What was the wage of the soldiers serving in the CEF compared to the soldiers serving in the British army?

What was the wage of the soldiers serving in the CEF compared to the soldiers serving in the British army?


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I believe that the title explains the question quite well however I will elaborate.

We know that soldiers, even conscripted ones were indeed paid during their service in the two different armies. However, is there any difference to how they were paid? Was one paid better than the other?

I have fumbled through many archives and googled the question phrased in many different ways to no avail.

Sources would help greatly, thanks.


This article discusses several aspects of life in the CEF, including pay scales in effect:

According to this site the exchange rate between CAD and GBP in 1916 was

1 CAD = 0.57431 GBP ~ 11s 6d = 11 shillings 6 pence

which should allow meaningful comparison to British pay rates once they have been tracked down.


War Office Instruction 166 (1914) detailed the rates of pay for all ranks in the various arms of the British Armed Forces as of 1914.

I've listed the pay scales covering infantry only, but even within this limitation, you'll notice that Foot Guards were paid more than Line Infantry.

Infantry Lieutenant-Colonel 28s 0d Major 16s 0d Captain 12s 6d Lieutenant 8s 6d Second Lieutenant 7s 6d Quartermaster 10s 0d Infantry Foot Guards/Infantry of the Line Sergeant-Major 5s 2d/5s 0d Quartermaster-Sergeant 4s 2d/4s 0d Company Sergeant-Major 4s 2d/4s 0d Company Quartermaster-Sergeant 3s 8d/3s 6d Colour-Sergeant 3s 8d/3s 6d Sergeant 2s 6d/2s 4d Corporal 1s 9d/1s 8d Private 1s 1d/1s 0d additional proficiency pay is payable if the soldier fulfils certain conditions as to service and qualification: rates 3d or 6d per day, according to proficiency.

Source

I have been able to do some verification on these figures as they appear on several websites (Such as Tommy1418 and "Innovating in Combat") but I've not been able to find a digital image/copy of War Office Instruction 166 (1914) yet to fully check the figures.


What was the wage of the soldiers serving in the CEF compared to the soldiers serving in the British army? - History

On June 16, 1942, Public Law 77-607, the "Pay Readjustment Act of 1942", was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The law instituted the method of computing longevity pay for enlisted personnel the same as that for commissioned officers, that is, 5 percent of base pay for each three years of service, up to a maximum of 30 years.

Covering the majority of World War II, the United States military officer and enlisted base pay scales, effective June 1, 1942 through June 30, 1946, for active components of the Navy, Marines Corps, Army, and Coast Guard.

The pay rates are monthly, US dollar.

1942-1946 Enlisted Base Military Pay Chart

Enlisted pay chart for 12 to over 21 years of service.
GradeYears of Service
Over 12 Over 15 Over 18 Over 21
1st 165.60 172.50 179.40 186.30
2nd 136.80 142.50 148.20 153.90
3rd 115.20 120.00 124.80 129.60
4th 93.60 97.50 101.40 105.30
5th 79.20 82.50 85.80 89.10
6th 64.80 67.50 72.20 72.90
7th 60.00 62.50 65.00 67.50
Enlisted pay chart for 24 to over 30 years of service.
GradeYears of Service
Over 24 Over 27 Over 30
1st 193.20 200.10 207.00
2nd 159.60 165.30 171.00
3rd 134.40 139.20 144.00
4th 109.20 113.10 117.00
5th 92.40 95.70 99.00
6th 75.60 78.30 81.00
7th 70.00 72.50 75.00

Note 1: The "E" and "O" pay grades did not come until the approval of the Career Compensation Act of 1949 however, for comparison purposes, the 1st Grade, is the same as today's E-7 7th Grade is the same as E-1.

Note 2: Chief petty officers under acting appointment shall be included in the first grade at a monthly base pay of $126.

1942-1946 Military Officer Base Pay Chart

The pay of the sixth period shall be paid to colonels of the Army, captains of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade to lieutenant colonels of the Army, commanders of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade, and lieutenant commanders of the line and Engineer Corps of the Coast Guard, who have completed thirty years' service and to the Chief of Chaplains of the Army when not holding rank above that of colonel.

The pay of the fifth period shall be paid to lieutenant colonels of the Army, commanders of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade who are not entitled to the pay of the sixth period and to majors of the Army, lieutenant commanders of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade, who have completed twenty-three years' service.

The pay of the fourth period shall be paid to majors of the Army, lieutenant commanders of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade who are not entitled to the pay of the fifth period to captains of the Army, lieutenants of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade, who have completed seventeen years' service.

The pay of the third period shall be paid to captains of the Army, lieutenants of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade who are not entitled to the pay of the fourth period to first lieutenants of the Army, lieutenants (junior grade) of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade, who have completed ten years' service.

The pay of the second period shall be paid to first lieutenants of the Army, lieutenants (junior grade) of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade who are not entitled to the pay of the third period and to second lieutenants of the Army, ensigns of the Navy, and officers of corresponding grade, who have completed five years' service and to contract surgeons serving full time.

The pay of the first period shall be paid to all other officers.

For Warrant Officer pay, refer to Section 8 of Public Law 77-607.

Effective June 1, 1942 through June 30, 1946.

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Military Pay

1940's Pay Scales

1942-1946 military base pay chart for active officer and enlisted personnel of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.


The Road to War and Back

The Australian men who signed up to fight in the Great War had many reasons. Patriotism, a sense of adventure, a sense of duty to King, country and family- and pay.

My novel hinges on one critical point of believability- that one of my farming brothers, Bill, despite having moral objections to the war, nonetheless signs up.

Why? There are other factors at play, including the need to chase down his brother, who's done the family a terrible wrong. But he could just as easily wait for his brother's return to have their reckoning. For Bill to make such a big shift, it has to be a matter of money- not the option of bringing home pay, but the absolute necessity, and the impossibility of getting the same pay anywhere else. Without it, the family will lose everything they've worked for.

As I run through the final draft of the story, I'm pinning down details that have for a long time been left blank. One of those was the assumption that serving in the Australian Infantry Forces would be an attractive source of income for a family whose farm was on the brink of disaster due to years of drought. But to prove that, I needed to find out first what the income was like for a soldier in the Great War, and second, to determine whether men had indeed sent their pay on to family, or whether it had all remained with them (or with the Army).

I'm willing to guess that anyone who knows their Australian First World War research might have been ahead of me on this, because I found the answers fast.

Australian soldier pay rates in WWI

Australian troops were known to their Commonwealth counterparts as "six bob a day tourists", which tells you almost all you need to know right there- the men, at Private rank, were paid six shillings a day, which is apparently nearly three times as much as their UK counterparts. One shilling was held over as "deferred" pay, to be paid out at the end of their service. Soldiers higher in rank were paid more.

Of the 5s they received each day after their deferred pay, the men could choose how much was allocated to Australia and their family, and how much they received on the Front.

The answer had indeed been in front of me for years, on the Embarkation Roll of soldiers departing for war. I've been using the 11th Battalion's embarkation roll to choose soldiers to research for a long time now, and sure enough, there are multiple columns on the right of every page listing the pay in detail.

My character needs to be particularly desperate to warrant a complete reversal of everything he stands for, and I have all the reasons why- I just needed to know how realistic it would be for him to allocate nearly every pence of his pay back to his family.

So, I hunted down the list until I found a man in the ranks who did just that.

Private Edward James Lindsey was a 21 year old mechanic when he signed up for war in 1914. He shipped out with the 11th Battalion in November, leaving behind wife Hilda, who he'd married on August 22nd, just two and half months earlier- and 18 days after war was declared. In his pay, he allocated nearly everything to be sent home to his family- 4 shillings and 6 pence a week, leaving him just sixpence for his needs overseas.

There's something about that allocation that makes me think Edward must have been a determined and selfless young man- and I could only hope like hell, as I scrambled to dig up his record, that he had made it home to his wife.

I'm happy to say, he did. He was invalided out of Gallipoli with influenza, and went into an administrative role for the rest of the war, first in England and then in France. He rose up the ranks, and his pay increased. Hilda moved to London. And in 1919, she gave birth to their first child. Edward, Hilda and their baby returned to Australia together in 1919, and in the decades after, Edward's military correspondence lists him as a successful small businessman with a service station in the Western Australian country town of Lake Yealering.

I plan to look more closely at Edward Lindsey's service and life in a later post, but for now he was exactly the example I needed of a young soldier living for his family.


