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THE ARMY A Brief History of the Canadian Expeditionary Force The First Canadian Contingent 19141915 When the year 1914 dawned in Canada there were few Canadians who dreamed that the year was destined to usher in what would become the greatest war in history to that point a war which was to claim the lives of over 65000 young Canadians The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo went almost unnoticed in Canada There had always been problems in the Balkans what concern was it of Canada And even if war did break out in Europe it would be short and sharp and would probably be over before any Canadian troops could reach the theater of operations The outbreak of war between Great Britain and Germany on August 4 1914 therefore found Canada completely unprepared Canada had only 3110 permanent troops a few outdated machine-guns and artillery pieces and a militia system so inadequate that it had roused the scorn of German military writers who had pronounced it a negligible factor so far as a European war was concerned However with the coming of war the Canadian government promptly sent a cable to England offering the services of Canadian troops The offer was accepted a few days later and preparations were immediately begun for the mobilization of a division of approximately 20000 men That Canada was automatically at war when Britain was at war was unquestioned Sir Wilfrid Laurier spoke for the majority of Canadians when he proclaimed it is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country The story of the first Canadian division from its almost impromptu organization at Valcartier Camp near Quebec to its heroic stand at the Second Battle of Ypres when it was
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