«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
Historical summaries of each Canadian Brigade, from its organisation to its recent operations, have been written.
A book of "Battle Pieces," etc., short, tense, true stories of personal interest taken from incidents of the War, has also been written. These stories are intended to bring home to the public the human side of the fighting men.
A volume covering the work of the Canadian Hospitals in the Near East is also 'being prepared. The five Canadian Hospitals which went out to Lemnos, Mudros, Egypt and Salonika in the early days are included.
This section has dealt with the periodical publication of "Canada in Khaki," and "The Canadian War Pictorial." These two publications are illustrated with official photographs.
Volume IV. of " Canada in Flanders " is in the Press, and will prove a further graphic contribution to this special history of the Canadian troops. This volume deals with the activities at Vimy Ridge.
The following stories, narratives and articles have also been
"Special Reports of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele." "The Story of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade at Cambrai."
"Narratives of Escaped Canadian Prisoners of War." "Les Poilus Canadiens" (7,000 words, written for the Ministry of Information).
Short Articles on Canadian Corps Operations to date. Articles on Railway Troops and the Medical and Forestry Corps, for publicity purposes.
A chronological record of Canadian Corps Operations on the Somme.
Continuation of the chronological index of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Numerous articles for Headquarters, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, the " Maple Leaf," " Canada in Khaki," and the " Canadian War Pictorial."
Articles on various military subjects for the office files.
Canadian War Records Office. 459 Much research work has been done in addition to that required for the purposes shown above.
The profits of all these works go to the Canadian War Memorials Fund.
(b) Publicity.—In order that the activities of the Canadian Forces in France might receive their full share of public attention, a vast amount of publicity material has been prepared and distributed to the Press of England, Canada and the United States.
This includes despatches from official correspondents in France, and special articles on various branches of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, as well as many articles directly intended to place before the general public the work of the Canadian Forces.
(c) Topical Films.—The cinematograph operator with the Canadian Forces in France has filmed various activities. A series of cinematograph pictures, both of public interest and invaluable for record purposes, has been taken of various Canadian battles, a number of which have been forwarded to Canada, where they were well received.
A great number of views have been taken exclusively for use in the " Pictorial News "-a bi-weekly film publication for exportation throughout the world.
A special Canadian film was prepared for exhibition at the Canadian War Photograph Exhibition when on tour through the British Isles. This film is accompanied by a lecturer, who explains the various scenes and events.
A new feature in cinematography has been developed in a diagrammatic film accurately worked out of the Battle of Courcellette, which has been inserted in a film of the 22nd, 25th and 26th Battalions which took part in the battle, and the taking of Vimy Ridge.
There is now being made for public exhibition a film depicting Canadian activities in the Cambrai area.
(d) Exhibitions.—There have been four exhibitions of photographic work held during the year, which have attracted enormous crowds and most favourable Press comment throughout the United Kingdom. These exhibitions consisted of greatly enlarged coloured photographs shown in Royal Galleries.
460 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
The first exhibition, after the second year's tour in Great Britain, has been sold to the Ontario Government to be used by the Department of Education. The duplicate of this has been touring the United States. The original of the second exhibition has been on tour in England ; the duplicate has been touring Canada, and is just now entering the United States. The third exhibition is on tour in England at the present time. The original of the fourth exhibition has just completed a most successful stay at the Grafton Galleries, and is now commencing a tour of the United Kingdom. The duplicate of this exhibition is on its way to Canada.
The paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy are being forwarded to New York for exhibition after closing a most successful six weeks' stay in London.
(e) Canadian Daily Record.—The circulation of this soldiers' newspaper has now reached 25,000 per day, and many letters of appreciation have been received showing its popularity with the Canadian troops. The daily news cable service from Ottawa keeps the Canadians abroad well posted as to events and developments in Canada.
The paper is doubled in size twice a week, two of the pages being devoted every Wednesday to the doings of the Canadian Forces in France and the training areas in England. This news consists of personal items, results of athletic events, and a record of any interesting episodes.
This enlarges the scope of the paper and is a means of keeping the scattered forces in touch with each other, as well as forming a link with the home country.
(f) Canadian War Memorials Fund.—The profits derived from the sale of Official Photographs, Exhibitions, Publications, etc., are devoted to the acquisition of records of a different nature, and are placed to the credit of the Canadian War Memorials Fund. Approximately sixty artists are employed to paint pictures which provide a record of Canada's share in the War, and there should be a permanent monument to the memory of those who have fallen. Fourteen of these artists are Canadian officers, the remainder being civilians. With the exception of the pay of officers, all expenses are borne by the Canadian War Memorials Fund.
Overseas Disposal Board.
No time was lost after the declaration of the Armistice in making arrangements for the disposal of all surplus Canadian clothing, equipment, arms, ammunition, horses, and the stores generally, of all Departments of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada which were no longer required for use Overseas or for return to Canada.
The Overseas Disposal Board was, in fact, called into being on the day after the signing of the Armistice, and was constituted as follows:— The Quartermaster-General.
The Deputy Quartermaster-General.
The Assistant Deputy-Minister, and the Canadian Financial Representative of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
The Board deals with all Departments, and the head of each Department is held responsible for notifying the Board as soon as any stores become surplus. The Director of Sales is then responsible for the disposal of all surplus articles, but only with the approval and under the sanction of the Board. As is customary in the case of Government stores, all sales are made by public auction, except in isolated cases where the articles to be disposed of can only be of service to some special industry.