Contents

When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany in August 1914, Canada was a Dominion of the British Empire with full control over only domestic affairs, thus automatically joining the First World War. After the war, the Canadian government wanted to avoid a repeat of the Conscription Crisis of 1917, which had divided the country and French and English Canadians. Stating that "Parliament will decide," in 1922 Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King avoided participating in the Chanak Crisis as the Parliament of Canada was not in session. [10]

The 1931 Statute of Westminster gave Canada autonomy in foreign policy. When Britain entered World War II in September 1939, some experts suggested that Canada was still bound by Britain's declaration of war because it had been made in the name of their common monarch, but Prime Minister King again said that "Parliament will decide." [10] [11] : 2

In 1936 King had told Parliament, "Our country is being drawn into international situations to a degree that I myself think is alarming." [11] : 2 Both the government and the public remained reluctant to participate in a European war, in part because of the Conscription Crisis of 1917. Both King and Opposition Leader Robert James Manion stated their opposition to conscripting troops for overseas service in March 1939. Nonetheless, King had not changed his view of 1923 that Canada would participate in a war by the Empire whether or not the United States did. By August 1939 his cabinet, including French Canadians, was united for war in a way that it probably would not have been during the Munich Crisis, although both cabinet members and the country based their support in part on expecting that Canada's participation would be "limited." [11] : 5–8

It had been clear that Canada would elect to participate in the war before the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939. Four days after the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September 1939, Parliament was called in special session and both King and Manion stated their support for Canada following Britain, but did not declare war immediately, partly to show that Canada was joining out of her own initiative and was not obligated to go to war. [ citation needed ] Unlike 1914 when war came as a surprise, the government had prepared various measures for price controls, rationing, and censorship, and the War Measures Act of 1914 was re-invoked. [12] After two days of debate, the House of Commons approved an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne on 9 September 1939 giving authority to declare war to King's government. A small group of Quebec legislators attempted to amend the bill, and CCF party leader J. S. Woodsworth stated that some of his party opposed it. Woodsworth was the only Member of Parliament to vote against the bill and it thus passed by near-acclamation. [13] [14] The Senate also passed the bill that day. The Cabinet drafted a proclamation of war that night, which Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir signed on 10 September. [15] King George VI approved Canada's declaration of war with Germany on Sept. 10. [16] Canada later also declared war on Italy (11 June 1940), Japan (7 December 1941), and other Axis powers, enshrining the principle that the Statute of Westminster conferred these sovereign powers to Canada.

Though Canada was the oldest Dominion in the British Commonwealth, it was, for the most part, reluctant to enter the war. Canada, with a population somewhere between 11 and 12 million, eventually raised very substantial armed forces. Around 10% of the entire population of Canada joined the army, with only a small portion conscripted. After the long struggle of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the challenges of the Second World War accelerated Canada's ongoing transformation into a modern urban and industrialized nation.

Canada informally followed the British Ten Year Rule that reduced defence spending even after Britain abandoned it in 1932. Having suffered from nearly 20 years of neglect, Canada's armed forces were small, poorly equipped, and for the most part unprepared for war in 1939. King's government began increasing spending in 1936, but the increase was unpopular. The government had to describe it as primarily for defending Canada, with an overseas war "a secondary responsibility of this country, though possibly one requiring much greater ultimate effort." The Sudeten crisis of 1938 caused annual spending to almost double. Nonetheless, in March 1939 the Permanent Active Militia (or Permanent Force (PF), Canada's full-time army) had only 4,169 officers and men while the Non-Permanent Active Militia (Canada's reserve force) numbered 51,418 at the end of 1938, mostly armed with weapons from 1918. In March 1939 the Royal Canadian Navy had 309 officers and 2967 naval ratings, and the Royal Canadian Air Force had 360 officers and 2797 airmen. [11] : 2–5

  • Consult with Britain and France, and "equally important, discreet consultation with Washington".
  • Prioritize Canadian defence, especially the Pacific coast.
  • Possibly aid Newfoundland and the West Indies.
  • The RCAF should be the first to serve overseas.
  • Canada can "most effective[ly]" serve its allies by providing munitions, raw materials, and food. [11] : 9

King's cabinet approved this policy on 24 August 1939, and in September disapproved of the proposal by the Chiefs of Staff to create two army divisions for overseas service, in part due to cost. His "moderate" war strategy soon demonstrated its national and bilingual support in two elections. When Premier of Quebec Maurice Duplessis called an election on an anti-war platform, Adélard Godbout's Liberals won a majority on 26 October 1939. When the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed a resolution criticizing the government for not fighting the war "in the vigorous manner the people of Canada desire to see", King dissolved the federal parliament and, in the resulting election on 26 March 1940, his Liberals won the largest majority in history. [11] : 9–11

Mobilization and deployment Edit

At the outbreak of war, Canada's commitment to the war in Europe was limited by the government to one division, and one division in reserve for home defence. Nevertheless, the eventual size of the Canadian armed forces greatly exceeded those envisioned in the pre-war period's so-called mobilization "schemes". Over the course of the war, the army enlisted 730,000 the air force 260,000 and the navy 115,000 personnel. In addition, thousands of Canadians served in the Royal Air Force. Approximately half of Canada's army and three-quarters of its air-force personnel never left the country, compared to the overseas deployment of approximately three-quarters of the forces of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. By war's end, however, 1.1 million men and women had served in uniform for Canada. [17] The navy grew from only a few ships in 1939 to over 400 ships, including three aircraft carriers and two cruisers. This maritime effort helped keep the shipping lanes open across the Atlantic throughout the war.

In part, this reflected Mackenzie King's policy of "limited liability" and the labour requirements of Canada's industrial war effort. But it also reflected the objective circumstances of the war. With France defeated and occupied, there was no Second World War equivalent of the Great War's Western Front until the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. While Canada sent 348 troops, the manpower requirements of the North Africa and Mediterranean theatres were comparatively small and readily met by British and other British Empire/Commonwealth forces.

While the response to war was initially intended to be limited, resources were mobilized quickly. Convoy HX 1 departed Halifax just six days after the nation declared war, escorted by HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Saguenay. [18] The 1st Canadian Infantry Division arrived in Britain on 1 January 1940. [19] By 13 June 1940, the 1st Battalion of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment was deployed to France in an attempt to secure the southern flank of the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium. By the time the battalion arrived, the British and allies were cut off at Dunkirk, Paris had fallen, and after penetrating 200 km inland, the battalion returned to Brest and then to Britain.

Apart from the Dieppe Raid in August 1942, the frustrated Canadian Army fought no significant engagement in the European theatre of operations until the invasion of Sicily in the summer of 1943. With the Sicily Campaign, the Canadians had the opportunity to enter combat and later were among the first to enter Rome.

Canada was the only country of the Americas to be actively involved in the war [20] prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Canadian support for the war was mobilized through a propaganda campaign, including If Day, a staged 'Nazi' invasion of Winnipeg which generated more than $3 million in war bonds.

Although it regularly consulted with Canada, Britain was essentially in charge of both countries' war plans during the first nine months of the war. Neither nation seriously planned for Canada's own defence Canada's training, production, and equipment emphasized combat in Europe. Its primary role was to supply food, raw materials, and to train pilots from throughout the Empire with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan the British proposed on 26 September 1939, not send hundreds of thousands of troops overseas as it had done in World War I. [21] [22] Canada was the primary location of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the largest air force training program in history. 131,553 air force personnel, including 49,808 pilots, were trained at airbases in Canada from October 1940 to March 1945. [23] More than half of the BCAT graduates were Canadians who went on to serve with the RCAF and Royal Air Force (RAF). One out of the six RAF Bomber Command groups flying in Europe was Canadian.

