I like to understand the organizational relationships, both horizontally and vertically, of the subject. Besides, I thought this was a task that I had nearly completed. Little did I realize how convoluted and entangled the relationships were between the Police units (C.M.P.C., Dominion, R.N.W.M.P) and the ministries. Furthermore, some positions, like the Minister of Aviation, I haven’t been able to verify. With that, here is a look at the relationships between the Ministries and Policing elements of Canada and the Military Services Act, 1917.
As promised, I’ve completed the first draft of a little timeline project on the various “special” police forces of Canada. By “special police force”, I mean those policing entities with a federal mandate. Some police entities may have only had provincial authorities, but were merged into a federal police force. I believe that only the Newfoundland Ranger force falls into that category. While building this timeline, I noticed a few oddities between widely published times and the 1919 report on the operations of the Military Service Act. The discrepancies are enough that it warrants indepth research. For now, the timeline follows the more commonly known timelines.
Here is the list police entities covered by the timeline:
- Dominion Police (1868 – 1920): Primarily used to provide protection to federal buildings and persons. They had enforcement powers of arrest and fingerprinting.
- North-West Mounted Police (1873 – 1904): Frontier enforcement in the NorthWest Territories.
- Royal North-West Mounted Police (1904 – 1920): Extension of the NWMP. The addition of “Royal” by King Edward VII for heroism in the Second Boer War.
- Canadian Military Police Corps (Military) (1917 – 1920): CMPC was stood up to enforce the Military Service Act, 1917.
- Canadian Military Police Corps (Civil) (1918 – 1920): A Special Dominion Police force to apprehend defaulters, who were outside the purview of CMPC. Dominion Police, RNWMP and CMPC (Civil Branch) merged to create RCMP
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1920 – Present): ’nuff said.
- Canadian Provost Corps (1939 – 1968): When the CMPC disbanded, there was no centralized military police force. Each unit alloted soldiers to play provost. The Canadian Provost Corps stood up at the outset of WWII to fill the gap left by the CMPC.
- 1st Provost Company (RCMP) (1939 – 1945): one of two companies created when the Provost Corps was established. The RCMP was ordered to supply the unit strength for the 1st Provost Company, which was reabsorbed by the RCMP on 18 Oct 1945.
- Newfoundland Ranger Force (1935 – 1949): Newfoundland did not immediately join the confederation of Canada. The Dominion of Newfoundland created the Newfoundland Rangers, which were modeled after the RCMP. When Newfoundland joined the Confederation of Canada, the Rangers merged with the RCMP.
- Canadian Armed Forces Military Police (1968 – Present): Established when the Canadian military unified it forces into the Canadian Armed Forces. Each branch had an independent police force which merged into the CAF (or CF) military police. (NOTE: I haven’t looked into Canadian military police forces beyond WWI. Furthermore, I only have cursory knowledge of non-CMPC military police forces.)
Most of the years aren’t important. I included them as mainly filler. I will add highlights for Boer, WWI, WWII, and possibly a few other key dates.
1. RCMP: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/history-rcmp
2. Newfoundland Ranger Force: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfoundland_Ranger_Force
3. Dominion Police: http://mpmuseum.org/ww1dominion.html
4. North-West Mounted Police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police
5. Canadian Provost Corps: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/history-0.htm
6. Operations of the Military Service Act, 1917 (pg 21-22): https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112049607077;view=1up;seq=34
1. Dominion Police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Police
2. Canadian Provost Corps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Provost_Corps#Canadian_Military_Police_Corps
While I’m trying to get caught up on my reading, I thought I would provide background on this Canadian Military Police Corps (CMPC) history project. Additionally, I wanted to provide what questions I am hoping to answer, or rather, where is this whole thing going anyway.
As stated in the first post, I purchased a news spread of Rockcliffe Camp as a Thank You gift. The honored persons are retired Ontario Provincial Police. So, I thought it would be a good gift when I saw the photos of the CMPC trainers. However, I didn’t want to leave them with just the photo. I wanted to provide some context to the men in the photo.
As I was just starting to learn about the depots, training pipelines and flow of men from Canada to the front in France, Richard Holt’s book, “Filling the Ranks”, was released. I haven’t finished reading it, but it has provided very fascinating insights. The book covers a lot of the larger issues on recruiting and manpower in Canada during WWI. Interestingly enough, Holt didn’t address enforcement, but he did address, in general terms, the shift from voluntary to conscription (Military Service Act, 1917).
Holt highlights the recession in Canada in 1914 and 1915 as one of the reasons for success in rapidly recruiting. From personal experience, economy ebbs and flow are major influences on military recruiting. In Ontario, Paul Maroney added to this with a study on how a “decentralized recruiting system produced an impressive propaganda campaign by drawing on the intellectual and cultural norms of the prewar decades.” These systems appeared to have worked well enough for the early years of the way. By 1917, though, social and economic conditions changed to the point where voluntary enlistment was not able to meet political promises.
