The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand did not stir Canada, and when Britain warned of the possibility of war Canada was caught off guard. With only 3,000 permanent soldiers Canada scrambled to assemble its forces. Within three weeks 20,000 soldiers were on their way to a state of the art training camp at Valcartier.
Valcartier was a designated training center that only had the ability to house 500 troops prior to the warning. In the three weeks of assembly, housing was built for 22,000 troops, a mile long firing range was constructed, electricity, telephone, water was all installed. The last night of construction saw storehouses, offices, and officers quarters built in record time. Quotas were set for militia forces to recruit. It was planned for 20,000 troops, but over 30,000 came. In some cases, entire battalions were sent. For nearly a month and a half the camp was chaos. Battalions were formed and dispersed, but in the end the camp built itself into a finely tuned machine.
Originally only one division was to be sent, but when time came for departure the largest military force to ever cross the Atlantic was prepared. 83,000 men boarded 31 transports and left for war. Departing was a site like none other; guarded by British warships were three lines of nearly a dozen ships each.
In April of 1915, after surviving one of the coldest British winters to date, Canadian forces took over a sector to the north of Ypres in Belgian Flanders....