It is possible that Britain did not want Canada to send troops overseas at all. The Canadian government agreed, because doing so might result in the need for conscription, and it did not want a recurrence of the problem with French Canadians that caused the 1917 crisis. Public opinion did cause King to send the 1st Canadian Infantry Division in late 1939, possibly against British wishes, but it is possible that had the air training proposal arrived ten days earlier no Canadian troops would have left North America that year. Canada fully cooperated with Britain otherwise, devoting 90% of the manpower of the small Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to the air training plan [21] [22] a force that had trained 125 pilots annually when the war began now produced 1,460 airmen every four weeks under the plan. [11] : 252

In 1937 the two nations had agreed that any Canadian military equipment manufactured in Canada would use British designs. While this reasonably assumed that its troops would presumably always fight with Britain so the two forces should share equipment, it also resulted in Canada being dependent on components from a source across the Atlantic. Canadian manufacturing methods and tooling used American, not British designs, so implementing the plan would have meant complete changes to Canadian factories. Once war began, however, British companies refused Canadians their designs and Britain was uninterested in Canadian military equipment production. [21] (When Canada suggested in early 1940 that its factories could replace British equipment given to the 1st Canadian Division, Britain replied that Canada might provide regimental badges.) While Britain gave Canada priority over the United States for purchases, Canada had very little military production capacity in 1939 and Britain had a shortage of Canadian dollars. [11] : 31,494 As late as 12 June 1940, King's government and the Canadian Manufacturers' Association asked the British and French governments to end their "small experimental orders" and "make known at the earliest moment their pressing needs of munitions and supplies", as "Canadian plants might be utilized to a far greater extent as a source of supply". [24]

This situation began to change on 24 May 1940, during the Battle for France, when Britain told Canada that it could no longer provide equipment. 48 hours later, Britain asked Canada for equipment. On 28 May seven Canadian destroyers sailed to the English Channel, leaving only two French submarines to defend the nation's Atlantic coast. Canada also sent 50 to 60 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 75,000 Ross rifles, leaving itself with a shortage. The air training plan's first graduates were intended to become instructors for future students, but they were sent to Europe immediately because of the danger to Britain. The end of British equipment deliveries threatened the training plan, and King had to ask president Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States for aircraft and engines by stating that they would help defend North America. [21] [11] : 35–36

As the fall of France grew imminent Britain looked to Canada to rapidly provide additional troops to strategic locations in North America, the Atlantic and Caribbean. Following the Canadian destroyer already on station from 1939, Canada provided troops from May 1940 to assist in the defence of the West Indies with several companies serving throughout the war in Bermuda, Jamaica, the Bahamas and British Guiana. [11] On 12 June 1940, the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade was deployed to Brest as a part of the second British Expeditionary Force during Operation Aerial. [25] The brigade advanced towards Le Mans on 14 June before they withdrew to the United Kingdom from Brest, and Saint-Malo on 18 June. [25]

Defence of the United Kingdom Edit

From France's collapse in June 1940 to the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, Canada supplied Britain with urgently needed food, weapons, and war materials by naval convoys and airlifts, as well as pilots and planes who fought in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. During the Battle of Britain between 88 and 112 Canadian pilots served in the RAF, [26] most had come to Britain on their own initiative. For political necessity an "all Canadian" squadron was formed under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at the start of the war and the Squadron served in the Battle of France. They were later joined by No. 1 Squadron RCAF in June 1940 during the Battle for Britain and they were in "the thick" of fighting in August, by the end of the battle in October 1940, 23 Canadian pilots had been killed. [27] Squadrons of the RCAF and individual Canadian pilots flying with the British RAF fought with distinction in Spitfire and Hurricane fighters during the Battle of Britain. By 1 January 1943, there were enough RCAF bombers and crews in Britain to form No. 6 Group, one of eight bomber groups within RAF Bomber Command. If the planned German invasion of Britain had taken place in 1941, units of the formation later known as I Canadian Corps were already deployed between the English Channel and London to meet them.

After France's surrender Britain told Canada that a German invasion of North America was not impossible, and that Canadians needed to plan accordingly. From June 1940 Canada viewed defending itself as important as aiding Britain, perhaps slightly more so. Canadian troops were sent to the defence of the colony of Newfoundland, on Canada's east coast, the closest point in North America to Germany. Fearing the loss of a land link to the British Isles, Canada was requested to also occupy Iceland, which it did from June 1940 to the spring of 1941, following the initial British invasion. [11] Canada also produced military equipment using American methods and tooling. Cost was no longer an issue on 24 June King's government presented the first $1 billion budget in Canadian history. It included $700 million in war expenses compared to $126 million in the 1939–1940 fiscal year however, due to the war, the overall economy was the strongest in Canadian history. With opposition support the National Resources Mobilization Act began conscription. Drafted soldiers were for use only in North America unless they volunteered, avoiding the issue that caused the 1917 crisis. (When Mayor of Montreal Camilien Houde nonetheless opposed conscription in August 1940, he was arrested and sent to an internment camp.) [21] [11] : 32–33

The United States government also feared the consequences to North America of a German victory in Europe. Because of the Monroe Doctrine the American military had long considered any foreign attack on Canada as the same as attacking the United States. American isolationists who criticized Roosevelt administration aid to Europe could not criticize helping Canada, [21] [28] which a survey of Americans in the summer of 1940 found that 81% supported defending. [29] The isolationist Chicago Tribune advocating a military alliance on 19 June surprised and pleased Canada. [28] Through King, the United States asked the United Kingdom to disperse the Royal Navy around the Empire so that the Germans could not control it. On 16 August 1940, King met with Roosevelt at the border town of Ogdensburg, New York. Through the Ogdensburg Agreement, they agreed to create the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, an organization that would plan joint defence of both countries and would continue to exist after the war. In the fall of 1940 a British defeat seemed so likely the joint board agreed to give the United States command of the Canadian military if Germany won in Europe. By the spring of 1941, as the military situation improved, Canada refused to accept American control of its forces if and when the United States entered the war. [30]

Newfoundland Edit

When war was declared, Britain expected Canada to take responsibility for defending British North America. [11] In 1939, L. E. Emerson was the Commissioner of Defence for Newfoundland. [note 1] Winston Churchill instructed Emerson to cooperate with Canada and comply with a "friendly invasion" as he encouraged Mackenzie King to advise the occupation of Newfoundland by the king as monarch of Canada. By March 1942, Commissioner Emerson had restructured official organizations, such as The Aircraft Detection Corps Newfoundland, and integrated them into Canadian units, like The Canadian Aircraft Identity Corps.

Several Canadian regiments were garrisoned in Newfoundland during the Second World War: the most famous regiment was The Royal Rifles of Canada who were stationed at Cape Spear before being dispatched to British Hong Kong In July 1941, The Prince Edward Island Highlanders arrived to replace them In 1941 and 1942, The Lincoln & Welland Regiment was assigned to Gander Airport and then St. John's.

The Canadian Army built a concrete fort at Cape Spear with several large guns to deter German naval raids. Other forts were built overlooking St. John's Harbour magazines and bunkers were cut into the South Side Hills and torpedo nets were draped across the harbour mouth. Cannons were erected at Bell Island to protect the merchant navy from submarine attacks and guns were mounted at Rigolette to protect Goose Bay.

The British Army mustered two units in Newfoundland for overseas service: The 59th Field Artillery and the 166th Field Artillery. The 59th served in northern Europe, the 166th served in Italy and North Africa. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was also mustered, but was never deployed overseas. No. 125 (Newfoundland) Squadron R.A.F. served in England and Wales and provided support during D-Day: the squadron was disbanded on 20 November 1945. [31]

All Canadian soldiers assigned to Newfoundland from 1939 to 1945 received a silver clasp to their Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for overseas service. Because Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia had all issued their own volunteer service medals, the Newfoundland government minted its own volunteer service medal in 1978. The Newfoundland Volunteer War Service Medal was awarded only to Newfoundlanders who served overseas in the Commonwealth Forces but had not received a volunteer service medal. The medal is bronze: on its obverse is a crown and a caribou on its reverse is Britannia and two lions.

Battle of Hong Kong Edit

In Autumn 1941, the British government accepted an offer by the Canadian Government to send two infantry battalions and a brigade headquarters (1,975 personnel) to reinforce British, Indian and Hong Kong personnel garrisoned at Hong Kong. It was known as "C Force" and arrived in Hong Kong in mid-November 1941, but did not have all of its equipment. They were initially positioned on the south side of the Island to counter any amphibious landing. On December 8, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began their attack on Hong Kong with a force 4 times bigger than the Allied garrison. Canadian soldiers were called upon to counterattack and saw their first combat on December 11. After bitter fighting allied forces surrendered on December 25, 1941. "C Force" lost 290 personnel during the battle and a further 267 subsequently perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

Dieppe Raid Edit

There was pressure from the Canadian government to ensure that Canadian troops were put into action. [32] The Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, landed nearly 5,000 soldiers of the inexperienced Second Canadian Division and 1,000 British commandos on the coast of occupied France, in the only major combined forces assault on France prior to the Normandy invasion. While a large number of aircraft flew in support, naval gunfire was deliberately limited to avoid damage to the town and civilian casualties. As a result, the Canadian forces assaulted a heavily defended coast line with no supportive bombardment. Of the 6,086 men who made it ashore, 3,367 (60%) were killed, wounded, or captured. [33] The Royal Air Force failed to lure the Luftwaffe into open battle, and lost 106 aircraft (at least 32 to flak or accidents), compared to 48 lost by the Luftwaffe. [34] The Royal Navy lost 33 landing craft and one destroyer. Two Canadians received the Victoria Cross for actions at Dieppe: Lieutenant Colonel Charles Merritt of the South Saskatchewan Regiment and Honorary Captain John Foote, military chaplain of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.

