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«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»

-- [ Page 65 ] --

Opening of the Canadian Red Cross Society's Rest Home for Canadian Nurses at 13, Cheyne Place, London.

494 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

Seventy-eight Nurses arrived from Canada to serve under St. John Ambulance Association.

A "Canada" Car contributed to the Princess Christian Hospital Train.

Fifty-six motor ambulances provided for Society's work.

Canadian Red Cross supplies given to the following Hospitals in France:—Two Casualty Clearing Stations with 200 beds each ; four Stationary Hospitals with 200 beds each; four General Hospitals with 1,040 beds each; six Field Ambulances with 50 beds each; and in England to the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital with 1,000 beds, besides comforts to Canadians in other Hospitals.

Depot established in Paris to distribute supplies to French Hospitals.

Women assist the Canadian Red Cross Society's work at Boulogne in search for missing and wounded Canadian officers.

Canadian Red Cross Society erected and equipped a ward in the St. John Ambulance Association Hospital in France.

1915-1916.

The King's Canadian Red Cross Convalescent Hospital, opened at Bushey Park.

The Canadian Red Cross Society's Nurses' Rest Home at Margate, opened April 1, 1916.

The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire Hospital for Officers, opened May 11.

The Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital, Buxton, opened May 16.

Assistance given to Canadian Army Medical Corps in England on behalf of 16,000 to 18,000 sick and wounded Canadians monthly.

Aid given in the erection and equipping of huts and other buildings for five Canadian Hospitals in England and five in France.

Recreation huts erected, equipped and maintained in the Canadian Hut Hospitals.

Red Cross. 495 Large issues made to French Red Cross Societies and 300 French Hospitals supplied direct with stores.

Five thousand cases per month distributed from Paris stores.

Convoy of five motor ambulances started in Paris in conjunction with the British Red Cross Society.

The sum of 300,000 francs presented to French War Societies as a token of sympathy from Canada.

Fifty-nine Canadian Red Cross Society ambulances working near Boulogne.

Prisoners of War Department becomes Care Committee for Canadians, under Central Committee.

1916-1917.

Assistance given in France to five General and three Stationary Hospitals, four Casualty Clearing Stations, 13 Field Ambulances, and 14 small Hospitals attached to Forestry, Tunnelling, and other Companies.

5,432 cases of supplies given to Belgian, Italian, French, Serbian, Russian, and Roumanian Red Cross.

Comforts distributed to 20,000 sick and wounded Canadians monthly, throughout Great Britain, and 21 Canadian and 130 British Hospitals.

The following Hospitals opened by the Canadian Red Cross Society were transferred to the Military Authorities on April 1, 1917:-Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital, the King's Canadian Red Cross, Society's Convalescent Hospital, the Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital, Buxton; the Princess Patricia Canadian Red Cross Society's Hospital at Ramsgate.

Chest Wards erected in No. 1, No. 2, and No. 7 Canadian General Hospitals in France.

Advanced Store opened in France, adjacent to the Headquarters of the Deputy-Director General of Medical Services in charge of officer attached to the Deputy Director-General of Medical Services.

Canadian Red Cross Home for Officers, opened at Moor Court.

Sidmouth, December, 1917.

496 Overseas Military Forces of Canada. 1918.

Canadian Red Cross Society's Rest House for Nurses, opened at 66, Ennismore Gardens, London, S.W., January, 1918.

Canadian Red Cross Society's Rest House for Nurses, opened at Boulogne, April 1, 1918.

Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital, at Vincennes, near Paris, opened July 3 by Sir Robert Borden, as a gift from the Canadian Red Cross Society to the people of France.

Opening of the Manor House, Bexhill, as an Officers' Casualty Company.

Opening of the Canadian Red Cross Officers' Hospital, London.

Opening of Canadian Red Cross Society Nursing Home, Seaford, for the wives of officers and other ranks.