In these cases they are disposed of by public tender.
All accounts are handled in the usual way through the Accounts Branch and the Paymaster-General.
Up to March 1 the disposals had principally consisted of the horses of the Canadian Overseas Military Forces of Canada and Surplus Ordnance Stores and Equipment.
Horses and Mules.—At the date of the Armistice, Canada had approximately 24,000 horses and mules in France and 2,000 horses in England, and on November 12, the day on which the Disposal Board began its work, the Imperial Authorities notified the Canadian Authorities that it would be impossible for them to take over any Canadian horses as they had very large numbers of their own to dispose of. The Imperial Authorities, however, offered to pool the Canadian horses 462 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
with their own and sell them by auction, the Canadians to pay their share of the expenses involved and to receive the average price fetched by the horses on the total sales.
This offer, however, would have entailed the provision of considerable Canadian personnel to look after the horses until such time as they were disposed of, and very likely have involved the retention of Canadian soldiers Overseas after the demobilisation of the Canadian Overseas Military Forces as a whole. It would have also entailed the feeding and keep of large numbers of animals for which no employment could be found, a procedure which would probably have resulted in the total cost to the Canadian Government exceeding the returns from the sales.
It was equally impracticable, and would have proved even more expensive, to return the animals to Canada. It would not have been possible to find transports for many months, at the end of which time, in addition to the expense of keeping the horses and personnel required to look after them in the interval,. it would have become necessary to pay a very high freight rate for the return of the animals to Canada. The expense resulting from such an arrangement would, inevitably, have been very great and could not have been justified on economic grounds.
It was, therefore, decided to enter into negotiations with some of the Allied Governments direct, and finally an agreement was arrived at with the Belgian Government whereby that Government took over all the Canadian horses and mules in France at the round price of £40 per head.
In lieu of cash it was agreed to accept Belgian Government securities for the amount involved, the sum due to be payable to the Canadian Government at any time within 10 years, the Belgian Government meantime to pay interest on all outstanding amounts at the rate of five per cent. per annum. Up to March 1, approximately half of the horses in question had been handed over to the Belgian Government and the remainder will be handed over as they cease to be required for military purposes.
Horses in England.—Approximately two-thirds of the Canadian horses in England have been disposed of by public auction, and up to March 1 fetched the average price of £43 each. This distinctly high average was only secured by the Disposal Board getting first on the market. The price of horses in England has already dropped considerably, and at the present time the British Government is selling horses at an average of £30 to £40.
Disposal Board. 463 Ordnance Stores: M.T. in France.—All Ordnance Equipment Stores and Mechanical Transport with the Canadian Troops in France, including the Canadian Corps, Lines of Communication Units and Hospitals, are the property of the Canadian Government.
These stores, of which there is an enormous quantity, are useful for military purposes only. Some idea of the extent of the transport may be gathered from the fact that there are upwards of 1,000 three-ton lorries in the Canadian Corps alone. The time that must have elapsed before it would have become feasible to move these stores and vehicles out of France, and the lack of storage accommodation in France, would have resulted in very great deterioration in value ; in addition, apart from the fact that Canada had no need of such vast supplies of stores and equipment, there would have been no proper storage accommodation available had they been returned to the Dominion.
The Disposal Board, therefore, entered into negotiations with the Imperial Government, and these negotiations resulted in an agreement whereby the Imperial Government took over all Canadian stores and equipment in France, crediting the Canadian Government to the full for all equipment in a serviceable condition. This equipment may still be drawn on by the Canadian Government from the Imperial Authorities in such quantities and at such times as it may be required, and in the event of the Canadian Authorities not requiring the whole of the equipment financial arrangements will be made on the basis of the value of all serviceable equipment surplus to Canadian needs.
Stores in England.—All surplus stores in England are being disposed of either under agreement with the Imperial Authorities or by public auction. The British War Office has accepted a great quantity of stores from the Canadian Ordnance Depot at Ashford, Kent, these stores being converted to the use of the British Army. Such stores as have not been taken over by the War Office have been disposed of by public auction. The advisability of disposing of stores in this manner is amply
apparent from the following reasons:
(a) The abrupt ending of hostilities left the Canadian Government with considerable quantities of stores on its hands in Canada.
464 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
(b) The major portion of the surplus stores in England had been used in the course of training in England, and in the majority of cases the condition of the material would not have warranted paying the high cost of freight across the Atlantic.
(c) At the time of the Armistice there was a shortage of materials of all kinds in England, prices were high, and by taking advantage of an early market the Disposal Board was enabled to hold four distinctly successful and profitable sales.
It should be mentioned that in most cases, notwithstanding 'that they had seen service, the articles disposed of brought higher prices than they cost when new. The following is a typical example of such advantageous results:— At a sale held after the closing of the Canadian Training 'School the stores disposed of consisted of lumber, wire, wire netting, iron sheets, etc., all of which had been in use for over two and a half years. Yet, while the original cost of this material amounted to approximately £400, the proceeds of the sale amounted to £851.
The sale at the Ashford Depot realised approximately,440,000; the sale at Liphook Depot £9,000, and the sale at Seaford £3,300.
It is proposed to carry on these sales from time to time as stores become surplus, not only in order to reduce the number of men employed in the Canadian Ordnance Services as rapidly as possible, but because it is not desired to retain one man more than is necessary in England after the Canadian Troops as a whole have returned to Canada.
Interned Prisoners of War.