Jasmin Singh World War One
Kit inspection, 11th Battalion, Valcartier Quebec
September 1914, 20th century
This artefact belongs to : © National Archives of Canada
This photograph of September 1914, shows how volunteers from Winnipeg and Saskatechewan immediately volunteered for the war. This represents great pride and nationalism as without hesitation they volunteered. As clearly expressed in this photograph, the war environment is very uncomfortable, threatening and dangerous. This shows nationalism as people must sacrifice in uncomfortable and poor conditions. Since they want to support their country because they were proud, many men enlisted.
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Keys to History
Here are volunteers at Valcartier from Winnipeg and Saskatchewan half way through their training and waiting for a "kit inspection" on a warm Saturday morning. Their officers will report that most men have military caps and trousers, a few have jackets and one man wears his bowler hat. There is no sign yet of rifles or other weapons. The war is a long way off and may be over by Christmas. In fact, by next April 6,000 men like this will have been killed, wounded or badly gassed at the Battle of Ypres. War was not an adventure; it was not fun, and it was by no means cheap.
Like other Canadians, soldiers in the 1914-1918 war did not wear light clothing in hot weather. Their wool serge trousers and long-sleeved heavy flannel shirts were a concession to hot weather, as they were not wearing their serge wool tunics.
These soldiers are camped on a dusty, sandy plain at Valcartier outside Quebec City, selected before the war as a training ground for the militia because Valcartier was close to Canada's major passenger seaport, as a mobilization base for future wars.
The photograph was taken by an anonymous photographer in September, 1914.
These are soldiers from the 11th Provisional Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, composed almost equally of soldiers from Winnipeg and from Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Prince Albert in Saskatchewan. Many were recent immigrants from England.