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The Great War in the Air
“The aeroplane is an invention of the devil, and will never play any part in such a serious business as the defence of the nation,” thundered Canada’s Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam Hughes, at the start of the First World War.
Before 1870, the defence of Canada was a costly burden for France and then for Great Britain, invariably against enemies to the south, be they Iroquois, English or the American invaders of 1775-76 (see AMERICAN REVOLUTION) or of 1812-14.
Ministry of Overseas Military Forces
The Ministry of Overseas Military Forces was established in November 1916 to administer Canadian forces in the UK, especially in the training of reinforcements, and to act as the communications channel between the Militia Department, the British War Office, and the Canadian Corps in France.
North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment
The North Shore (NB) Regiment (NS(NB)R) is a bilingual, primary reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. It is part of the 5th Canadian Division, 37th Canadian Brigade Group. The regimental headquarters is located in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Regimental battle honours include Passchendaele, Ypres 1917 and Hill 70 (First World War); the Normandy Landing and the Battle of the Scheldt (Second World War).
Alexander Dunn at the Battle of Balaclava
Lord Cardigan took up his position at the front of the Light Brigade. He sat tall in the saddle, his eyes flashing sapphire blue, his bearing proud. This would be his day for, although all who met him found him unusually stupid, no-one doubted his dauntless courage.
History of the Armed Forces in Canada
The armed forces are the land, naval and air forces commanded by the federal government for the purpose of defending Canada's security, protecting its citizens, and promoting its strategic interests at home or abroad. The armed forces have evolved since colonial times from small, local militia units to the modern professional military forces of today.
Battle for Hill 70
The capture of Hill 70 in France was an important Canadian victory during the First World War, and the first major action fought by the Canadian Corps under a Canadian commander. The battle, in August 1917, gave the Allied forces a crucial strategic position overlooking the occupied city of Lens.
The War of 1812 (Plain-Language Summary)
The War of 1812 was fought between Britain and the United States between 1812 and 1814. The war ended in a stalemate but had many lasting effects in Canada. It guaranteed Canada’s independence from the United States. It also gave Canadians their first experience working together as a community and helped develop a sense of nationhood.
(This article is a plain-language summary of the War of 1812. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry War of 1812.)
The history of the Canadian Army parallels that of Canada itself. What started as a small Confederation-era militia was built into a respected force of mostly citizen soldiers for the First and Second World Wars.
The Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel
On 1 July 1916, Allied forces launched a major offensive in France during the First World War. The opening of the Somme offensive turned into one of the deadliest days in the history of modern warfare. At the village of Beaumont-Hamel, the First Newfoundland Regiment suffered catastrophic losses. More than 80 percent of the soldiers who advanced that day were either killed or wounded. In one morning, the regiment suffered approximately 700 casualties, including more than 300 dead.
Royal Canadian Regiment
The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) is one of three permanent, regular army infantry regiments of the Canadian Forces.
Second World War (WWII)
The Second World War was a defining event in Canadian history, transforming a quiet country on the fringes of global affairs into a critical player in the 20th century's most important struggle. Canada carried out a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic and the air war over Germany, and contributed forces to the campaigns of western Europe beyond what might be expected of a small nation of then only 11 million people. Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian men and women served full-time in the armed services. More than 43,000 were killed. Despite the bloodshed, the war against Germany and the Axis powers reinvigorated Canada's industrial base, elevated the role of women in the economy, paved the way for Canada's membership in NATO, and left Canadians with a legacy of proud service and sacrifice embodied in names such as Dieppe, Hong Kong, Ortona and Juno Beach.
D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
The 1944 Battle of Normandy — from the D-Day landings on 6 June through to the encirclement of the German army at Falaise on 21 August — was one of the pivotal events of the Second World War and the scene of some of Canada's greatest feats of arms. Canadian sailors, soldiers and airmen played a critical role in the Allied invasion of Normandy, also called Operation Overlord, beginning the bloody campaign to liberate Western Europe from Nazi occupation. Nearly 150,000 Allied troops landed or parachuted into the invasion area on D-Day, including 14,000 Canadians at Juno Beach. The Royal Canadian Navy contributed 110 ships and 10,000 sailors and the RCAF contributed 15 fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons to the assault. Total Allied casualties on D-Day reached more than 10,000, including 1,074 Canadians, of whom 359 were killed. By the end of the Battle of Normandy, the Allies had suffered 209,000 casualties, including more than 18,700 Canadians. Over 5,000 Canadian soldiers died.
The Quebec Act, 1774 (Plain-Language Summary)
In 1759, the British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham. Soon after, the British took control of Quebec (see also The Conquest of New France.) The Quebec Act of 1774 was passed to gain the loyalty of the French who lived in the Province of Quebec. The Act had serious consequences for Britain’s North American empire. The Quebec Act was one of the direct causes of the American Revolution.
(This article is a plain-language summary of The Quebec Act, 1774. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry on The Quebec Act, 1774.)
The Royal 22e Régiment
The Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR), whose headquarters are at the Citadelle de Québec, is one of the three infantry regiments of the Canadian Regular Force. It is a francophone regiment made up of five battalions, of which three belong to the Regular Force and two to the Reserve Force.
Canada and the Second Battle of Ypres
The Second Battle of Ypres was fought during the First World War from 22 April to 25 May 1915. It was the first major battle fought by Canadian troops in the Great War. The battle took place on the Ypres salient on the Western Front, in Belgium, outside the city of Ypres (now known by its Flemish name, Ieper). The untested Canadians distinguished themselves as a determined fighting force, resisting the horror of the first large-scale poison gas attack in modern history. Canadian troops held a strategically critical section of the frontline until reinforcements could be brought in. More than 6,500 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, composed largely of British-born former regular soldiers, had gone to Flanders in December 1914 in advance of 1st Canadian Division as part of the British 27th Division.
Battle of Festubert
The Battle of Festubert was the second major engagement fought by Canadian troops in the First World War.
Battle of Ste-Foy
Battle of Ste-Foy, fought during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR on the road to Ste-Foy, a village 8 km W of Québec. In late Apr 1760 François de LÉVIS and his French force of 5000 engaged 3900 British troops under Col James MURRAY outside the city walls, soundly defeating them.