«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
As in France the Forestry Corps did valuable work for the Royal Air Force in this case for the Defence Wing. Indeed, the whole of the timber required in the construction of aerodromes in the British Isles was provided by the Canadian Forestry Corps, and it was officially stated by the Home Defence Authorities that the services rendered by them were such as to increase the efficiency of the Air Force in Great Britain, and were a direct means of assistance in defeating hostile raiding.
The appreciation of the Imperial War Office was conveyed in a letter to the Minister written by Lord Derby, then Secretary of State for War, in which he referred to the alacrity with which the men of the Canadian Forestry Corps had responded to exigent demands and the devotion shown by the fact that they worked sometimes 90 hours a week to save the timber position. Lord Derby concluded by saying that he hoped the men of the Forestry Corps would realise the gratitude which was felt for their work and for the spirit which had spared no exertions to assist the fighting men.
The Base Depot of the Corps was at Smith's Lawn, Windsor Great Park, the site of which covered over 125 acres of land lent by His Majesty the King, who, with the Queen, always manifested great interest in the Canadian Forestry men. All the work of receiving drafts from Canada, selecting reinforcements for France and the companies in England and Scotland, was done at this Depot. An average of 1,500 of all ranks passed through it monthly.
The vegetable farm cultivated at the Depot for the benefit of the men was one of the largest in Great Britain, and the Depot piggeries were entirely successful.
On November 11, 1918, the total strength of the Canadian Forestry Corps, including attached officers and men from Imperial Units, Portuguese, Finns, and prisoners of war, was 31,447, divided as follows:— FRANCE.
Other Ranks, C.F.C.
„ „ Attached
Prisoners of War (13 Companies)
Grand Total, C.F.C.-Officers and men in France and Great Britain, exclusive of attached labour at November 11, 1918
Grand Total, including attached labour at November 11, 1918
At the time the Armistice was signed over 70 per cent. of the total timber used by the Allied Armies on the Western Front was supplied by the Canadian Forestry Corps.
1918.—Period January 1 to December 31.
GRAND TOTALS.—Period 1917-1918.
1918.—Period January 1 to December 31.
Operations to December 31, 1918.
In addition the work of the Canadian Forestry Corps achieved the much desired and total result of releasing an immense amount of shipping tonnage for the transfer of food stuffs for the Allies.
As a consequence the tonnage saved was sufficient to carry food supplies for 15,000,000 people.
To be really appreciated, therefore, the work of the Canadian Forestry Corps should be measured in terms of service rendered to the
Allies in respect to:
(a) The economic situation.
(b) The fighting forces in the Field.
The foregoing figures for production are brief but eloquent testimony of the success of Canadian industry in exploiting the forests of France and Britain, in helping to defeat the enemy submarine menace, and in a variety of ways assisting in the ultimate attainment of victory.
BLANK PAGECanadian Troops Outside the Corps.
In considering the achievements of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada in the field, special reference must be made to the various Formations outside the Corps, each of which rendered much valuable service in its own sphere.
In addition to the Canadian Corps, which at the time the Armistice was signed had a total strength of 110,600, there were nearly 40,000 Canadian troops, separate and distinct from the Corps serving in different capacities in the war zone throughout France and Belgium. No other British Dominion had her sons so widely distributed on the Western Front or engaged in so many diversified capacities as Canada.
This force of approximately 40,000 men was made up of railway construction experts, of lumbermen, of cavalrymen, of doctors and dentists, of engineers, butchers, bakers, and so on. Some were stationed near the North Sea, some near the Spanish border, some in Central France, and others in almost every place where there were Allied Forces.
There was a large Canadian Base Camp at Etaples, for the temporary accommodation of reinforcements passing through. There were also Canadian Corps reinforcement camps in the vicinity of Aubin St. Vaast, near Montreuil, where the training was continued until the personnel were required by their respective units. The personnel at these camps were on the strength of their respective Units at the front and on the lines of communication. The functions of most of the formations that made up the 40,000 troops outside the Corps are given in various sections of this Report, but it is only just that special attention should be drawn to the work of these troops as a whole.
With the exception of the thousands of pilots and observers who were in the Royal Air Force and Independent Air Force when the fighting ended on November 11, 1918, the Canadian. troops operating in France and Belgium were, for the most part, administered by Canadian authorities, though, like the Canadian Corps, they came under FieldMarshal Sir Douglas Haig for direction in all matters connected with military operations in the field.
The largest body of Canadians on the Western Front, separate from the Canadian Corps, was the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops, a force of experts on railway construction.
374 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
For nearly two years prior to the signing of the Armistice, the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops had been responsible for the building of all the light railways in the areas occupied by the five British Armies, on a line running from the North Sea southward to the junction with the French Army. They had also been responsible for the construction of most of the new standard gauge lines radiating from the Channel Ports on the French Coast to the actual battle zones.
The Canadian Forestry Corps was the most widely-scattered body of Canadians in the Western theatre of war. There were Companies exploiting French forests near the borders of Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Others were in Central France, at different points near the Front Line, on the Lines of Communication, and at many places in companies or smaller formations.
With the aid of attached Labour and 13 Prisoners of War Companies, the Canadian Forestry Corps supplied the greater percentage of all lumber used by the Allied Armies in France and Belgium.
Only once during its career in France did the Canadian Cavalry Brigade take part as a mounted force in an engagement with the Canadian Corps. This was at Amiens on August 8. The rest of the time it fought exclusively with Imperial Forces, being attached to an Imperial Cavalry Division. It was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Division for the major portion of the time.
