Nearly half a million Canadians served in Europe during WWI
As World War I rages across Europe, Canada plays a crucial role in the war effort.
10 things you may not know about Canada and The Great War, from Canada: The Story of Us, Episode 6.
33,000 Canadians volunteered in the first six weeks of the First World War
Recruitment became a major issue later in the war, but in the early days, the biggest challenge was finding enough uniforms for all the new soldiers.
In total, nearly half a million Canadians, including thousands of Indigenous soldiers, travelled to Europe to serve beside their allies in WWI.
Canadian Francis Pegahmagabow was the deadliest sniper of the war
An Ojibwa from the Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound, Ontario, Pegahmagabow racked up 378 confirmed kills. This was the most for any sniper in the war, Allied or German.
Canada was the first former colony to defeat a European army on European soil
When the Canadians turned back the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915, they made history. Never before had a former colony defeated a European army in Europe.
The heroic stand at Second Ypres was a huge boon to Canadian recruitment.
300,000 Canadians volunteered in the two years following Second Ypres.
Vimy Ridge was the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together in the Canadian Corps
Prior to Vimy, Canadian formations had fought mixed in with British units. At Vimy Ridge, the Canadians worked together for the first time.
General Arthur Currie, commander of the 1st Canadian Division at Vimy, had been an insurance salesman
Most Allied commanders were professional soldiers, but Currie was a reservist who had worked as a schoolteacher, insurance salesman and real estate speculator.
Currie turned battlefield tactics upside down
Rather than ordering rows of infantry to charge in, Currie had infantry and artillery work closely together. The artillery would shell the Germans, forcing them to take cover as the infantry advanced.
He also made sure battle plans were seen and understood by everyone, including privates. He wanted every soldier to be fully aware of their objectives, even if they were separated from their battalion.
The shelling at Vimy Ridge was very loud
The sound of the opening salvo of Canadian artillery on April 9, 1917 could be heard in England, 200 km away.
22,000 teenage boys signed up to be Soldiers of the Soil
The Soldiers of the Soil program sent teenagers from towns and cities to work as farmhands, growing food for the war effort. They replaced farmers who had been sent off to the front.
Flying was a dangerous business
World War I was the first conflict to see large-scale aerial warfare. New pilots lived an average of just 11 days.