Work carried on in the closing months of the year for the people suffering privation in the areas evacuated by the enemy. Food and clothing were supplied by the Canadian Red Cross Society while the enemy was retreating from France and Belgium.

Canadian Military Y.M.C.A.

SERVICE TO THE TROOPS FROM

VALCARTIER TO THE RHINE, AND

FROM ARCHANGEL TO PALESTINE.

The Beginning. The Canadian Y.M.C.A., known to the Canadian troops as the " Y," was among the natural growths of this war. Fortythree years previously it had instituted the first military work of any " Y."

That was at a camp at Niagara, in 1871. Later it seized its opportunity in the Campaign against the Boers. But it was left for the Great War to develop an organisation that became an integral part of the fighting unit and the affinity of the fighting spirit.

At the first call to arms in Canada in August, 1914, it penetrated the life of Valcartier Camp. When the First Contingent sailed there were with it six " Y " Officers with the honorary rank of Captain. They stuck to their work in the Canadian camps in England, but when it came to following the troops to France there were difficulties. The British Military organisation did not provide for Y.M.C.A. Officers. The way of those first Canadian Y.M.C.A. Officers was hard.





Still, within a year they were able to justify their presence. The War Office recognised them, though at the same time it refused to include them in the War Establishments. By authority, however, each Canadian Division in the field was allotted six " Y " Officers. As no "other ranks " were authorised these had for the time being to be borrowed from the Units. For another year this system was continued, everyone -including the British Military authorities-acknowledging the service the " Y " rendered, and to all intents and purposes according it the privileges of Establishment.

In May, 1917, formal Establishment was at last authorised. The provision was for 114 officers and 265 other ranks in England and France. In a little more than a year from then the personnel of the "Y" was 140 officers and 745 other ranks. This growth has increased with the expansion of centres in England and France, every Unit of sufficient size being reached in some way, either by a complete programme of huts and entertainment or by the provision of reading and writing material, except in the few instances where Units are so constantly on the move, and so detached, as to prevent the adoption of any regular scheme of service.

(642) KK 498 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

In the Battle Zone. Of course, the main consideration was " Service to the Troops." Indeed, that phrase was the motto of the Canadian Military Y.M.C.A. The organisation in Canada fed the detachments Overseas by collecting funds, while the English end. existed for the benefit of the soldiers in the British Isles, freshly arrived from Canada and in training for duty in France, or wounded and recovering in British hospitals.

Everything turned towards the fighting machine facing the Germans.

Over there, in France, was the real struggle to keep the advantages offered by the organisation at the elbow of the soldier. Growing weekly with the increase of funds, the opportunities afforded, and the knowledge of the work required, the organisation might easily have become too unwieldy for the rapid moves which have swung the Canadian Corps from Ypres to the Rhine in the course of its career.

It was the solution of that problem, added to the lack of transport consequent on the requirements of immense armies, which taxed the ingenuity and resources of the " Y." It was a simple enough matter in general to provide for the needs of a Corps at rest. That was merely a question of huts, marquees, tents, and determination.

But when the Canadian Corps moved-as it did from Ypres to the Somme, from the Somme to Lens, from Lens to Passchendaele, from Passchendaele back to Arras, from Arras to Amiens, from Amiens to Arras again, and thereafter advanced, guns, horse and foot, miles a day at times-it tested the personnel, equipment, endurance, and ingenuity of the " Y " to the utmost. It was not merely the closing in one place and the opening in another. There were always immovable huts in the old place, and nothing but ruins in the new. The huts had to be left -for some other organisation to make use of for the incoming troops-but the provision left by the predecessors of the Canadians in the new area was naturally insufficient to the needs of the Canadian " Y."

An Enterprise on Wheels. Then again there was the necessity of carrying on an immense retail business under all the disadvantages of instability. In 1918 the " Y " Canteens in France—a great enterprise on wheels-did $5,000,000 worth of business. Not only had stock to be moved and new housing found, but deliveries of fresh supplies were rendered uncertain and irregular. During 1918 the H.Q. stores-a vast quantity of goods with corresponding equipment—had to be moved Y. M. C. A. 499 17 times. And yet this supply of comforts and luxuries was, compelled to keep pace with an army equipped with everything requisite to secure mobility.