The lessons learned at Dieppe became the textbook of "what not to do" in amphibious operations, and laid the framework for the later (Operation Torch) landings in North Africa and the Normandy landings in France. Most notably, Dieppe highlighted:

  1. the need for preliminary artillery support, including aerial bombardment [35]
  2. the need for a sustained element of surprise
  3. the need for proper intelligence concerning enemy fortifications
  4. the avoidance of a direct frontal attack on a defended port city and,
  5. the need for proper re-embarkation craft. [36]

The British developed a range of specialist armoured vehicles which allowed their engineers to perform many of their tasks protected by armour, most famously Hobart's Funnies. The major deficiencies in RAF ground support techniques led to the creation of a fully integrated Tactical Air Force to support major ground offensives. [37] Because the treads of most Churchill tanks were caught up in the shingle beaches of Dieppe, the Allies initiated pre-operation environmental intelligence collection, and devised appropriate vehicles to meet the challenges of future landing sites. [38] The raid also challenged the Allies' belief that the seizure of a major port would be essential in the creation of a second front. Their revised view was that the amount of damage sustained by bombardment in order to capture a port, would almost certainly render it useless. As a result, the decision was taken to construct prefabricated "Mulberry" harbours, and tow them to beaches as part of a large-scale invasion. [39]

Aleutian Islands campaign Edit

Shortly after the attack of Pearl Harbor, and the American entry into the war, Japanese troops invaded the Aleutian Islands. RCAF planes flew anti-submarine patrols against the Japanese while on land, Canadian troops were deployed side by side with American troops against the Japanese. Owing to circumstances, Canadians troops were only once sent into combat during the Aleutian campaign during the invasion of the island of Kiska. However, the Japanese had already withdrawn their forces at that point.

Italian campaign Edit

While Canadians served at sea, in the air, and in small numbers attached to Allied formations and independently, the Italian campaign was the first full scale combat engagement by full Canadian divisions since World War I. Canadian soldiers went ashore in 1943 in the Allied invasion of Sicily, the subsequent Allied invasion of Italy, and then fought through the long Italian Campaign. During the course of the Allied campaign in Italy, over 25,000 Canadian soldiers became casualties of war.

The 1st Canadian Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily in Operation Husky, 10 July 1943 and also Operation Baytown, part of the Allied invasion of Italy on 3 September 1943. Canadian participation in the Sicily and Italy campaigns were made possible after the government decided to break up the First Canadian Army, sitting idle in Britain. Public pressure for Canadian troops to begin fighting forced a move before the awaited invasion of northwest Europe. [40] Troops fought on through the long and difficult Italian campaign until redeployed to the Western Front in February–March 1945 during Operation Goldflake. By this time the Canadian contribution to the Italian theatre had grown to include I Canadian Corps headquarters, the 1st Division, 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division and an independent armoured brigade. Notable battles in Italy included the Moro River Campaign, the Battle of Ortona and the battles to break the Hitler Line, later fighting on the Gothic Line.

Liberation of France Edit

On 6 June 1944, the 3rd Canadian Division landed on Juno Beach in the Normandy landings and sustained heavy casualties in their first hour of attack. By the end of D-Day, the Canadians had penetrated deeper into France than either the British or the American troops at their landing sites, overcoming stronger resistance than the other beachheads except Omaha Beach. In the first month of the Normandy campaign, Canadian, British and Polish troops were opposed by some of the strongest and best trained German troops in the theatre, including the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend and the Panzer-Lehr-Division.

Several costly operations were mounted by the Canadians to fight a path to the pivotal city of Caen and then south towards Falaise, part of the Allied attempt to liberate Paris. By the time the First Canadian Army linked up with U.S. forces, closing the Falaise pocket, the destruction of the German Army in Normandy was nearly complete. Three Victoria Crosses were earned by Canadians in Northwest Europe Major David Currie of the South Alberta Regiment received the Victoria Cross for his actions at Saint-Lambert, Captain Frederick Tilston of the Essex Scottish and Sergeant Aubrey Cosens of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada were rewarded for their service in the Rhineland fighting in 1945, the latter posthumously. 50,000 Canadians fought in D-Day.

The Low Countries Edit

The British had liberated Antwerp, but that city's port could not be used until the Germans were driven from the heavily fortified Scheldt estuary. [41] In several weeks of heavy fighting in the fall of 1944, the Canadians succeeded in defeating the Germans in this region. The Canadians then turned east and played a central role in the liberation of the Netherlands. In 1944–45, the First Canadian Army was responsible for liberating much of the Netherlands from German occupation. Canada lost 7,600 troops in these operations. [42] This day is celebrated on May 5th commemorating the surrender of the German Commander-in-chief Johannes Blaskowitz to Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes, commanding I Canadian Corps, consisting of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, together with supporting units. The Corps had returned from fighting on the Italian Front in February 1945 as part of Operation Goldflake.

The arrival of Canadian troops came at a time of crisis for the Netherlands: the "hunger winter". Canadian troops gave their rations to children, and blankets to civilians. Bombers were used to drop food packets to hungry civilians in German-occupied Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and the Hague in "Operation Manna", with permission from Germany, so long as the bombers did not fly above 200 feet. [43]

The royal family of the Netherlands had moved to Ottawa until the Netherlands were liberated, and Princess Margriet was born during this Canadian exile. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, the only child of then-Queen Wilhelmina and heir to the throne, sought refuge in Canada with her two daughters, Beatrix and Irene, during the war. During Princess Juliana's stay in Canada, preparations were made for the birth of her third child. To ensure the Dutch citizenship of this royal baby, the Canadian Parliament passed a special law declaring Princess Juliana's suite at the Ottawa Civic Hospital "extraterritorial". On 19 January 1943, Princess Margriet was born. The day after Princess Margriet's birth, the Dutch flag was flown on the Peace Tower. This was the only time a foreign flag has waved atop Canada's Parliament Buildings.

In 1945, the people of the Netherlands sent 100,000 hand-picked tulip bulbs as a post-war gift for the role played by Canadian soldiers in the liberation of the Netherlands. These tulips were planted on Parliament Hill and along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. Princess Juliana was so pleased at the prominence given to the gift that in 1946, she decided to send a personal gift of 20,000 tulip bulbs to show her gratitude for the hospitality received in Ottawa. The gift was part of a lifelong bequest. Since then, tulips have proliferated in Ottawa as a symbol of peace, freedom and international friendship. Every year, Canada's capital receives 10,000 bulbs from the Dutch royal family, celebrated in the Canadian Tulip Festival. In 1995, the Netherlands donated an additional 5,000 bulbs for Parliament Hill, 1,000 for each provincial and territorial capital and 1,000 for Ste. Anne's hospital in Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que. (the only remaining federal hospital in Canada, administered by Veterans Affairs Canada) [42] It is thought that the Netherlands and the Dutch people have had an enduring affection for Canada and Canadians long after the war, lingering into the present day. [43] [44]

Battle of the Atlantic Edit

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest ongoing battle in World War II. Once Britain declared war on Germany, Canada quickly followed, entering the war on 10 September 1939, as they had a vested interest in sustaining Britain. [45] : 56

Canadian security relied on British success in this war, along with maintaining national security, politically speaking, some felt it was Canada's duty to assist her allies. For example, the Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King had been utterly convinced that it was Canada's "Self-evident national duty" to "back Britain". [45] : 38

Once World War II had erupted in 1939, Canada had a small navy. In 1939 Canada had seven warships. Once entering the war, Canada needed a naval reformation in order to keep up with and aid the British. On the outbreak of the war Canada had roughly 3,500 men supporting the RCN. In September 1940 "the RCN grew to 10,000 men". [45] : 134

The Canadian government agencies also played a major role in the patterns of warfare in the Atlantic. The Canadian Navies Division operated a network of naval control of shipping agents in the neutral United States from 1939 to 1941. [ clarification needed ] These agents managed the shipping movements of British shipping in the United States, and also managed the growing United States Navy systems in regards to basic trade movements. Special publications on trade matters were supplied to the United States Navy from Ottawa in 1941, and by the time of Pearl Harbor American port directors were working with Ottawa as a team. Ottawa's job of studying trade movements and keeping track of intelligence was so effective and crucial that they were given the task of controlling shipping west of 40〫and north of the equator from December 1941 to July 1942, along with supplying the USN trade directorate with daily intelligence. [46]

Canada was also given the responsibility of covering two strategically key points in the Atlantic. The first is known as the "Mid-Atlantic Gap", located off the coast of Greenland. This gap was a very hostile point in the supply line which was very difficult to take control. With the use of Iceland as a refuelling point and Canada to the west, the gap was narrowed down to 300 nautical miles (560 km). "The Surface gap was closed by the Royal Canadian Navy [in 1943]. This Newfoundland Escort Force started with 5 Canadian corvettes and two British destroyers [manned by Canadian seamen], followed by other Canadian-manned British destroyers when available". [47]

