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


Canadian Military History: An Overview
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First World War
General References

Prisoners of War and Internment

Although there were not large numbers of prisoners of war from the Central Powers imprisoned in Canada during the First World War, many enemy aliens were interned, often under harsh conditions, in camps run by the Canadian Militia. The operation of the camps was entrusted to Sir William Otter, the veteran of Ridgeway, Cut Knife Hill and Paardeberg and the Canadian Militia's first native-born general. Morton describes these operations well in his biography of Otter.

Numerous Canadians were held prisoner in Germany and Morton details their problems. Jonathan Vance's major work on Canadian prisoners was developed from his Ph.D. thesis. A considerable number of first-person narratives document the Canadian prisoner of war experience in German camps. See also Hugh B. Monaghan's The big bombers of World War I in The War in the Air section, for a pilot's experiences as a prisoner of war.

Breckon, Fred. -- In the hands of the Hun : being an account of the experiences of Private Fred Breckon, 8th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during three years and eight months in German prison camps. -- Fort Francis, Ont. : Privately printed, 1919. -- 92 p.

Carter, David J. -- Behind Canadian barbed wire : alien, refugee and prisoner of war camps in Canada, 1914-1946. -- Calgary : Tumbleweed Press, 1980. -- 334 p.

Douglas, J. Harvey. -- Captured : sixteen months as a prisoner of war. -- Toronto : McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1918. -- 195 p.

Gibbons, Arthur. -- A guest of the Kaiser : the plain story of a lucky soldier. -- Toronto : Dent, 1919. -- 198 p.

Howland, Harry. -- The dauntless Fannigans. -- New York : Vantage Press, 1970. -- 377 p.

  • 7th Battalion, CEF, soldier's experiences as a prisoner of war.

Kordan, Bohdan S. ; Melnycky, Peter. -- In the shadow of the Rockies : diary of the Castle Mountain Internment Camp. -- Edmonton : Canadian Institute of Ukranian Studies Press, Univ. of Alberta, 1991. -- 143 p.

Laflamme, Jean. -- Les camps de détention au Québec durant la Première Guerre mondiale. -- Montréal : [s.n.], 1973. -- 49 p.

____. -- Spirit Lake : un camp de concentration en Abitibi durant la Grand Guerre. -- Montréal : Maxime, 1989. -- 59 p.

Laird, Donald Harry. -- Prisoner five-one-eleven. -- Toronto : Ontario Press, [191-?]. -- 115 p.

Luciuk, Lubomyr Y. -- A time for atonement : Canada's first national internment operations and the Ukranian Canadians, 1914-1920. -- Kingston, Ont. : Limestone Press, 1988. -- 31 p.

MacDonald, Frank. -- The Kaiser's guest. -- Garden City, N.Y. : Privately printed, 1918. -- 250 p.

McMullen, Fred ; Evans, Jack. -- Out of the jaws of Hunland : the stories of Corporal Fred McMullen, sniper, Private Jack Evans, bomber, Canadian soldiers, three times captured and finally escaped from German prison camps. -- Toronto : W. Briggs, 1918. -- 248 p.

Morton, Desmond. -- The Canadian General, Sir William Otter. -- Toronto : Hakkert, 1974. -- 423 p. -- (Canadian War Museum historical publication, no. 9)

____. -- Silent battle : Canadian prisoners of war in Germany, 1914-1919. -- Toronto : Lester Pub., 1992. -- 218 p.

Pearson, George. -- The escape of a Princess Pat : being the full account of the capture and fifteen months' imprisonment of Corporal Edwards, of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and his final escape from Germany into Holland. -- Toronto : McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1918. -- 227 p.

Rossiter, Ivan. -- In kultured kaptivity : life and death in Germany's prison camps and hospitals. -- Indianapolis, Ind. : Bobbs-Merrill, 1918. -- 244 p.

Thorn, J.C. -- Three years a prisoner of war in Germany : the story of Major J.C. Thorn, a First Canadian Contingent officer, who was captured by the Germans at Ypres on April 24th, 1915 : relating his many attempts to escape (once disguised as a widow) and life in the various camps and fortresses. -- [S.l. : s.n.], 1919. -- 152 p.

Vance, Jonathan F. -- Objects of concern : Canadian prisoners of war through the twentieth century. -- Vancouver : UBC Press, 1994. -- 324 p.

Whiting, F.J. -- Getaway. -- Victoria, B.C. : Trafford, 2000. -- 194 p.

  • Whiting was captured in August 1918. A story of escapes and recaptures.

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