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Canadians were not only considered expert and professional soldiers, they were feared by the Germans as an omen of impending attack.

  • 619,636 men and women served - 400,000 overseas
  • 66,655 died
  • 172,950 were wounded

In 1914 Canada entered the war as a colony, a mere extension of Britain overseas; in 1918 she was forging visibly ahead to nationhood. Canada began the war with one division of citizen soldiers under the command of a British general, and ended with a superb fighting force under the command of one of her own sons.

For a nation of eight million people Canada's war effort was remarkable. A total of 619,636 men and women served in the Canadian forces in the First World War, and of these 66,655 gave their lives and another 172,950 were wounded. Nearly one of every ten Canadians who fought in the war did not return.

It was this Canadian war record that won for Canada a separate signature on the Peace Treaty signifying that national status had been achieved. Nationhood was purchased for Canada by the gallant men who stood fast at Ypres, stormed Regina Trench, climbed the heights of Vimy Ridge, captured Passchendaele, and entered Mons on November 11, 1918.

Canadian Forces

Total served: 619,636
Total served overseas: 424,589

Canadian civilian casualties

In the Halifax explosion, on Dec. 6, 1917, 1,630 people were killed. About 9,000 were injured.

Key events

Oct. 14, 1914 - First contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force arrives in the UK.
April 24, 1915 - Poison gas first used against Canadians at St. Julien.
May 8, 1915 - Lt.-Col. John McCrae writes "In Flanders Fields."
July 1, 1916 - Royal Newfoundland Regiment takes heavy casualties in the Battle of the Somme.
April 9, 1917 - Battle of Vimy Ridge begins.
Aug. 29, 1917 - Conscription becomes law in Canada.
Dec. 6, 1917 - Halifax explosion.
Aug. 8,1918 - Battle of Amiens. The period that came to be known as "Canada's Hundred Days" begins.

Sources: Veterans Affairs Canada, CBC

Last updated on Nov 10, 2006 22:00. Page viewed 65026 times.