World War I: Canadian Training Camps

Canadian World War I training camps
Figure 1.--This portrait shows the 38th Inf. Battalion in front of the Parliament Building in Ottawa just before leaving for infantry trainingto at Camp Valcartier (1916). They all stand at Present Arms. At the far left is a little boy mascot in full uniform including cap badge and braided cord from his shoulder strap. We are not sure who he is, perhaps the commanding officer's son. Put your cursor on the image to see the men leaving Ottawa and heading for Camp Valcartier. Canadian Boy Scouts linind the parade route. The Police with their tall hats and badges are also clearly seen.

The Imperial German Army like the Prussian Army before it was notable for maintaing a potent standing army whivh could quickly be reforced with a trained reservecand rushed to the front by the country's effucent rail service. Thus Germany's best chabce to win the War was at the onset in August and September 1914. The French Miracle on the Marne (September 6, 1914). This gave the British and the Dominions time to train men and rush them to France. The small Cananadian Army had very few camps and other facilities before the War. Thus to prepare a sizeable combat force, camps had to be opened to train soldiers. Major General Sam Hughes was appointed to command the Cananian Army since 1911. He oversaw the expansion and building program. One of the most important of these camps was Camp Valcartier. Valcartier was a town located 18 miles north of Quebec City. The location was selected by the Army shortly after the outbreak of the War (1914). The camp was open so quickly that families were still living thee when the troops began arriving and the training commenced. Troops began arriving very quickly (August 24, 19l4). Eventually about 33,000 men were trained here. Eventually the Camp consisted of roads, water mains, railway sidings, stores, showers and movies for the troops. The training facilities included 3 miles of rifle range as well as extensive training grounds for heavy artillery and cavalry. The Camp was emptied after the Armistice (November 1918), but was used by the Army for summer training exercises. During the Great Depression of the 1930s it was reopened as a relief camp. And then opened again with the outbreak of World war II (1939). It became a permanent camp and is now called Base Valcartier.


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Created: 2:17 AM 7/17/2008
Last updated: 2:17 AM 7/17/2008