The second task Canada was given was to control the English Channel during Operation Overlord (the Normandy landings). "On the 6th of June, 50 RCN escorts were redeployed from the North Atlantic and Canadian Waters for invasion duties". [45] : 144 Their tasks were to cover the flanks of the invasion to ensure submarine defence of the invasion fleet, also to provide distant patrols of the southern flank of the invasion area, and lastly to prevent submarine flotillas in the channel from gaining reinforcements. This invasion relied on the RCN to cover British and American flanks to ensure a successful landing on the beaches of Normandy. [45] : 144

Canada saw enormous growth during World War II, going from a limited amount of warships to becoming the third largest navy in the world after the Axis powers were defeated and the role they played in aiding the USN in intelligence. Their primary role in protecting merchant ships from North America to Britain was ultimately successful, though that victory was shared with the major Allied powers. Throughout the war Canada had made 25,343 successful escort voyages delivering 164,783,921 tons of cargo. [45] : 56 By the end of the war, German documents state that the Royal Canadian Navy was responsible for the loss of 52 submarines in the Atlantic. In return 59 Canadian merchant ships, and 24 warships were sunk during the battle of the Atlantic. [48]

"Canadians solved the problem of the Atlantic convoys." — British Admiral Sir Percy Noble

Southeast Asia and the Pacific Edit

Canadian naval and special forces participated in various capacities in the Pacific and South-East Asia. The cruisers HMCS Ontario and HMCS Uganda, along with the armed merchant cruiser HMCS Prince Robert were assigned to the British Pacific Fleet. HMCS Uganda was in theatre at the time. HMCS Ontario arrived to support the post-war operations in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. However the Uganda was the only Royal Canadian Navy ship to take an active part against the Japanese while serving with the British Pacific Fleet. Various Canadian special forces also served in Southeast Asia including the "Sea Reconnaissance Unit", a team of navy divers tasked to spearhead assaults across the rivers in Burma. [11] [49]

Conditions aboard HMCS Uganda, compared to ships in the United States Navy, strict discipline, and the inability to display a separate Canadian identity, had contributed to poor morale and resentment amongst the crew. In an attempt to remedy this and mindful of the change in Canadian government policy that henceforth only volunteers would serve overseas, the ship's commander, Captain Edmond Rollo Mainguy, invited crew members (before the official date) to register their unwillingness to serve overseas. Of the 907 crew members, 605 did so on 7 May 1945. [50] [51]

This decision, which had legal impact, was relayed to Canada and thence to the British government. Reacting to the angry British response, the Canadians agreed to stay on station until replaced. This happened on 27 July 1945, when HMS Argonaut joined the British Pacific Fleet and Uganda departed for Esquimalt arriving on the day of the Japanese surrender. [50]

Attacks in Canadian waters and the mainland Edit

Axis U-boats operated in Canadian and Newfoundland waters throughout the war, sinking many naval and merchant vessels. Two significant attacks took place in 1942 when German U-boats attacked four allied ore carriers at Bell Island, Newfoundland. The carriers SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona were sunk by U-513 on 5 September 1942, while SS Rosecastle and P.L.M 27 were sunk by U-518 on 2 November with the loss of 69 lives. When the submarine fired a torpedo at the loading pier, Bell Island became the only location in North America to be subject to direct attack by German forces in the Second World War. U-boats were also found in the St. Lawrence River during the night of 14 October 1942, the Newfoundland Railway ferry, SS Caribou was torpedoed by German U-boat U-69 and sunk in the Cabot Strait with the loss of 137 lives. Both sides fought to outsmart each other and decide the fate of the merchant vessels in the Atlantic Ocean. Several U-boat wrecks have been found in Canadian waters, a few as far in as the Churchill River in Labrador. [52] The Canadian mainland was also attacked when the Japanese submarine I-26 shelled the Estevan Point lighthouse on Vancouver Island on 20 June 1942.

Japanese fire balloons were also launched at Canada, some reaching British Columbia and the other western provinces. The Japanese Fu-Go balloon bombs were released during the winter of 1944–45, although no Canadians were actually hurt by the devices. The Japanese Army hoped that, aside from direct blast effects the incendiary bombs would cause fires. Since the balloons had to be launched in the winter, when the jet stream is at its strongest, the snow-covered ground prevented any fires from spreading. Nevertheless, 57 devices were found during the war as far east as Manitoba. Many others were discovered as late as 2014. [53] [54]

Manufacturing, mining, and production Edit

When the Second World War began, Canada was in the midst of escaping the Great Depression and this placed a lot of importance on the industries and farmers of Canada. Canada was in desperate need of workers. During the war, Canada's industries manufactured war materials and other supplies to all allied countries valuing at almost $10 billion - approximately $100 billion today. [55] With men overseas, women began to have a more prominent role in the workplace. Due to such stringent wage and price restrictions by the government, workers rights’ were not adequately acknowledged during this time. Out of Canada's population of 11.3 million, the total number of workers in war industries was roughly 1 million, whereas 2 million were employed in agriculture, communications, and food processing. [55]

Wheat was one of Canada's largest sources of produce. Although wheat was extremely important, Canada started to drown in wheat production and James Gardiner admitted that farmers needed to produce other agricultural commodities. [56] After Gardiner's speech, farmers took a different direction and by 1944, Canada had produced 7.4 million hogs. Canada's contribution to the war effort was recognized by nations around the world. [56]

After Gardiner requested farmers to produce less wheat, during the next five years the production of wheat dropped. From 1940 to 1945, the income resulting from selling farm products such as livestock, grains, and field crops saw a dramatic increase, due to the growing worth and necessity of these goods in the war effort. And since there was a labour shortage in the farm work force, goods became more expensive. Wheat production in Canada dropped by over 200 million bushels a year between 1939 and 1945, but the total income from Canada's wheat production increased by more than $80 000 000. [57]

In 1942, Ottawa registered women between ages 20–24 into service sectors to fill in the roles of those who went to war. In total, around 1,073,000 women were in the workforce. [58] Roles that traditionally belonged to men, like agriculture, airforce, labour, and production, were filled in by women seeking to work for the economy. It was also planned for them to take over the jobs of men in the homefront to encourage them to go to war. [59] Women at the homefront provided for the war effort by donating clothes, food, money to medical organizations. [60] Because women were now working, and men going to war, average family sizes decreased, and children had no parents to care for them. There was still a stigma around women working in industries and urban jobs. [61] In contrast, the government had given 4,000-5,000 women a new responsibility- to regulate the food supplies so that it is preserved nor wasted in accordance with the fluctuating consequences of war and weather, something understood as squarely within the domestic sphere.

Children and youth also experienced significant changes to their lives. The older teenagers also served as farmers and joined into the labour force as most able-bodied men were serving overseas. The Canadian government even lowered the minimum age for obtaining a licence to 14 so that teenagers could legally operate tractors and other vehicles. [62]

Indigenous Canadians played a large role on the Home Front during The Second World War. They donated a large amount of money for patriotic and humanitarian causes. The Indigenous Canadians collected scrap metals, rubber and bones in support of the war effort. [63] More specifically, the Inuit population collected animal bones to secretly ship down south to be used for ammunition. The labour shortages across Canada during the Second World War provided improved financial conditions for many indigenous families. These shortages provided more work opportunities at higher wages the indigenous people had previously seen. Despite the influx of indigenous people entering the army and contributing at home, there was also some opposition to the war effort on the part of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Canadians. This was primarily due to taxes imposed on indigenous peoples by the government and the aftereffects of the previous war haunting the indigenous communities. Furthermore, conscription had a negative impact on the relationship between many of Canada's First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities and the federal government. [63]

Before the war, Chinese Canadians often experienced discrimination in Canada and through Canada's immigration system. Nevertheless, Chinese-Canadian contributions to the war effort became the basis for their claim to equal treatment in Canada following the war. Though initially discouraged from enlisting, the victory of Japan in Hong Kong led to renewed calls from the British government for the enlistment of Chinese-Canadians, specifically Chinese ones that could speak English and could help with guerrilla warfare. Chinese Canadians fought with the Canadian armed forces and communities raised funds for the war effort . Vancouver Chinese contributed more per capita than any other group towards Victory Loan Drives. Chinese Canadians joined into different service groups, such as the Red Cross. Many young men volunteered for service overseas, while others worked in research, and war industries. Participation in the war was somewhat controversial within the Chinese-Canadian community, due to the racist treatment they had historically endured. Yet by 1944, participation in the war effort became the basis for a petition demanding increased acknowledgment of the rights of Chinese-Canadians. [64] [65] [66]

