Fighting Irish: The 199th Battalion, Irish Canadians, in the First World War

The Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Canadian Rangers [199th Battalion CEF]. Photograph courtesy Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-022670
The Duchess of Connaught’s Own Irish Canadian Rangers [199th Battalion CEF]. Photograph courtesy Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-022670
Yesterday, we dug up a great image of a recruiting poster for the 199th Battalion (Irish Canadians) in honour of Saint Patrick’s Day. After finding it, and looking through our own archive to see what else we had, I started to think more about the battalion and where it came from. The 199th Battalion is possibly one of the least know of those recruited in Quebec. It has no descendant unit and I’m not entirely sure where its surviving records are kept. Yet, the 199th represents an important note not only about Montreal’s Irish community, but also the choices facing the Irish in Canada as a whole during this period. Would Canada’s Irish fight with the King and the British Empire, or would they follow their compatriots in Ireland, many of whom refused to fight a war for what they regarded as their colonial occupier?  Continue reading “Fighting Irish: The 199th Battalion, Irish Canadians, in the First World War”

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The business of war: Canadian businesses and the First World War

[Lyman Tube and Supply Co. Roll of Honour],[c1919], Collections CCGW/CCGG
[Lyman Tube and Supply Co. Roll of Honour],[c1919], Collections CCGW/CCGG
Waging total war takes an enormous toll not only on a country’s population, but its industry and economy as well. The First World War was the first such modern war; a conflict that dominated all aspects of life in the participating countries for almost 5 years and continued to affect how they would be governed and how individuals would live their lives for years afterwards. Canada, though the country did not see war on its own soil, was no different. Formally a dominion of the British Empire, Canada was obliged to participate in the conflict that Britain had entered and just days after the declaration of war set about mobilising soldiers, medical care and supplies for a war in Europe. Continue reading “The business of war: Canadian businesses and the First World War”