Borden started off with a promise of 150,000 which was increased to 600,000 by 1917. (NOTE: I’m still trying to track down the sources and announcements for these numbers.) Holt breaks down the difficulty and realities of these numbers quite effectively. The recession turned around by 1916 with the influx of war contracts. The dead printed in newspapers and the wounded returning home from battles like Ypres. These factors started to erode on the majority’s will.
Additionally, there was difficulty with some of the minority factions. Quebec seems to have had a long standing issue with conscription. Quebec was called out twice in the report on the Operations of the Military Service Act. First, All recruiting outside of Quebec was stopped on August 1, 1918 in order for Quebec to meet quota, which happened on Oct 3. Second, there is a whole section on “hostility to the Military Service Act”. Large parts of Quebec were identified as being “energetically opposed to compulsory military service.” Furthermore, two articles, written by Brown and Sanders respectively, add to the narrative of the growing social backlash.
Interestingly enough, there are hints of conflict within Sir Robert Borden between the promises and realities. After his return from visiting wounded Canadians in hospitals in England, he appears to take a more aggressive role in demanding information from England. He also seems to struggle with the idea of conscription. However, this is based upon preliminary review of the documents.
While I’m trying to sort out the recruiting picture, I intend to move on to the CMPC force structure and responsibilities beyond MSA enforcement. I really want to know more about the office in New York City.
1. Maroney, Paul, ” ‘The great adventure’: The context and ideology
of recruiting in Ontario, 1914-17″; The Canadian Historical Review ; North York Vol. 77, Iss. 1, (Mar 1996): 62-98. (https://doi.org/10.3138/CHR-077-01-03)
2.LtCol Machin, “Report on the Military Service Act”; Ottawa King’s Printer; 1919; pg 3, (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112049607077;view=1up;seq=37)
3. ibid. pg 25
4. Brown, Lorne, “Canada’s Legacy in WWI The Great War: A Crime Against Humanity”; The Canadian Dimension ; Vol. 48, Iss. 6 (Nov/Dec 2014) (https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-great-war-a-crime-against-humanity)
5. Sanders, Richard. “WW I: Slave labour camps and other extraordinary renditions”. CCPA Monitor. Dec2014/Jan2015, Vol. 21 Issue 7, p48-49. 2p. (https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2014/12/Monitor_Dec2014-Jan2015.pdf)
As stated, Col Gilbert Godson-Godson the Provost Marshall for Canada from 1917 until 1920. I thought there might have been an error in his name. I thought it was simply “Godson” as Tresham wrote. Even though his official personnel record listed “Godson-Godson”, I have noticed errors in these records before. So, it wasn’t until I discovered other instances of “Godson-Godson” that I realized my error.
My first clue was on page 21 of the “Report of the Director of the Military Service Branch to the Honourable the Minister of Justice on the Operation of the Military Service Act, 1917”. (NOTE: The title normally gets shortened to “the Operation of the Military Service Act 1917”.) In Section XIII – The Special Dominion Police, there is this quote, “unfailing readiness to co-operate shown by the Provost Marshal for Canada, Col. Godson-Godson, D.S.O.” As a result, I started looking for more instances.
So far, I’ve found two instances, which confirms the “Godson-Godson”. First, “The Canadian Convalescent Hospital Bear Wood, Wokigham, Berkshire 1915-18” provided references on page 26 and a picture on page 31. On Page 26, the book references Lt Col Godson-Godson officiated over a medal ceremony. The caption underneath the picture states “Staff, 1917, and Colonel Godson-Godson.” I knew he spent time at a hospital because of his Personnel Record. He was wounded on April 24, 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres. At the time, he was a major in the 16th Battalion. The gun shot wounds to the face and neck required pretty extensive surgery. He medically evacuated to London and eventually deemed fit for general service in Canada only.
The second source for “Godson-Godson” was in a book on published dispatches for awards. The dispatch was dated 31 May, 1915 (Page 189) and contains a list of people recommended for the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.). On page 240, under the 16th Canadian Battalion, it lists a Major Godson Godson. While it appears the D.S.O. may have been awarded for the Second Battle of Ypres, I haven’t confirmed it yet.
For more information on Col Godson-Godson, the Canadian Provost Corps page has a brief biography on him.
