On March 29th, 1867, the British North America Act received Royal Assent from Queen Victoria. Four months later on July 1st, 1867, the act came into affect and the Dominion of Canada came into existence.
Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
One hundred years ago this week, Canada was at war against the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. The country had not been involved in the pre-war diplomacy and, in fact, had no say in the decision to fight. As a British Dominion – a colony – it was at war and liable to attack any time Britain was at war. All Canada could decide for itself was the size of its contribution, and the great majority of the 8 million Canadians wanted that contribution to reflect what they saw as Canada’s importance in the Empire.
Thus a first contingent of some 35,000 men went overseas at the end of September, and it would be followed by many more. Canada’s First Division went to the Ypres salient in April 1915 and withstood the great German gas attack. There were 6,000 killed, wounded, and captured, an astonishing toll that foreshadowed the carnage to come. Canadians then fought on the Somme and, fighting the first time as a corps of four divisions, in April 1917 captured Vimy Ridge in northern France at a cost of more than ten thousand casualties.
By this time, Canada was on the verge of putting conscription in place, but implementing this action split the country, pitting French-Canadians against English, labor against capital, rural dwellers against urbanites. But conscription produced a hundred thousand men, enough to keep the Canadian Corps at strength into 1919, as the generals all expected the war to go that long.
It didn’t. The great German offensives from March to June 1918 wore down the enemy’s strength and failed to tip the war’s balance. Then on August 8, the Canadian and Australian Corps launched a stunning attack at Amiens that advanced 8 miles on the first day. It was the “black day” of the German army, or so General Ludendorff wrote. Then came a succession of great Canadian battles east of Arras – the breaking of the Drocourt-Queant Line, the crossing of the Canal du Nord, the taking of Cambrai and Valenciennes, and the pursuit to Mons. The Canadian Corps defeated 45 German divisions in the field in the last “Hundred Days” of the war, and with Allied advances elsewhere on the front forced Berlin to seek an armistice.
The war helped create a distinctive Canadian nationalism and increased the Dominion’s status in the world. But the cost was terrible – 60,000 dead and 172,000 more wounded. The tragedy was that 20 years later, the war against Germany had to be pursued again.
The Edwardian Era in its strictest form, lasted from 1901 to 1910, during which Edward VII (1841-1910) reigned as King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions and Emperor of India. However, in its broader interpretation, the spirit of the Edwardians—-which was indelibly inspired by Edward VII during his tenure as Prince of Wales—-stretched from 1880 until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. I also include WWI (1914-1918).
The overall image of the Edwardian age is that of an era of opulence, but once you scratch the surface, it was also an era of change, where the rumble of automobiles and planes, champagne and lavish ocean liners, the frenetic syncopation of ragtime, and the pomp of the aristocracy and royalty, coexisted with civil rights and independence movements, Socialism, immigration, and technological advances.
In the Gallipoli campaign almost one million soldiers from both sides fought with between one third and one half becoming casualties. Exact figure for casualties does not exist.
Turkey: Approximately more than 500000 troops fought here and 300000 of them were casualties including at least 86000 killed.
Allies: 410.000 British including Anzacs and Indians, 79.000 French troops totally 489.000 troops fought here and 205.000 British and Dominion, 27.000French soldiers became casualties killed, wounded or evacuated with diseases. It is estimated that more than 145.000 British soldiers became ill during the campaign. 60.000 Australians and 8.556 New Zealanders served on Gallipoli. Turks captured 70 Australians. British and Dominion forces suffered 34.000 killed including 8.709 Australians, 2.701 New Zealanders, 9.798 French soldiers died.