For assistance in the great effort the Canadian " Y " owes. much gratitude to the Army authorities, British and Canadian, to the Commanding Officers of Units, and to the troops themselves, without whose co-operation no organisation could have been efficiently carried on. The Army authorities, indeed, were quick to realise the effect of the " Y " service oil the morale of the soldiers and provided facilities with a gratifying willingness, while in nearly every case Commanding Officers, more closely in touch with the needs of the men, lent their influence and support.

How the Men Helped. Here is a typical illustration of the assistance given by the soldiers themselves. The " Y " officer at the Base was warned only a few hours ahead of the impending attack on Arras of August 26, 1918. As the Corps had just returned from Amiens, there were no supplies on hand for the " Y's " free distribution of food and comforts to the wounded, which was a feature of every battle. The " Y " officer appealed in person for aid to the O.C. of the Base ; but there were only two lorries available, and the drivers had been on duty for 24 hours without rest. " r won't order them out," he said, " but if you can get them to take the stuff up from the port I will let them go."

The " Y " officer put the thing to the men as they were undressing for bed, dead tired, satisfied that they had done their share of that spell of duty.

" There's a scrap on up there at Arras to-morrow morning early," said the " Y " officer, " and there are no cigarettes, or chocolate, or hot coffee, or biscuits. But there's any quantity of it on the wharves at Boulogne.

Can you get it up? " The two weary drivers and their assistants pulled on their clothes and started for Boulogne. At midnight they started back on their way to Arras, and at 4 a.m., a few minutes after the " kick-off," they were unloading the needed supplies close up to the attack. They had worked through 48 hours without a rest to furnish, through the " Y," the stores of which the fighting troops were in urgent need.

Through all the steady fighting of 1918-and the Canadian Corps saw no real rest from August 8 to November 11-the Canadian " Y " kept right up with the front lines. In all the (642) KK2 500 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

attacks they were on hand with free comforts at those points where the wounded could best be served. Sometimes their officers went over with the attack carrying chocolate and cigarettes. Three M.Cs were the official recognition they received, with three Orders of the British Empire, and five Mentions. But even more satisfying were the unofficial thanks of the men themselves.

With the Cavalry. The difficulties of keeping up with the fighting Units are well illustrated in the " Y " work with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. The " Y " officer had no lorry for the service of the mounted men. Finally the O.C. found him a horse, an old French buggy, and a man. Thereafter, wherever the Cavalry went into action the old buggystarting well ahead so as to be in at the finish-lumbered with a case of tea, two cases of milk, two bags of sugar, a tea-urn, and some cigarettes.

But as the travelling had to be by night to conceal the movement, selection of the smoothest course was impossible.

Once the springs broke, just as the Cavalry were passing through captured Peronne. A German waggon was commandeered, a -second horse added, and so satisfactory was the service thereafter that all the Cavalry canteens were handed over to the management of the " Y."

After the Armistice. The Armistice and consequent movement up to the Rhine did not relieve the " Y " of its responsibilities, though they did lessen its worries. There were theatres and other buildings for the requisitioning; there were light and heat and stability and German orchestras. But there was the added necessity of providing for a bigger programme than ever, as the soldiers now had not only fewer interests but more time on their hands.

To meet these contingencies the " Y " made arrangements of a more ambitious character than anything hitherto contemplated, much less attempted. There were three large units to entertain in Germany-two Divisions and the Corps Troops. For one Division alone 12 theatres were employed and 15 canteens opened. The extent of the patronage is shown by the expenditure in those canteens. In thirteen days the takings amounted to more than $50,000. In one Brigade there were four cinemas in operation, and every night 2,500 men were entertained in rotation, and at night 2,500 men were entertained by cinemas, suppers, and variety shows.



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