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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History

Canadian Military History: An Overview
War of 1812
Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Northwest Campaign
South African War
First World War
Second World War

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South African War
Personal Stories


"Only the very best of the men who present themselves, and not necessarily the first-comers, will be selected. The points to be attended to in the selection are : - That the men should be of the very best possible spirit and physique; of good character and temperate habits; should possess a knowledge of drill, and be fairly good shots". - Order no. 212.

Canada. Parliament. - Return: copies of orders in council, general orders, appointments to office, and militia orders affecting the Contingents, in connection with the despatch of the Colonial Military Force to South Africa. - Sessional paper, no. 49 (1900). - P. 16

There were many volunteers to serve; the number of publications emanating from this war, many written by soldiers themselves, attest to the backgrounds of the soldiers, and the high degree of public interest in the topic.

"In intelligence the average was high. All classes of the Canadian people were represented, the professional and business classes being fully as well represented as any others."

W. Sanford Evans on the First Contingent.The Canadian Contingents and Canadian imperialism: a story and a study (1901). - P. 96

However, not everyone could participate, as explained in The Times history of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Vol. III (1905). - P. 44.

"The Indian tribes of Canada and the Maoris of New Zealand wished to send volunteers to take part in England's war. But in none of these cases could the Imperial Government see its way to accepting the offers made."

Private George McLean, Head of the Lake Band, British Columbia, did serve with the Canadian Mounted Rifles.

"A veteran of two wars". - Native soldiers: foreign battlefields. - Ottawa: Veterans Affairs, 1993. - P. 14

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