At the beginning of the Second World War, Canada did not have an extensive manufacturing industry besides car manufacturing. [67] However, by the end of the war, Canada's wartime motor vehicle production constituted 20% of the combined total production of Canada, the US, and the UK. [11] : 167 The nation had become one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers in the 1920s, owing to the presence of branch-plants of American automakers in Ontario. In 1938, Canada's automotive industry ranked fourth in the world in the output of passenger car and trucks, even though a large part of its productive capacity remained idle because of the Great Depression. During the war, this industry was put to good use, building all manner of war material, and most particularly wheeled vehicles, of which Canada became the second largest (next to the United States) producer during the war. Canada's output of about 800,000 trucks and wheeled vehicles, [68] [69] for instance, exceeded the combined total truck production of Germany, Italy, and Japan. [70] Rivals Ford and General Motors of Canada pooled their engineering design teams to produce a standardized vehicle series, amenable to mass production: the Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck, which served throughout the British Commonwealth. With a production of some 410,000 units, the CMP trucks accounted for the majority of Canada's total truck output [68] and approximately half of the British Army's transport requirements were supplied by Canadian manufacturers. The British official History of the Second World War argues that the production of soft-skinned trucks, including the CMP truck class, was Canada's most important contribution to Allied victory. [71]

Canada also produced its own medium tank, the Ram. Though it was unsuitable for combat employment, many were used for training, and the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment used modified Rams as armoured personnel carriers in North-West Europe. [72] In addition 1,390 Canadian-built Valentine tanks were shipped to the Soviet Union. Approximately 14,000 aircraft, including Lancaster and Mosquito bombers, were built in Canada. In addition, by the end of 1944, Canadian shipyards had launched naval ships, such as destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and some 345 merchant vessels. But perhaps no Canadian contribution to the Allied war effort was so vital as that made by the metals industries: half of Allied aluminum and ninety percent of Allied nickel was supplied by Canadian sources during the war. The Canadian company Eldorado Gold Mines Ltd., which produced uranium as a byproduct of gold and radium production using ore from its mine at Port Radium in the Northwest Territories, was recruited by the Canadian government into involvement in the Manhattan Project. In particular, Eldorado's refinery at Port Hope processed ore from both Port Radium and the Belgian Congo to produce much of the uranium used in the Little Boy bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Regardless of King's political manoeuvrings, French-Canadians still experienced discrimination as Canadians—many Anglophones still held the same sentiments towards them as they did in the First World War. Approximately 160,000 French-Canadian soldiers served overseas, which comprised 20% of all Canadian. The majority of these soldiers served in Francophone infantry units such as Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, Le Régiment de la Chaudière, and the Royal 22 e Régiment. Despite the number of French-Canadians who joined the military a plebiscite that was held on April 27, 1942 to decide whether or not Canadian conscription for the Second World War should be enforced. This revealed that Quebec and other Francophone ridings were against it, whereas Anglophone communities were overwhelmingly in favour for conscription. This division and ultimate passing of Bill 80 in favour of conscription worsened relations between Anglophones and Francophones in Canada. Although most French-Canadians were against conscription, the Catholic Church ultimately encouraged participation in the war effort. This both spurred volunteerism earlyin the war and created some divisions between French-Canadians. [73] [74] [75]

Veterans Guard of Canada Edit

As with the Home Guard, the Veterans Guard of Canada was initially formed in the early days of the Second World War as a defence force in case of an attack on Canadian soil. Composed largely of First World War veterans it included, at its peak, 37 Active and Reserve companies with 451 officers and 9,806 other ranks. Over 17,000 veterans served in the force over the course of the war. Active companies served full-time in Canada as well as overseas, including a General Duty Company attached to Canadian Military Headquarters in London, England, No. 33 Coy. in the Bahamas, No. 34 Coy. in British Guiana and Newfoundland, and a smaller group dispatched to India. The Veterans Guard were involved in a three-day prisoner of war uprising in 1942, known as the Battle of Bowmanville. Along with its home defence role, the Veterans Guard assumed responsibility for guarding internment camps from the Canadian Provost Corps, which helped release younger Canadians for service overseas. The Guards were disbanded in 1947. [76]

Conscription Crisis of 1944 Edit

The political astuteness of Mackenzie King, combined with much greater military sensitivity to Quebec volunteers resulted in a conscription crisis that was minor compared to that of the First World War. French-Canadian volunteers were front and centre, in their own units, throughout the war, highlighted by actions at Dieppe (Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal), Italy (Royal 22 e Régiment), the Normandy beaches (Le Régiment de la Chaudière), the thrust into the Netherlands (Le Régiment de Maisonneuve), and in the bombing campaign over Germany (No. 425 Squadron RCAF).unity between francophones and anglophones.

Canada deployed trained historians to Canadian Military Headquarters in the United Kingdom during the war, and paid much attention to the chronicling of the conflict, not only in the words of the official historians of the Army Historical Section, but also through art and trained painters. The official history of the Canadian Army was undertaken after the war, with an interim draft published in 1948 and three volumes in the 1950s. This was in comparison to the First World War's official history, only 1 volume of which was completed by 1939, and the full text only released after a change in authors some 40 years after the fact. Official histories of the RCAF and RCN in the Second World War were also a long time coming, and the book Arms, Men and Government by Charles Perry Stacey (one of the main contributors to the Army history) was published in the 1980s as an "official" history of the war policies of the Canadian government. The performance of Canadian forces in some battles have remained controversial, such as Hong Kong and Dieppe, and a variety of books have been written on them from various points of view. Serious historians – mainly scholars – emerged in the years after the Second World War, foremost Terry Copp (a scholar) and Denis Whitaker (a former soldier). [77]


During World War I, Many Women Served and Some Got Equal Pay

In June, 1922, two years after being honorably discharged from the Navy, single mother Ruth Creveling was struggling to make ends meet.

“It is imperative that I receive a more remunerative position as soon as possible,” Creveling wrote emphatically to her employer, California’s State Civil Service Commission, “as I have the support of a two-year-old child as well as myself and of course am not now making a ‘living wage.’”

Creveling’s bold letter is now displayed as part of the exhibition “In Her Words” at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. Her request for a living wage rings familiar–echoing today’s minimum wage debates–but its writer carries the prestige of being one of the first women to enlist in the U.S. military.

“You don’t think that this is going on one hundred years ago,” says museum curator Lynn Heidelbaugh, of the surprisingly relatable difficulties and achievements of Creveling and the other women of World War I. “But they are modern women.”

After the war, former Yeoman (F) Ruth Creveling’s letter seeks a job with a “living wage” (Courtesy Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling Noble Collection, Gift of Carol Dieckman, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection)

American pop culture has long championed women’s contributions during World War II. The American imagination readily conjures up factories full of “Rosie the Riveters,” with their sleeves rolled up and their hair tamed by patriotic red bandanas. While men fought abroad, women resolutely performed the necessary home front tasks to support the effort. But decades earlier women made essential contributions during the first World War—in factories, certainly, but also as nurses, volunteers for aid groups abroad, and, like Creveling, as the first enlisted women in the United States military.

Creveling was a yeoman (F), a gender distinction used to ensure that women weren’t assigned tasks or locations permitted only to men. While the enlistment itself defied gender roles, the tasks of a yeoman didn’t typically challenge them—the position was primarily a clerical job, and while yeomen (F) occasionally fulfilled the duties of a mechanic or cryptographer, women more often performed administrative tasks.

“Their duties are still very much along feminine lines,” Heidelbaugh says. But they did work alongside men, and surprisingly, they received the same wages, if they were able to rise to the same rank (despite facing greater restrictions)–more than 40 years before the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Greta Wolf, US Army nurse, 1917-1919 (Courtesy Greta (Wolf) Fleming Collection, Gift of Janice Fleming, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection)

What led to the seemingly radical change that, suddenly and at the height of the war, allowed women to join the U.S. military ranks and make the same salary as men?

Well. . . It was an accident.

Vague language in the Naval Act of 1916 about who should be allowed to enlist in the U.S. Navy reserve force–"all persons who may be capable of performing special useful service for coastal defense”–created a loophole that suddenly opened doors to women.

The act’s lack of clarity ended up being something of a godsend for the Navy, which was eager to recruit women for office tasks to make more men available for the front lines. But women who gained valuable work experience and a rare opportunity at equal pay clearly were the winners.

The assertive tone of Creveling’s letter speaks to her newfound determination to fight for the wages and opportunities she now knew from experience she had earned. That minor ambiguity in the Naval Act of 1916 become a watershed in the history of women’s rights—it was proof and evidence of a woman’s workplace commitment and flew in the face of critiques of the time that women were weak and unable to perform the same duties as men.

