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Article

Indigenous Peoples and the First World War

Indigenous soldiers, nurses, and ordinary civilians made a major contribution to Canada’s First World War effort. More than 4,000 First Nations soldiers fought for Canada during the war, officially recorded by the Department of Indian Affairs (see Federal Departments of Indigenous and Northern Affairs). In addition, thousands more non-Status Indians, Inuit, and Métis soldiers enlisted without official recognition of their Indigenous identity. More than 50 Indigenous soldiers were decorated for bravery in action, including the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) soldier Francis Pegahmagabow, Inuit soldier John Shiwak, and Cree soldier Henry Norwest.

Article

Ruth Muggeridge (Primary Source)

"I was in the burn ward, and we got mostly the Armoured Corps. boys. Our patients I must say were wonderful young men, and they were so grateful for anything we were able to do for them."

See below for Mrs. Muggeridge's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Harold H. Simpson (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the excerpt in French."

See below for Mr. Simpson's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Francis Bathe (Primary Source)

"We captured about 3,500 that morning, and I should judge about us many were killed or wounded besides that. I think the 1st and 2nd Divisions did equally as well, by what I heard they were chiefly the Bavarians at that. They are notable fighters but our lads were better. "

See below for Mr. Bathe's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Kenneth McClure Asham (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the excerpt in French."

See below for Mr. Asham's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Constance Gwendolyn Powys (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the transcript in French."

See below for Ms. Powys' entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Charles James McNeil Willoughby (Primary Source)

"You never hear a shell with your number on it. Those with the whine and the bang are marked for someone else."

See below for Mr. Willoughby's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

George Leslie Scherer (Primary Source)

"I fired my 1st shot the second night just after midnight. I got the fellow I shot at just in front of our wire. I won't forget the feeling as I pressed the trigger that night + I hadn't got over it when I wrote."

See below for Mr. Scherer's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

No. 2 Construction Battalion

On 5 July 1916, the Department of Defence and Militia authorized the formation of No. 2 Construction Battalion. It was the largest Black unit in Canadian history. Its members continued the proud tradition of service to king and country that went back to the American Revolution and continued through the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837–38 to the start of the First World War. But there were many obstacles: Black soldiers and communities faced racism both at home and overseas, despite their commitment to the war effort.

Memory Project

Ida Ferguson (Primary Source)

See below for Ms. Ferguson's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Eldridge Eatman

Eldridge “Gus” Eatman (also known as Eastman), sprinter, soldier, entertainer (born 12 March 1880 in Zealand Station, NB; died 15 August 1960 in St. John, NB). Eldridge Eatman was a Black Canadian athlete. He was one of the fastest men in the world between 1904 and 1908. In 1905, he set a Canadian record in the 100-yard sprint with a time of 9.8 seconds. He also served with distinction in the British Army during the First World War. Eatman later became an entertainer and an activist. He has been inducted into the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame, the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and the Maritime Sports Hall of Fame.

Article

Oliver Milton Martin

Oliver Milton Martin, Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk) army officer, air force pilot, teacher, principal, magistrate (born 9 April 1893, in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, ON; died 18 December 1957 in Toronto, ON). Martin served in the Canadian Army during both world wars. During the First World War, he fought on the Western Front as a commissioned officer and later trained as an observer and pilot. During the Second World War, Martin commanded home defence brigades in Canada. He reached the rank of brigadier, the highest rank attained by an Indigenous soldier to that point. After the war, he worked in education and was the first Indigenous person appointed as a provincial magistrate in Ontario.

Article

Canadian War Art Programs

Since the First World War, there have been four major initiatives to allow Canadian artists to document Canadian Armed Forces at war. Canada’s first official war art program, the Canadian War Memorials Fund (1916–19), was one of the first government-sponsored programs of its kind. It was followed by the Canadian War Art Program (1943–46) during the Second World War. The Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists Program (1968–95) and the Canadian Forces Artists Program (2001–present) were established to send civilian artists to combat and peacekeeping zones. Notable Canadian war artists have included A.Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley, Lawren Harris, Alex Colville and Molly Lamb Bobak.

Editorial

Vancouver Feature: Hero Slain on a Vancouver Street

The following article is a feature from our Vancouver Feature series. Past features are not updated.


Constable Robert McBeath stopped a drunk driver on Granville Street in the wee hours of an October morning in 1922. It was routine police work for the twenty-four year-old constable, but it would cost him the life he had risked just a few years before, when he earned the Victoria Cross at the Somme.