The spark of inspiration started out as a way to thank someone for their hospitality on my last year’s trip to Canada. As it turned out, I really started to enjoy working on it and finding out the stories behind some photos from a special edition print “Canada’s Aid to the Allies and Peace Memorial” by Montreal Standard Publishing Company (1919).
I own four pages of the publication. Some pages contain memorial rolls purchased by businesses and manufacturers. A couple of pages contain full page images of important figures, like Joseph Joffre. However, these are the back pages to two two-page spread articles on Canada’s Depot camps, Rockcliffe (Ottawa) and Sussex (New Brunswick).
During WWI, Canada utilized a system of Depot camps for initial training of the force. Each depot had some specialty training or aspects. For example, the Rockcliffe Depot trained military police. The articles highlighted the men who trained and prepared the recruits to fight.
Each article contains an image spanning the entire camp’s compliment of troops, to include recruits. However, the size and placement of the image depended upon the activities of the Camp and probably the camp’s commandant. The Sussex Camp article contains multiple spread images because they only trained in the basics. The Rockcliffe Camp article doesn’t contain any two-page images due to the number of training activities that happened at Rockcliffe. By far, the Rcokcliffe is most interesting to me.
There are a few really good resources that I’m using. First, the CEFresearch.ca forum led me to great finds such as the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. The second resource is the book “Filling the Ranks: Manpower in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918” by Richard Holt, which I learned about from the CEF Research forum. Finally, there is the Sussex Camp and 8th Canadian Hussars museums, but I haven’t had time to explore these, yet.
I’ve just started my journey. The primary focus, of which, is the Canadian Military Police from 1917 to 1920. Additionally, I’m very interested in the training and force reinforcement pipelines, which Holt’s work is the foundation for modern research. The Rockcliffe article gave me the MP’s commandant, Major Baron Osborne. And, there’s a short history of the Canadian MP on MPMuseum.org. The additional exploration on the people shown in the photographs revealed many interesting tales to be discovered. So, I hope you look forward to the discovery process.
1. CEF Study Group: http://cefresearch.ca
2. Filling the Ranks by Richard Holt: https://www.amazon.com/Filling-Ranks-Manpower-Expeditionary-1914-1918/dp/0773548777/
3. Sussex Camp Museum: http://www.8chassociation.com/camp-sussex-exhibit.html
4. MP Museum: http://mpmuseum.org/history.html
5. Major Baron Osborne military record: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=544910