Forgotten Casualties: Canada’s Spanish Influenza Epidemic

In the spring of 1918 Canada had been at war in Europe for almost four years, and the news from the front was not good. The German Army had broken through the British lines around Saint-Quentin and the British Army was in full retreat. There was little attention paid to the increased activity of a […]

“Fake News’’: A World War I Phenomenon

After the American election last fall, we all came into contact with a seemingly new trend; fake news. It felt like it was everywhere, the internet was full of contradictory headlines and newspapers struggled to keep up. An article presented as fact one hour was debunked the next, and we suddenly had to come to […]

But who are you? A quick course in Canadian patches from the First World War

One of the challenges of mobilising thousands of soldiers is telling them apart. Unlike the eye-catching uniforms of the 19th century, most armies during the First World War employed a uniform that matched more easily into the surrounding landscape. By the end of the war even the highland units were using a form khaki battledress […]

“Pro patria mori”: The McGill University Companies

I recently attended a lecture by historian Tim Cook on the legacy of Vimy, held at McGill. One thing that Dr. Cook mentioned was how closely entwined McGill’s history is with that the First World War, and how many buildings, plaques, and windows can be found around the campus that make reference to those from […]

“The Dead Marshes”: The Post-War Landscape of France and Flanders

In the second book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Two Towers”, Frodo and Gollum pass through the Dead Marshes where, “The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy milky surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows […]

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.