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 […]

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 […]

"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. 

The Lost: Canadian Soldiers Missing in the First World War

There were few official telegram messages worse than “Killed in Action” during the First World War; however, one of those had to be “Missing in Action”. Roughly 5 000 soldiers of Canada’s total fatal casualties are listed as “presumed to have died”; many more were initially listed as KIA and even possibly buried, but their […]

Gizmos and Gadgets: Privately purchased trench gear of WW I

The length and static nature of World War I made it in some ways like going to camp; a very dirty, dangerous camp, but one that demanded men to live outside in all sorts of weather. As units settled in their patch of front and men claimed small dugouts (and in some cases pilfered furniture), […]

The old lion: Sam Steele and the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Samuel Benfield Steele is perhaps best known for his role in the North West Mounted Police and the development of Western Canada. Steele was involved in the Canadian campaign to drive Sitting Bull back to the United States after the defeat of General Custer, and fought the Cree at Frenchman’s Butte during the North West […]