A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 92


THE RALLY OF THE EMPIRE


It was not only the rich who gave. Canada was at this time passing through a trying period of industrial depression. Many of her business men were having a desperate fight, and at the time that the war broke out the streets of many cities were full of unemployed. Yet the poorest managed to find something for king and empire. Americans living in Canada clamoured to serve. Towns mainly inhabited by German emigrants led the way to loyalty. The white men were not alone. American Indians brought their gifts, of money and in kind, and offered themselves as scouts, boatmen, and woodmen.

It was soon found that the first Canadian contingent could not be kept within the 22,000 originally intended. In a few weeks an army of 33,000 men was raised. The various regiments raised throughout the Dominion were assembled at a newly-created camp, Valcartier, outside Quebec. The army that arrived there had features of its own. There were cavalry like the Royal Strathcona Horse and the Royal Dragoons, largely composed of veterans from the South African War. There were Highland regiments drawn from cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, regiments affiliated with famous Highland units in the United Kingdom — Seaforths, Gordons, and Camerons — full of the pride of tradition and race. There were scouts from the west, plainsmen trained to pioneer work in the desolate lands of the north, cowboys accustomed to life in the saddle, trappers and hunters, and farmers. There were many townsmen, but the Canadian townsman, as a rule, sees much more of the open air than the townsman in Europe, and possesses much more initiative. A very large proportion of the men were British born, young fellows who had gone out to Canada, lived there for some years, and, at the first call of duty, had volunteered to return and fight for the land of their birth.

The Dominion government resolved that the first contingent should be completely equipped in a way surpassed by no other army in the world. No money was to be spared. Accordingly, the personal equipment of the men was brought to a point of excellence that excited general admiration on their arrival in Europe. They were amply provided with machine guns, their artillery was abundant in quantity and of the best. They had a splendid park of motor transport vehicles and the mechanical equipment was as good as could be. The hospitals of Canada had been searched to select a strong corps of trained nurses to

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