Search for "First World War"

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"Dear Old Pal of Mine"

“Dear Old Pal of Mine” is a pop song from the First World War with music by Gitz Rice and lyrics by Harold Athol Robé. Released by the Victor record label, it was originally recorded in New York City on 1 May 1918 with Irish tenor John McCormack and the Victor Orchestra under conductor Josef Pasternak (Victor 755). It was among the Irish tenor’s most popular 78s. The song is held in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Editorial

The Somme

It is one of the most haunting place names in history — a small, marshy French river — synonymous now with misery and death. In the summer of 1916, around the Somme valley north of Paris, the British Army began one of the largest campaigns of the First World War. Five hellish months later, more than one million soldiers, including almost 25,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders, had been killed or wounded in a series of battles that gained little for either side (see Battle of the Somme).

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Trench Warfare

Trench warfare is combat in which opposing armies defend, attack and counterattack from relatively fixed systems of holes dug into the ground. It is adopted when superior defensive firepower forces each side to entrench widely, trading mobility for protection. Trench warfare reached its zenith during the First World War (1914–18) on the Western Front in France and Belgium’s Flanders region. In the popular imagination, trench warfare on the Western Front is associated with the most horrific conditions of the First World War.

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First World War (Plain-Language Summary)

The First World War occurred between 1914 and 1918. Approximately 425,000 Canadians served overseas in Europe. More than 60,000 Canadians died. Over 170,000 were seriously wounded. Canadians suffered more casualties in the First World War than the Second World War. (See Second World War (Plain-Language Summary).)

(This article is a plain-language summary of the First World War. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, First World War.)

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Canadian Songs of the First World War

Canadians composed thousands of songs between 1914 and 1918, many of which were intended for the home front. Hundreds of these songs were directly related to the First World War. Popular songs expressed themes such as patriotism, national identity, sentimentality and gender roles and expectations. While early songs stressed patriotism and images of an ideal soldier to encourage recruitment, sentimental songs became more popular by the end of the war, reflecting the loss and sacrifice of Canadians on the battlefront and at home. There was also a shift from songs that supported Britain and the British Empire to those that expressed a Canadian identity.

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Arthur Roy Brown

Arthur Roy Brown, fighter pilot and ace, businessman, civil aviation pioneer (born 23 December 1893 in Carleton Place, Ontario; died 9 March 1944 in Stouffville, Ontario). Brown is credited with killing Germany’s top First World War ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the famed “Red Baron.” Richthofen may, however, have been shot down by two Australian army machine-gunners.

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Battle of Coronel

In the Battle of Coronel, warships of the powerful German East Asiatic Squadron defeated a much weaker Royal Navy squadron. The battle was fought off the coast of Chile near the port city of Coronel on 1 November 1914. Four midshipmen of the Royal Canadian Navy went down with the British flagship. They were the first Canadians to die in battle during the First World War.

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Princess Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught

Princess Louise Margaret Alexandra Victoria Agnes of Prussia, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn, vice-regal consort of Canada (1911–16) and philanthropist (born 25 July 1860 in Potsdam, Prussia (now Germany); died 14 March 1917 in London, United Kingdom). The Duchess of Connaught sponsored Red Cross hospitals for the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

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Viscount Byng of Vimy

Field Marshall Julian Hedworth George Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, Commander of the Canadian Corps from 1915 to 1917 and Governor General of Canada from 1921 to 1926 (born 11 September 1862 in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom; died 6 June 1935 in Essex, United Kingdom). Byng led the Canadian Corps to victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War. As governor general, he is best known for his role in the King-Byng Affair, when he formally refused Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s advice to dissolve Parliament and call a federal election.

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King George V

King George V (George V, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India) (born 3 June 1865 at Marlborough House, London, United Kingdom; died 20 January 1936 at Sandringham House, Norfolk, United Kingdom). The grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, George V reigned during the First World War. His reign included key innovations that continue to shape the modern constitutional monarchy, including the Balfour Report of 1926 and the 1931 Statute of Westminster. George visited Canada three times, including a month-long tour across Canada by train in 1901.

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Kinmel Park Riot

The Kinmel Park Riot (4–5 March 1919) was one of several demobilization riots at the end of the First World War. Five Canadian soldiers died during the riot, which happened at the Canadian Army camp at Kinmel Park near Rhyl in North Wales. It was the most serious of 13 riots or disturbances involving Canadian troops in the United Kingdom between November 1918 and June 1919.

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Canada and Antisubmarine Warfare in the First World War

When the First World War began in August 1914, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was unprepared to fight a war at sea. Founded only in 1910, it consisted of two obsolete cruisers, HMCS Niobe and HMCS Rainbow, and about 350 regular sailors, augmented by 250 reservists. During the war, it was assigned a growing number of tasks, which it was ill-equipped to perform. This included protecting Canadian coastal waters against German U-boats. The RCN scrambled to find ships and sailors but was ill-equipped to fight enemy submarines, which sank several vessels in Canadian waters in 1918.


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Amherst Internment Camp

The Amherst internment camp in Nova Scotia was the largest such camp in Canada during the First World War, with a maximum capacity of about 850 men. In total, there were 24 internment camps and receiving stations across the country. While most camps housed “enemy aliens,” the majority of internees at Amherst were German prisoners of war. This included hundreds of German sailors from the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, which was sunk by a British cruiser in 1915. Its most famous internee, however, was Russian socialist Leon Trotsky, who was held prisoner at Amherst in April 1917.

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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 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.

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Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, Governor General of Canada (1916–21) and politician (born 31 May 1868 in London, United Kingdom; died 6 May 1938 in Derbyshire, United Kingdom). Devonshire took a strong interest in the development of Canadian agriculture and established the Duke of Devonshire Trophy for the Ottawa Horticultural Society.