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As time went on it became clear that the profits which were being made by civilian contractors should, if possible, be made by the Army, and the Army Council decided, during the latter part of 1916, that the whole of the canteen organization should be undertaken officially and financed by the Treasury. As a result the powers of the Army Canteen Committee were so extended that they were to conduct the canteens direct. The stocks of the civilian contractors were taken over by the committee, and within the course of two months practically the whole organization had undergone a change. The benefits accruing from the new system soon became apparent. The canteens developed into real " Clubs for soldiers ; the profits made by the Army Canteen Committee were all held in trust for the troops, and large sums of money were spent in painting and furnishing the various premises. Further, prices were controlled and the quality of the goods standardized, so that the complaints which in the past had been rife, both as to overcharges and the poor quality of the goods supplied, rapidly diminished.

(642) GG 450 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

Questions then arose as to whether the Canadian Military Authorities should undertake the conduct of their own canteens or whether they should become partners in the operations of the Army Canteen Committee. The matter was considered very carefully, and the whole of the facts placed before the Authorities of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, who finally decided that a representative of the Canadian Overseas Military Forces should be appointed a member of the Army Canteen Committee, and that the Canadian Forces should become full partners in the operations of the committee in the same way as the Australian Overseas Military Forces had already become partners.

The chief reasons for these decisions were as follows:—

1. The difficulty of creating a new organization to deal with the matter on the scale required.

2. The undesirability of causing competition in already restricted markets.

3. The necessity of using personnel which was urgently required for other purposes.

4. The fact that the Canadian Headquarters were satisfied with the personnel of the new Board and with the lines upon which they conducted operations.

Towards the middle of 1917, the functions of the Army Canteen Committee were extended to the Navy. The name of the committee was then changed to the " Navy and Army Canteen Board."

The principal financial arrangements between the Canadian Overseas Military Forces and the Navy and Army Canteen Board are:—

1. A rebate of eight per cent. of the gross takings is returned to the unit using the canteen to be spent on extra messing, an additional two per cent. being paid to the Canadian Military Funds Trustees Board for the benefit of the men.

2. Of the total yearly profits of the Board a percentage representing their proportionate share is returned to the Canadian Military Funds Trustees Board.

In many camps, including Bramshott, Witley and Kinmel Park, the Board erected theatres and conducted high-class entertainments for the benefit of the troops, all the expenses being borne by the Board.

Navy and Army Canteens. 451 Payments made by the Board to the Overseas Military Forces of Canada in 1917 and 1918 were 1917.

–  –  –

The share of the total net profits of the Board for 1918 due to the Canadian Military Funds Trustees Board was not determined at the date of the completion of this report.

–  –  –

The activities of the Canadian War Records Office, under the direction of Lieut.-Colonel Lord Beaverbrook, the Officer in Charge, have been departmentalised under two general branches, namely— (1) The collection and compilation of historical data relating to the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, and (2) General Publicity.

The following table will show at a glance the departments:—


Historical Section— (a) War Diaries.

(b) Histories.

(c) Records.

(d) Library.

(e) Honours and Awards.

(f) Collections.

(g) Parcels.

(h) Officers in France.

(i) Photographs.

(j) Prisoners of War.


(a) Literary.

(b) Publicity.

(c) Topical Films.

(d) Exhibitions.

(e) Canadian Daily Record.

(f) Canadian War Memorials.

454 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.


(a) War Diaries.—Foremost among data collected by the historical section are the War Diaries; some 300 of these have been received each month. To-day there are on file some 10,000 diaries and, roughly, these diaries are treated as follows:— Upon their arrival they are accompanied by a check list ; this list is carefully gone over in order to see that the appendices attached to the file correspond with a number stated in the check list. After registration they are filed in their respective Unit folders. In the event of a Unit ceasing to render a diary, the authority is entered in the register, notes of which are kept and the missing parts immediately asked for. A list is also made of any duplicates sent instead of originals, in order that an exchange may be effected. The diaries are then very carefully read (1) in order to discover any technical defects; (2) to form an accurate estimate of their historical value.

From time to time reports are submitted.covering individual errors and omissions, accompanied by recommendations for improvements and suggestions. Photostat copies are made of the portions most valuable from an historical standpoint, in order to prevent wear and tear which inevitably follows usage.

In addition to the registering and copying of diaries, other registers are compiled from the diaries themselves. All Operation Orders are listed in this way, that missing ones may be secured. A similar register is kept of maps and plans. Finally, a card index is also kept showing the Commanding Officers of the chief combatant units in France. This section possesses unrivalled facilities as a bureau for historical research.

Constructive historical work is carried on without cessation. This comprises (1) historical synopsis of various units, and (2) elaborate and comprehensive notes of the great actions in which the Canadians have played a leading part. Clarity and conciseness are the chief factors in notes of this kind, but due attention is given to all essential details. Maps required are drawn by a skilled cartographer from information contained in the diaries. Accommodation is provided for authorised officers and others to do historical research work. Thus, it will be readily seen that the history of each Unit is kept in compact form for ready reference.

Monthly reports and diaries of the Canadian Corps, the Canadian Railway Battalions and Canadian Forestry Units in France are received, and afford a comprehensive review of the activities in the Field.

