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From the Archives of Legion Magazine.

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Mobilizing for War

Mobilizing for War By Wilfrid Bovey October, 1953 Before July, 1914, was over, militia regiments all through the country were alerted for the coming trial by battle. The source of power was a human atomic engine whom hundreds of us had met, Colonel Sam Hughes of Lindsay, Ontario, the Minister of Militia. “Sam” was first, last and all the time a Canadian. He was also an equalitarian. He put on no airs of superiority. Even after he had been made a knight and made himself a major-general, a lieutenant who knew him would still call him “Sam”. A few years ago the Premier of Ontario, a veteran of World War I, said to me, “If you ever write those war memoirs, who would you say had played the greatest single part in the Canadian effort?” After a little thought I replied, “Sam Hughes...
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What Made Vimy So Memorable?

  What Made Vimy So Memorable? By D. E. Macintyre April 1960 Canadians fought and won hard battles in the First World War, fought them without hate but with a cold and relentless endurance that carried them from 1914 to victory at Mons in 1918. They suffered losses that were sore for a young nation to bear, but all of the engagements in which they took part Canadian veterans yield pride of place to Vimy, and it is at Vimy that Canada has erected her most imposing war memorial. What, then, made Vimy so memorable? There were several contributing factors. Most important, probably, was the fact that Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific, regardless of racial origin or religion, hitherto grouped into four separate Divisions having little intercourse with each other (a...
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Tragi-Comedies of Error

Tragi-Comedies of Error By Wilfrid Bovey December 1953 The First Canadian Contingent left Valcartier for Britain; their armada, convoyed by ships of the Royal Navy, finally sailed from Gaspé on October 3rd, 1914. After that we over here knew very little, but rumours flew on wings about the streets. The most extraordinary tale – which may have been true – was that Minister of Militia and Defence Sir Sam Hughes had heard of German submarines in the English Channel and had demanded and ensured that the Canadian convoy be diverted to a different port from that originally planned. We also heard, by letters from friends, of the incredibly muddy camps of Britain, and of confusion which would have been worse confounded had it not been for the speedy advance preparations made by a Canadian...
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Canadian Poets of World War I

Canadian Poets of World War I By R.O. Spreckley April 1953 General James Wolfe is reported to have said on the eve of the epoch-making battle which was to be his last, that he would sooner have written Thomas Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Courtyard” than take Quebec. That delightful story may or may not be true, but it is certainly correct to say that quite a few of Canada’s First Contingent who participated in the Second Battle of Ypres 156 years after Wolfe’s heroic death on the Plains of Abraham not only wrote poetry but good poetry. Besides John McCrae, the devoted medial officer who penned his immortal “In Flanders Field” in an Ypres dugout, and that beloved padre and poet, Canon Frederick George Scott, there were quite a few who sang of the common experiences of Canada’s ...
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Then and There

Then and There By Wilfred Bovey September, 1953 Memories are queer things; even philosophers and psychologists are not sure what they are. Yet we all know that in some filing cabinet of the brain lie sound pictures of long past events, ready for us to run off in a mental projector. For those of us who shared in the violence of world warfare the sharpest pictures of all are often those which have never got into history books, the clearest sounds are those which only a few ears heard. Yet those very sights and sounds, linking the strife of nations to our own lives, point up the story of conflict, just as its illuminations point up an ancient manuscript. SIR JOHN FRENCH PREDICTS WAR In 1910 the imminence of war with Germany was impressed on a group of officers, myself among the...
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Guardians of the West – The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Guardians of the West – The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada By Cliff Bowering November, 1951 When it came time to decide which Canadian Army Reserve Force units were to be represented in the European-bound 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, history and tradition, among other things demanded that the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada be among the leaders. As the pages of time testify, such a selection was no idle choice. And so there came into being “E” Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada – tagged for service with the 1st Rifle Battalion in the 27th Brigade. Men and officers who serve with this company are faced with a monumental but at the same time enviable task- keeping pace with and perpetuating a rich and glorious background of Canadian military history and achievemen...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.