Army nurse Greta Wolf’s letter to her sister and brother-in-law, October 28, 1918 "… candles & I have the lantern siting (sic) under my skirt with my feet on a hot stone. We have no heat here yet & it gets very cold in the night. So this is my heating apparatus I invented it & now most all the night nurses keep warm in the same way. Yesterday was Sun. & it was the first sunshiny day we have had for some time & every one (sic) enjoyed it. My ward has 112 patients & they are from all over. My the boys have had some experiences over here, I can’t tell you the feelings I have for the boys it’s a real sister’s love, each & every one tells you his little tale & how they appreciate what we do for them. So many of them do not get any mail theirs is sent to their Co. & kept…"

The 11,000 Navy “yeomanettes” that eventually enlisted during the war became trusted compatriots. Yeomen (F) worked with classified reports of ship movement in the Atlantic, translated and delivered messages to President Woodrow Wilson, and performed the solemn task of assembling the belongings of fallen men for return to their families. And they were recognized for their efforts: “I do not know how the great increase of work could have been carried out without them,” remarked Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in his 1922 book Our Navy at War. Their competence and impact was undeniable to their male peers, and their service helped pave the way for the 1920 passing of the 19 th  amendment giving white women the right to vote. 

That’s the point of the Postal Museum’s show, says Heidelbaugh: crafting individual narratives using ordinary personal mementos, especially letters, and using those narratives to illustrate the larger historical point. “We want to do history from the individuals’ perspectives,” Heidelbaugh says, “from the bottom up.”

Although female nurses could not enlist until 1944, they had long been vital contributors to U.S. war efforts. Nurses served in the military beginning with the Revolutionary War, and both the Army and Navy Nurse Corps–exclusively white and female–were established in the early 1900s. Black women were formally excluded from military nursing positions until 1947.

Military nurses, who were typically nursing school graduates, were not afforded the wages or benefits of enlisted soldiers and yeomen (F), despite often believing that enlistment was what they were signing up for, according to Heidelbaugh.

Army nurse, Camp Sherman, Ohio, 1918 (Courtesy Grace (Mechlin) Sparling Collection, Gift of Lillian S. Gillhouse, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection)

Pay inequity and lack of rank presented difficulties on the job, too: nurses struggled with how to interact with superior officers and orderlies confusion reigned because women with deep medical expertise and knowledge lacked status and authority in the military hierarchy.

In 1918, Army nurse Greta Wolf describes disobeying orders in a letter to her sister and brother-in-law, a gutsy move given that military censorship of letters meant that a superior was likely to see her message. She had been told not to speak with the ill and injured enlisted men she treated. Her response was hardly insubordination, but rather her professional obligation to give comfort and succor to her patients: “I can’t tell you the feelings I have for the boys,” Wolf writes. “It’s a real sister’s love. Each and every one of them tells you his little tale and how they appreciate what we do for them.”

Heidelbaugh concedes that while the letters in the exhibition offer an intimate understanding of the lives of these historic women, we often unintentionally bring our “modern sensibilities” to their century-old stories. But from the personal journals of another World War I army nurse who optimistically collects the contact information of coworkers so they can keep in touch when they return to the states, to the letter where a YMCA volunteer tells her mother how proud she would be of the doughnuts she managed to make for the soldiers despite having no eggs or milk, it’s difficult to see the women of World War I as anything but the very model of modernity.

“A lot of the letters end with ‘I’ll tell you more when I get home,’” Heidelbaugh says.


How Many Women Served in World War II?

Figures for each branch of the American military are:

  • Army - 140,000
  • Navy - 100,000
  • Marines - 23,000
  • Coast Guard - 13,000
  • Air Force - 1,000
  • Army and Navy Nurse Corps - 74,000

More than 1,000 women served as pilots associated with the US Air Force in the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) but were considered civil service workers, and weren't recognized for their military service until the 1970s. Britain and the Soviet Union also used significant numbers of women pilots to support their air forces.


What was the wage of the soldiers serving in the CEF compared to the soldiers serving in the British army? - History

A Staff Sergeant is a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the United States Army usually placed in command of a squad of 9-10 soldiers.

In rare situations, a Staff Sergeant may be placed in command of a larger unit such as a platoon comprising of two to four squads containing anywhere from 16 to 50 soldiers.

In a leadership position, Staff Sergeants will regularly have one or more Sergeants serving under them, and will be responsible for reviewing the performance of their subordinates with periodic Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports.

As an experienced NCO, Staff Sergeants are expected to mentor and effectively lead the soldiers and newly promoted NCOs under them. Alongside field NCOs, soldiers may also be promoted to Staff Sergeant in order to serve in headquarters support positions - these positions are generally referred to as "Staff NCOs".

What is a Staff Sergeant's Paygrade?

A Staff Sergeant is considered a Noncommissioned Officer, with a paygrade of E-6. The civilian equivalent of this military rank is roughly GS-5 under the federal government's General Schedule payscale.

On this page you can learn more about a Staff Sergeant's payscale, the process of becoming a Staff Sergeant, and the history of the rank in the United States Army.

Army Staff Sergeant Pay Calculator

Starting pay for a Staff Sergeant is $2,693.70 per month, with raises for experience resulting in a maximum base pay of $4,172.10 per month. You can use the simple calculator below to see basic and drill pay for a Staff Sergeant, or visit our Army pay calculator for a more detailed salary estimate.

Basic Pay:

Drill Pay:

Use the slider below to calculate the basic pay and drill pay for an E-6 Staff Sergeant at varying years in his or her military career.

Equivalent Ranks to an Army Staff Sergeant

A Staff Sergeant is a Noncommissioned Officer, with a military paygrade of E-6. The civilian equivalent of this military rank is roughly GS-5 under the federal government's General Schedule payscale.

The table below lists the equivalent ranks of an Army Staff Sergeant, and their insignia, in the other four branches of the United States' Armed Services.


Private Alfred James Lapham

Alfred Lapham Joins the CEF

Private Lapham was a unique soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Force ( CEF ) when he listed his age at 44 years 3 months at attestation in Hamilton Ontario on September 1, 1915. At that time, the minimum age for enlistment was 18 and the maximum was 45. Many men lied about their age, making themselves older or younger, depending on their need. The service record of Alfred Lapham shows that he took 5 years off his age, as his true date of birth may have been June 3, 1866 not 1871 (as shown on his "Attestation Papers"). As such, he was 5 years older than the maximum allowable age for enlistment. An alternate birth date is also provided on his service card as June 3, 1869. There is no record of Albert James Lapham in the 1911 Canadian Census (the most recently released under the "90 year rule").

Compared to many of the Canadian soldiers who served in the Great War, Alfred was a big man, at 5 feet 11 inches and 176 pounds.

Alfred was originally from Fochabers , Scotland where he had a prior military service record serving with both the 16 th Lancers for 9.5 years and the Seaforth Highlanders for 2.5 years. The 16 th ("The Queen's") Lancers were a British Cavalry Unit and the Seaforth Highlanders were a British Regular Army Infantry. It is possible that in those units, Lapham may have served in India prior to his move to Canada.

At the time of his enlistment, Alfred Lapham was married to Catherine Kerr. They were stationed at the Armories in Hamilton, Ontario where he listed his occupation as a "Laborer". Other records show that he may have also been a "Steward" and an " Insurance Agent". The reference to the position as a Steward is confirmed as "Steward of 91st Officer's Mess, Hamilton".

We know from his papers and his Regimental Number (174743) that he attested in Hamilton (Military District No. 2) to the 86 th Infantry Battalion. His pay records show that he was in "B Company". The 86 th was often referred to as the "86 th Machine Gun Battalion" which was organized on August 15, 1915. The 86 th was amalgamated in England with the Canadian Machine Gun School (established at Napier and Riseborough Barracks) and then reorganized on June 2, 1916 as the "Machine Gun Depot".

Service Record of Alfred James Lapham

The complete "Service Record" of Alfred Lapham was retrieved from Library and Archives Canada, from which this summary was assembled for his granddaughter Joyce Kowalchuk . There are numerous indications that as a soldier of the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion he served with the Military Police (No. 2 Detachment).

After joining the CEF in 1915, Alfred would have received infantry training for a month at Camp Niagara (September-October 1915). The 86 th returned to the Hamilton Armories on James Street in early November 1915, however they did not receive their allotment of Machine Guns until March 0f 1916. In the meantime, the lads were kept busy with route marches and drills.

The "Troopship Records" show that on May 19, 1916 the 86 th shipped out of Halifax on board the S. S. Adriatic, arriving in Liverpool on May 30, 1916. At the time of the units departure, the 86 th "Machine Gun" Battalion was re-designated as the "Machine Gun Depot". Here as part of the "Machine Gun Corps" of the CEF Army Troops, the 86 th served as a depot and training school for machine gunners, transferring out men as needed to the active units in France and Flanders.

