101 nursing sisters, sailed for England as early as September 1914. [1]  For women who were not trained nurses, however, there were relatively few opportunities to actively participate […]

Beyond the Poet: John McCrae and the Canadian Army Medical Corps

This Sunday, January 28th, will mark the centenary of the death of the well-known Canadian poet- John McCrae. Author of the poem In Flanders Fields, McCrae’s memory is immortalized in the words he wrote during the Second Battle of Ypres. The Canadian soldier, however, was more than just a poet. When the war broke out […]

Bicycles in combat: Cyclists during the First World War

The First World War is often remembered for its static nature and trench warfare. In its opening stages, however, the opposing armies looked towards mobility. Reasonably lightweight, easy to maintain, and relatively quiet, the bicycle earned itself a valuable role during the First World War. 

A Christmas truce on the Western Front

In an otherwise devastatingly violent and inhumane war, the Christmas truce was a series of widespread and spontaneous truces that arose along the Western Front in 1914. Becoming one of the most famous and romanticized events of the First World War, it is said that enemies met in no man’s land, exchanged gifts, took photographs, and […]

The Zeebrugge Raid: Block-ships during WWI

“Ahead of her, as she drove through the water, rolled the smoke-screen, her cloak of invisibility, wrapped about her by the small craft. The north-east wind moved the volume of it shoreward ahead of the ships; beyond it, the distant town and its defenders were unsuspicious; and it was not till Vindictive was close upon […]

The Raid: Fighting around Vimy Ridge, March 1917

We’re headed to Vimy in France this week for the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Before the centenary, I wanted to take an opportunity to write about an often-forgotten story of the fighting around Vimy before the Canadian Corps attack on 9 April – Major-General David Watson’s raid on 1 March, 1917. 

1918: Moreuil Wood

We’ve got something special today on the blog. The Corps Historian of the Canadian Armoured Corps, Michael McNorgan, has written an article shedding light on a battle that not enough Canadians know about – The Battle of Moreuil Wood, fought 99 years ago on 30 March 1918.  

"Through mud and blood": The Development of Tank Corps in WW I

The tank was one of the many modern weapons to come out of the First World War. “Landships”, as they were originally known, had existed in British speculative fiction for some time in the later portion of the 19th century; indeed, H.G. Wells had written about an armoured fighting vehicle shortly before the war. 

Shooting in France: WW I and the Military Sniper

From our library today, a plate from a small photographic history of the 67th  “Western Scots” Battalion, 4th Divisional Pioneers. In sharp contrast to their compatriots, the members of the Scout and Sniper Section are not wearing their military best. In fact, most of them are dressed to “match-in”, including the individual in the back […]