1. Tresham, Origin of the Canadian Provost Corps: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/history-0.htm
2. Godson-Godson Personnel Record Archive: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=420935
3. Operations of the Military Service Act, 1917: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112049607077;view=1up;seq=33
4. The Canadian Convalescent Hospital: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mcg.ark:/13960/t2994jh3j;view=1up;seq=31
5. Naval and Military Despatches Relating to Operations in the War. September October November 1914: With List of Honours and Rewards Confered : https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112052742712;view=1up;seq=254
6. Godson-Godson Brief Biography: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/pm.godson.htm
1. Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Service_Order
2. The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs: https://books.google.com/books?id=D38VAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA469&lpg=PA469&dq=col+godson-godson&source=bl&ots=t-jf1YjNvO&sig=1HkuJ8Xu_SNGwfsbC-Xq971U65g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimi9WFgLfaAhXOTd8KHQCLC4kQ6AEITjAK#v=onepage&q=col%20godson-godson&f=false
3. For Most Conspicuous Bravery: A Biography of Major-General George R. Pearkes, V.C., through Two World Wars : https://books.google.com/books?id=43N_XP7ZbXkC&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=col+godson-godson&source=bl&ots=t8z9nffjMa&sig=XtL4Gc3BPalNWM4bFO3rL__D0E4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimi9WFgLfaAhXOTd8KHQCLC4kQ6AEIVTAM#v=onepage&q=col%20godson-godson&f=false
4. 2nd Battle of Ypres: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Ypres
In the previous post, I highlighted my fascination with the Canadian Military Police Corps (CMPC). Based upon my initial research, many timelines for Canadian police entities converge with the creation of the CMPC in September, 1917. This research found some of the converging police units included: Dominion Police Force (1868-1920), North West Mounted Police (or Royal North West Mounted Police) (1873 – 1920) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (1939 – Current), Canadian Provost Corps (1940 – 1968) and modern military police units, like the 3rd Military Police Regiment (Halifax).
Retired Sgt-Maj Don Tresham thoroughly researched the history of the Canadian Provost Corps, to include the CMPC (source #3). He identified that the first Provost Marshal was LtCol Gibson Godson, who became promoted to Col. He was wounded and a medical board found him unfit for front line service in 1915. By April 12, 1917, he appears to have been appointed “Provost Marshall”. Since the CMPC was created in September, I need to do more research on the role of the Provost Marshall between April and September, when the CMPC was authorized. Col Godson held the position until discharge in 1920, when the CMPC was also disbanded.
The CMPC was headed by Major Baron Osborne, who reported to Provost Marshall Col Godson. Maj Osborne was also the commandant of the CMPC school in Rockcliffe camp from June 1, 1918, which closed on March 11, 1919. Major Osborne was demobilized on July 31, 1919, which is nearly a year before the final CMPC units demobilized in 1920.
The CMPC was split into two types, civilian and military. Some of the civilian police forces included the Dominion Police Force and the RNWMP. It is these civilian CMPC forces that become the world-famous RCMP. Whereas military police units link themselves to the CMPC through the Provost Corps. I can’t wait to build out a timeline graphic.
The CMPC’s primary duty was ” to maintain discipline, enforce the Conscription Act, and apprehend deserters and draft evaders.” (Source #6) This is really important when considering the Military Service Act of 1917. Sir Robert Borden promised an army that basically couldn’t be fielded, as I currently understand it. Eventually, Borden had to turn to conscription, which was manifest in the Military Service Act of 1917. Most of the frontline discipline was handled in accordance with British rules. However, it would interesting to find out what happened in New York City!
As Ret. Sgt-Maj Tresham highlighted, there was a third section of the CMPC, the Special Guard. According to Tresham’s research, the CMPC Special Guard focused on escorting Chinese workers to west coast ports in order to ship them back to China. This alludes to some very interesting racial/ethnic tensions. Richard Holt paints a more even balanced picture of racial issues in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.). Sadly, Tresham’s history appears to be collaborated by Guoqi Xu in “Strangers on the Western Front”. It looks like there might be more research into the Canadian Transport Program and the CMPC Special Guard.
Clearly, there are a lot of interesting little nuggets to continue to research. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to fully validate and cross-reference the sources, especially since I used wikipedia links. Double checking the reference material will help me narrow research. Regardless, I’m hoping you’ve enjoyed this quick overview of the CMPC.
1. Canadian General Military Orders 93 & 94: http://wartimecanada.ca/sites/default/files/documents/General%20Orders%2092-96.pdf
2. Dominion Police History: https://www.geni.com/projects/Dominion-Police-Force/31982
3. Tresham’s history on Canadian Provost Corps: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/history-0.htm
4. North-West Police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police
5. Canadian Provost Corps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Provost_Corps
6. 3rd MP Regiment: http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/3-military-police-regiment/index.page
7. Col Godson, Gibson: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=420935
8. Major Osborne, Baron: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=544910
9. Conscription Crisis 1917: https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/life-at-home-during-the-war/recruitment-and-conscription/conscription-1917/
10. Military Service Act 1917: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/military-service-act/
11. WWI courtsmarshall: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/courts-martial/Pages/courts-martial.aspx
12. Strangers on the Western Front: https://books.google.com/books?id=ZogeRHAIr44C&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=cmpc+china+coolie&source=bl&ots=FwT2tN5hGQ&sig=BvrtVyAD7O2DP9xOPCEuiA2OfIU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjU5PTyqLHaAhWCxIMKHctpDFwQ6AEIYjAJ#v=onepage&q=cmpc%20china%20coolie&f=false
4. Richard Holt, Filling the Ranks :https://www.amazon.com/Filling-Ranks-Manpower-Expeditionary-1914-1918/dp/0773548777/
5. Canada WWI Pardons: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/canadian-soldiers-executed-in-ww1-to-get-pardon-1.596886
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