Canadian Way Records Office. 455 (b) Histories.—At irregular intervals there are forwarded to this office abridged narratives of deeds performed by Units and individuals in France. Such stories may range from a description of an action on a large scale to that of a paragraph detailing an act of bravery on the part of some otherwise unknown hero. Triplicate and quadruplicate war diaries and appendices thereto, maps, Operation Orders, photographs, etc., also come to hand from time to time. All this material is filed under the " Unit " system of the section, subdivided into periods of one month, and thus forms a useful addition to the cold facts contained in the monthly War Diaries. This miscellaneous material is proving of inestimable service to the historian and the literary staff.

(c) Records.—Owing to the fact that War Diaries were not kept by Units in the early days of the War, it has been found necessary to complete records by applying direct to Officers who served with the Units. Through this channel much valuable information has been obtained which otherwise would have been lost.

(d) Library.—The reference library, containing some 200 odd volumes and pamphlets, has proved a most useful acquisition. The aim of this library has been to include works by well-known authors and war correspondents relating to Canadian achievements. Added to this is the rather more interesting collection from an historical viewpoint, comprising a number of trench and camp magazines issued by the Canadian Forces; these have originated from 52 different sources, and those still being published are received regularly.

(e) Honours and Awards.—A list is received monthly from the Officer in Charge of Records, of all Officers, N.C.Os. and men who have been decorated for gallantry. These are placed on the unit file in the case of the V.C., D.S.O., M.C., D.C.M. The Officer Commanding the particular Unit is corresponded with and his narrative obtained and filed.

(f) Collections.—A very complete and valuable collection of regimental badges and distinguishing patches has been made. This collection has proved very useful to the War Memorials Fund Artists in completing minor details of portraits.

(g) Parcels.—In compliance with routine order number 2,985, dated 26/11/17, this office has received from the Officer in Charge of Records 1,700 parcels for safe keeping. These 456 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

parcels have all been numbered and filed in order. Many boxes containing regimental documents have also been received, the total of these being 320. In addition, 673 parcels containing records of the A.A.G. Canadian Section, G.H.Q. 3rd Echelon, have been forwarded to this office for safe keeping. These have not been numbered other than the number received from the Base where they were put in order.

The contents of approximately 200 parcels have been carefully gone through, the papers classified, and a detailed inventory placed on unit files. A card system has been devised whereby these parcels may be dealt with quickly, and a complete index of contents seen at a glance.

The parcels have been found to contain very valuable material, such as maps and narratives of operations, and it is thought that many missing operation orders from the original war diaries will be recovered in the process of investigation.

(h) Officers in France.—During the past few months the officers of the Canadian War Records Office in France have quickly increased their facilities for securing information desired, and have come to a full realisation of the value of war diaries and documents of historical interest. They have also co-operated with the artists of the Canadian War Memorials. Fund in facilitating the progress of their work ; many of these artists remained in France as long as two months, and all expressed their appreciation of the opportunities placed at their disposal by the Senior Records Office.

(i) Photographic.—The Canadian official photographer has assiduously followed the movements of the Canadian Corps, and, as a result, his work is a valuable collection of battle, camp and billet photographs, each forming a permanent pictorial record of the activities of the Canadians in France. During the first nine months of 1918, over 1,000 new photographs were produced, bringing the total collection to over 4,000.

Prints of all these have been mounted in albums as well as circulated throughout Canada, United States and France.

The photographer in England has taken upwards of 500 photographs of officers and nursing sisters who have been decorated by H.M. The King. The photographer has also paid visits to men of the Canadian camps scattered throughout the United Kingdom, and photographed camp life, sports, physical training and interesting events in general.

Canadian War Records Office 457 In order to provide a safeguard against any possible loss. to the original negative, a glass positive has been made from each negative so that a copy may readily be made.

A Canadian Section has been appointed at the Photographic Bureau of the Ministry of Information, and there is now on exhibition there practically a complete set of all Canadian photographs taken in France.

This gives Canadians on leave in London an opportunity to see and purchase any pictures they may require.

(j) Prisoners of War.—Previous to the signing of the Armistice, prisoners of war who managed to escape from the internment camps in Germany and make their way to Great Britain were interviewed by the Records Office.

With the signing of the Armistice, an officer was sent to each of the two reception camps (Dover and Ripon), to work in co-operation with the Imperial Parliamentary Committee. The officer interviewed each repatriated prisoner, enquiring especially into any ill-treatment, unnecessary punishment, food,. sanitary accommodation, working conditions, etc., in the several camps in which the prisoner had been confined. Particular attention was paid to securing the names, rank and regiment of officers, non-commissioned officers, men, or civilians,. who were responsible for any ill-treatment reported. As a result, a very interesting and graphic amount of material has been received. This has been placed in charge of one of the interviewing officers, who is carefully going through each statement, making a summary which readily shows at a glance the many vicissitudes through which the soldier has passed.


(a) Literary.—The important work undertaken and produced by the literary staff of the office made it necessary to form a special sub-section.

The vast amount of material available, and. the work already produced or in course of production are sufficient to show that the department plays an important part in the compilation of historical data.

A book of the deeds of Canadian V.Cs. has been recently published.

A series of the histories of all Canadian Battalions. on Active Service has also been commenced.

Up-to-date, histories of the P.P.C.L.I., 10th, 13th, and 28th Battalions have been published. These average about 6,500 words and are sold at sixpence per copy.

458 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

"Canada's Triumph," by the Official Correspondent of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, covering the battles of the Canadian Corps from Amiens to Mons, has also been marketed. It is interesting to note that this book was for sale within three weeks of the completion of these operations.

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