M965.199.4597 | Right Under His Nose

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Drawing, cartoon
Right Under His Nose
John Collins
About 1944, 20th century
Ink, crayon, graphite and opaque white on card
38.4 x 28.1 cm
Gift of Mr. John Collins - The Gazette
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , politics (10928)
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Keys to History

Infantry casualties were much higher in Italy and Europe than the army anticipated. In the summer and fall of 1944, the need for reinforcements reached a critical stage. The use of poorly trained soldiers resulted in further casualties. The defence minister, Colonel Ralston, visited Italy and northwest Europe in September and concluded that there was an immediate need for 15,000 well-trained men. The only available men belonged to the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) force conscripted for home defence. These men were derisively called Zombies because they refused to serve overseas. As illustrated humorously by cartoonist John Collins, even the immensely popular General McNaughton, who was appointed Minister of National Defence in November, was unable to get anywhere near enough NRMA men to volunteer.

  • What

    There were not enough trained replacements for the soldiers killed or wounded in northwest Europe and Italy. Army morale and fighting efficiency suffered as a result.

  • Where

    The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, reactivated the conscription debate in Canada.

  • When

    The Canadian army saw little action from 1939 until July 1943. On July 10, 1943, Canadian troops entered Italy and were actively involved until the end of the war in 1945.

  • Who

    There were 60,000 NRMA men in Canada.