The Canadian Army Medical Corps had its havens of mercy widely distributed. At Boulogne there were No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital and No. 3 Canadian General Hospital. Nos. 1 and 7 Canadian General Hospitals were at Etaples, as was also No. 9 Canadian Stationary Hospital. No. 2 Canadian General Hospital was at Le Treport, not far fromDieppe, and Nos. 3 and 7 Canadian Stationary Hospitals were at Rouen. No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital was at Calais, No. 8 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Charmes, and Nos. 6 and 8 Canadian General Hospitals were in Paris. The four Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations or Hospitals, numbering 1 to 4, were moved from place to place as the military situation demanded. They were always situated within a few miles of the front line. No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station was for over two years in the British Second Army Area, being for most of that time located at Remy Siding, near Poperinghe, and almost opposite what were known as Connaught Lines, famous to Canadians in the early days of the War. It was there that several Canadian Troops Outside the Corps. 375 Battalions had their transport lines from time to time. The only units of the Canadian Army Medical Corps that were a part of the Canadian Corps were the Field Ambulances.
The Canadian Army Service Corps had supply units at several centres outside the Canadian Corps Area. There were four units of field bakeries and two units of field butcheries at Boulogne, while there were supply units at Etaples, Rouen, Calais, Havre, and Dieppe.
The Minister is represented at General Headquarters of the British Armies in France by what is known as the Canadian Section, and the most important functions of this Section are dealt with under a separate head.
The following list gives the chief Canadian formations that were operating outside the Canadian Corps Area in France and Belgium, with the relative strength of each, at the time the Armistice was signed:—
Canadian Tank Battalion.
Of all the new arms called into being by the War the Tank probably most appealed to the public imagination, and had hostilities been prolonged, Canada would have seen her own Tank Corps in the field.
It was in March, 1918, that the War Office asked the Canadian Government, through the Minister, to provide the personnel for one Tank Battalion. Three months later the first Canadian Tank Battalion arrived in England, with a strength of 92 officers and 716 other ranks.
The high standard of the personnel may be gathered from the fact that it was recruited entirely from among the Universities of Canada ;
McGill University and Toronto University each furnished one Company of the Battalion, while the third Company was recruited from among the other Universities. A considerable percentage of both officers and men had mechanical qualifications.
After the usual period had been spent in the Segregation Camp at Frensham Pond, in Surrey, the Battalion proceeded to the Imperial Tank Training Camp near Wareham in Dorsetshire to begin its technical training. By August, 1918, when the Battalion was still in training, the Allies had taken the Offensive, and the Tank, had again proved itself an invaluable weapon in attack. In each successive engagement which followed the Battle of Amiens of August 8-the action that marked the definite turning point in the War-every available Tank Unit had been employed, and the War Office made a further request to the Canadian Government through the Minister for the provision of a second Canadian Tank Battalion.
The request was immediately complied with, and on October 18, 1918, the second Canadian Tank Battalion arrived in England with a strength of 44 officers and 960 other ranks.
The first Canadian Tank Battalion had completed its training, and was on the point of going to France when Armistice was declared, and it thus became necessary to abandon the project of raising the third Tank Battalion which was then under consideration, as was the whole question of the formation of a Canadian Tank Corps.
THE MACHINE OF HEALING—Development and Duties of the Canadian Army Medical Corps
ENEMY OUTRAGES ON THE C.A.M.C.— Bombing of Hospitals at Etaples and Doullens
Torpedoing of H. M.H.S. " Llandovery Castle "
" CASUALTIES "— Stages of the Wounded from the Battlefield to " Blighty "
ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE VARIOUS ORDERS OFUNITS IN THE C.A.M.C.— (a) Units in England
(b) Units in France
WAR ACTIVITIES OF THE C.A.M.C.— (a) Personnel
(b) Units in France and elsewhere
(c) Units in England
(d) Combined Return of Units C.A.M C
CANADIAN ACCOMMODATION FOR SICK AND WOUNDED—(a) Bed capacity, Canadian General and Stationary Hospitals Overseas from England
(b) Casualty Clearing Stations
(c) Canadian Hospitals in England
1. General Hospitals
2. Special Hospitals
3. Convalescent Hospitals
4. Summary of growth of bed capacity in England
5. Bed capacity in Canadian Hospitals in England and Overseas from England.................. 401 (d) Hospital Ships
HELPERS OF THE C.A.M.C.
BLANK PAGECanadian Army Medical Corps.
When the great call came in 1914, the personnel and equipment of the Canadian Army Medical Corps was at the time but the very small nucleus of the enormous organisation into which it had grown at the date of the Armistice.
By that time the operations of the Canadian Army Medical Corps more than equalled those of the entire British Royal, Army Medical Corps during the South African War. The bed capacity of the Canadian Hospitals Overseas rose from 3,000 in June, 1915, to upwards of 40,000 in November, 1918. That, in a nutshell, tells the story of the growth of the Canadian Army Medical Corps ; but this amazing expansion would not have been possible but for wise provision made in previous years.
The step which made the present efficient organisation of the Canadian Army Medical Corps possible dates only from 1904, when the first skeleton was formed to meet the contingency of war. The first establishment and equipment of the Medical Branch was authorised in
1911. This establishment embraced a complete scheme for mobilisation in the event of hostilities, and the efficiency and training it afforded before the declaration of war in 1914 were made apparent at the second Battle of Ypres, when the conduct and direction of the Canadian Medical Service received the highest commendation of the British Authorities ;
and that efficiency has been developed to the highest pitch under the present Director of Medical Services, Major-General G. L. Foster, C.B.