There is no reference to Private Lapham being promoted to the rank of Sergeant in his service record. There is however a reference on his pay sheets of 1916 to his rank being that of a Sergeant. This is later changed back to Private, with a noted pay reduction, suggesting that at some time he may be been made an "Acting Sergeant" or he may have forfeited his promotion.

The "Casualty Form - Active Service" records of Private Lapham show that he remained with the Machine Gun Depot (Canadian Machine Gun Brigade) in England until he was struck-off-strength (SOS) to the Canadian Discharge Depot ( CDD ) at Baxton on February 7, 1917. On February 27, 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre ( CCAC ), for his return to Canada on March 5, 1917. Pay records show that Alfred Lapham was shipped home on March 5, 1917 on board the S. S. Metagama , arriving back in Canada on March 13, 917.

Upon arrival back in Canada, he was transferred to Convalescent Home No. 2 in Toronto on March 16, 1917 . It is apparent that Alfred Lapham's age and poor health prevented his placement on active service in France or Flanders. The opinion of the Medical Board at the Spadina Military Hospital on April 18, 1917 was that he be "discharged as medically unfit".

Upon his arrival back in Hamilton, Alfred Lapham re-enlisted in the army on October 30, 1917. At that time it is reported that he served with the Garrison Military Police, most probably in relation to the Hamilton Armories. He was discharged from this position on March 20, 1918 due to his medical condition. It was noted that his age was "very apparent " and he was advised not to have further surgery because of his age.

The extensive Medical History of Alfred Lapham shows that he had a pre -existing medical problem prior to his enlistment in 1915 that plagued him throughout his time in the CEF . The poor fellow suffered from hemorrhoids and chronic rheumatism. He had a partial haemorrhoidectomy in January 1918, prior to his discharge from the Military Police.

Private Lapham's "Service Card" of February 6, 1922 shows his address as 136 Forest Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario. That address was shown earlier, at the time of his medical examination on October 30, 1917. His pay records note that his wife Catherine may have resided at 157 Elgin Street in Hamilton while he was in England.

He was formally discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force ( CEF ) on April 11, 1918 at Exhibition Camp in Toronto with a C-3 medical status (Canada Only, not fit for service). He is reported as "deceased" as of August 6, 1934, which would put him at 68 years of age based on the 1866 birth date. His post-service medical supports the alternate birth year of 1869, as he is reported to be 48 years old at that time.

86 th Infantry Battalion (Machine Gun Depot)

The following summarized history of the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion was published in the Hamilton Spectator:

In mid-August 1915, it was announced that a new unit, the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion--"the first of its kind in the British Empire"--would be raised and based in Hamilton, Ontario. Shortly afterwards, the prominent Hamilton architect and Major in the local 91st Highland Regiment, Walter Wilson Stewart, was appointed to command the unit.

Recruiting commenced on August 28. Initially, Lt. Col. Stewart, along with several of the battalion's officers, inspected men from local depot regiments--the 13 th Regiment, 91st Highlanders, 2 nd Dragoons and 1st Field Engineers--and "hand picked" men who met the battalion's "high standards". Men were also selected from the 77 th Regiment in Dundas and the 44 th Regiment in Welland, the men from the latter forming the battalion's Company D.

Therefore, in the matter of a week or so, the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion consisted of over 600 men. Over the course of the next month, recruiting continued at a fairly moderate pace, and by the time the battalion departed for Camp Niagara on September 23, its strength was approximately 1000 men (250 of which were in Welland).

The men of the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion were stationed at Camp Niagara for just over a month. During this time they were issued rifles and underwent infantry training.

Upon its return to Hamilton on November 9, the battalion was stationed at the Old Armouries on James St., which had been renovated during their time at Camp Niagara. The men were kept busy with numerous drills and lectures, as well as route marches (when weather permitted) to Rosedale in the city's east end, Ancaster , or other outlying areas.

Much to Lt. Col. Stewart's displeasure, however, the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion did not receive machine guns until well into the new year, so it was not until March 1916 that the battalion's men began training in this respect.

The 86 th Machine Gun Battalion was finally sent to England in May 1916 and was stationed at the Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe , where training was completed. On May 22, 1916, the 86 th Machine Gun Battalion was re-designated the Canadian Machine Gun Depot, and the men were transferred to various machine gun units as they were needed.

Lt. Col. W. W. Stewart remained in command of the unit until March 16, 1917, when he took a temporary leave of absence to tour the Front. And so it was that on April 11, 1917, while with the 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade, that he was killed. Lt. Col. W. M. Balfour, who had taken over command of the Canadian Machine Gun Depot, therefore remained in command. On October 8, 1917, Lt. Col. Balfour and Lt. Col. W. N. Moorehouse of the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion replaced each other as the officer commanding of their respective units. On March 18, 1919, Lt. Col. Balfour resumed command of the Canadian Machine Gun Depot and remained its commander until it was demobilized.

The CEF WW1 Soldier Blog sites are best viewed on the Internet at the location shown on the bottom of each printed page. A printed copy may have been given to the family member for whom the summary report was prepared, in which case there may be additional attachments. If you are viewing the on-line version, please note that coloured underlined text is a hyperlink to a detailed document. All images in the main blog and the left side panel are also hyperlinked to other reports or images. For additional information, questions or comments e-mail Richard Laughton at or visit the Matrix Project


Problems of Re-establishment

Many First Peoples soldiers returned from the war hoping that their sacrifice and achievements on the battlefield would lead to greater recognition and improved living conditions at home. Federal policy extended many post-war benefits to Aboriginal veterans, but not as many as those accorded non-Aboriginals. Nor did the war herald a broader breakthrough in civil liberties for First Nations. Many Aboriginal veterans, including Francis Pegahmagabow, became politically active in the protection of their communities and the advancement of First Nations rights.

Keep exploring with these topics:

Objects & Photos

Pegahmagabow's Medal Set

Francis Pegahmagabow's medal set includes the Military Medal, with two bars, the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1920, and the Victory Medal 1914-1919. Pegahmagabow was Canada's most decorated Aboriginal soldier in the First World War. Peggy, as his fellow soldiers called him, enlisted in August 1914 and went overseas with the First Contingent. He served for most of the war as a scout and sniper with the 1st Battalion, acquiring a fearsome reputation as a marksman. At the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916, Pegahmagabow captured a large number of German prisoners and was awarded the Military Medal. He was awarded a bar to his Military Medal during the Battle of Passchendaele in November 1917, and a second bar for actions during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.


Here's The Outrageous Pay Rise Gap Between Our Soldiers Fighting Overseas And The Politicians Who Send Them There

With Australian troops in the United Arab Emirates awaiting deployment to Iraq, the Federal Government has revealed its “ridiculous” salary package offer for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

ADF personnel are outraged after they were told they must sacrifice some Christmas and recreational leave, as well as other benefits, for a pay rise of just 1.5% annually – below inflation – over the next three years.

In contrast, MP salaries have increased more than 30% over the last three years. Australia’s 57,000 Defence members received 9 per cent over three years.

Under the current pay scheme, a non-commissioned soldier in the Australian Army earns about $59,500 annually (including uniform and service allowances). A mid-ranking infantry officer takes home around $84,000 (inc. uniform and allowances).

In June 2013, the Remuneration Tribunal increased the base salary of Australian parliamentary Senators and MPs by 2.4% to $195,000.

An increase of 31.3% in March 2012 resulted in a significant increase in the value of the salary being 2.8 times the average annual Australian wage – the highest level in 37 years. The 10-year average pay rise is just under 7% annually.

Australian politicians are among the best paid in the world. PM Tony Abbott takes home more than $500,000 a year and while you may think he’s worth every penny, the leader of the free world, aka the US President, makes about AU$455,000, and the British PM a modest AU$260,000.

MPs get $268 tax-free for every night they spend in Canberra and a range of other perks and allowances.

Just a handful of the Australian Parliament’s 226 politicians have served in the armed forces. Most notable are a trio from Tasmania – Liberal Andrew Nikolic, whose 30-year army career saw him rise to brigadier, Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie, and former intel officer and whistleblower Andrew Wilkie – and Duntroon-trained South Australian MP Stuart Roberts.

Earlier this week, Senator Lambie called for Defence Minister David Johnston’s resignation in response to the Government’s ADF pay offer.

“The current ADF workplace remuneration offer is a disgusting, cowardly act – at a time in our nation’s history when again actions count more than words,” Lambie said.

“These are decisions prompted by men who have never served their country, worn the uniform or been prepared to take a round for Australia.”

Lambie pledged to discuss the offer at the next sitting of Parliament and the Senate Estimates hearing into defence spending.

Parliamentary base salary compared with average wages:


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