Official History of the Canadian Army
In the Second World War

Volume I
The Army in Canada, Britain and the Pacific

Colonel C.P. Stacey,
O.B.E., C.D., A.M., Ph.D., F.R.S.C.
Director, Historical Section, General Staff

Maps drawn by
Captain C.C.J. Bond

Published by Authority of the Minister of National Defense

Canadian Tanks in Sussex
Canadian Tanks in Sussex
From a watercolour by Major W.A.Ogilvie, M.B.E.
Ram II tank of the Headquarters Squadron of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division
training in Ashdown Forest, September 1942.


In the writing of this volume the author has been given full access to relevant official documents in possession of the Department of National Defence; but the inferences drawn and the opinions expressed are those of the author himself, and the Department is in no way responsible for his reading or presentation of the facts as stated.


Organization, Training and Home Defence in Canada
Chapter     Page
I. The Canadian Militia On the Eve of War  
    The Canadian Tradition 3
    The Approach of the Crisis 5
    The New Defence Programme and its Problems 7
    The New Programme Develops, 1937-1939 15
    Theh Reorganization of the Militia 18
    The Problem of Supply 20
    The Coast Defence Programme 26
    Defence Schemes and Mobilization Planning 29
    The Last Days of Peace 33
    The General State of Preparation, 1939 35
II. The Outbreak of War and the Mobilization of the Active Service Force, 1939  
    The Approach of War 38
    "Adopt Precautionary Stage Against Germany" 40
    War in Europe: The Mobile Force is Mobilized 42
    Canada Goes to War 46
    Mobilizing the Units of the Active Service Force 49
    The Response of the Country 53
    The Decision to Send Troops Overseas 58
    The Technical Troops for Britain 64
    Paying for the Military Effort, 1939 68
III. The Expansion of the Army, 1939-1943  
    The Completion of the 2nd Division 72
    The Summer Crisis of 1940: Formation of the 3rd and 4th Divisions 76
    Canadian Troops for Iceland 83
    The Formation of the Canadian Corps 86
    The Army Programme for 1941 87
    The Modification and Approval of the 1941 Programme 90
    The Development of the Army Programme for 1942 93
    First Canadian Army Comes into Existence 98
    The Final Composition of the Field Force 100
    The First Special Service Force 104
    Organization of the Canadian Army Overseas at its Peak 108
IV. Recruiting and Training in Canada  
    Making an Army in an Unmilitary Society 110
    Reiance Upon Voluntary Service 110
    Recruiting in the Early Days, 1939-1941 112
    The Beginnings of Manpower Scarcity, 1941-1942 115
    The National Resources Mobilization Act: Compulsory Service for Home Defence 118
    The Extension of Compulsory Sevice 120
    Changes in the M.R.M.A. and its Administration, 1942-1943 122
    The Canadian Women's Army Corps 124
    The Selection of Officers for the Army 127
    The Training Process in Canada 132
    The Training of Mobilized Units 132
    The Organization of Training Centres 133
    Training Developments in 1942-1944 134
    Special Training Establishments and Trades Training 136
    Training the C.W.A.C. 137
    The Training of Officers 138
    The Royal Canadian Army Cadets 141
    The History of Private Jones 141
V. Defending the Soil of Canada, 1939-1945  
    The Nature of the Problem 145
    Early Measures for the Defence of Canada 146
    The Guarding of "Vulnerable Points" 149
    The Development of Fixed Defences, 1939-1944 151
    Theh Development of Anti-Aircraft Defences 157
    The Secuity of the Atlantic Coast After Dunkirk 160
    The Security of the Pacific Coast After Pearl Harbor 165
    Home Defence at its Peak 174
    Security Measures Against the Submarine Menace in the Lower St. Lawrence 176
    The Japanese Balloon Enterprise 177
    The Canadian Army in Newfoundland 178
    Canadian Troops in the West Indies and the Caribbean 181
    The Role of the Reserve Army 183
    Disbandment of the Home Defence Divisions, 1943-1944 183
The Army in Britain, 1939-1945
VI. The Growth of the Army Overseas and Organization in Britain  
    Moving the Troops to Britain 189
    Canadian Military Headquarters 194
    Organization of C.M.H.Q., 1945 198
    Canadian Reinforcement Units and other Units under C.M.H.Q. Command 203
    The Canadian Forestry Corps 207
    The Canadian Women's Army Corpos Overseas 210
VII. Command and Control of Canadian Forces in the United Kingdom  
    Problems of Control 212
    Relationship Between C.M.H.Q. and Field Headquarters 212
    Relationship Between N.D.H.Q. and the Army Overseas 215
    Changes and Reorganization, 1943-1944 221
VIII. Training the Army Overseas  
    The Beginning of Overseas Training 230
    Training to Defeat Invasion, 1940-1941 234
    Manoeuvers on the Grand Scale, 1941 238
    Improvements in Organization and Methods 240
    Offensive Training, 1942-1943 243
    Battle Experience in North Africa 248
    Exercise SPARTAN, March 1943 249
    The Final Stages, 1943-1944 251
IX. Alarums and Excursions, 1940  
    The Role andn Problems of the Canadian Army Overseas 254
    Authority to Commit Canadian Forces to Operations 254
    The Proposal to Send Canadian Troops to Norway 257
    ANGEL MOVE: The 1st Division and the Crisis in the Low Countries, May 1940 263
    The Dunkirk Evacuation 269
    First Measures Against the Invasion Menace 273
    Forlorn Hope: The Second B.E.F., June 1940 274
    The Role of the Second B.E.F. 276
    The 1st Brigade in France 279
    A Reckoning of Didsappointment 284
    The Invasion Summer 285
    The Storm that Did Not Burst 290
    The Canadian Corps 294
X. Tasks and Operations, 1941-1942  
    The Situation at the Beginning of 1941 296
    The Corps Moves Into Sussex 297
    Sappers at Gibraltar 299
    The Expedition to Spitsbergen 301
    General McNaughton's Authority is Widened 307
    Raiding Projects and the Raid on Hardelot 308
    Allied Grand Strategy in 1942 310
    Decision in July 317
    Major Raiding Projects, 1942 323
    The Origins of the Raid on Dieppe 325
    Planning and Training for the Raid 330
    Changes in the Plan 336
    The Cancellation of Operation RUTTER 338
    The Revival of the Operation 340
    The Plan of Operation JUBILEE 346
XI. The Raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942  
    German Defences in the West in 1942 349
    The Enemy in the Dieppe Area 352
    Our Information About the Enemy 357
    The Collision with the German Convoys 358
    The Attack on the Berneval Battery 360
    The Attack on the Varengeville Battery 362
    Disaster at Puys 363
    The Fighting in the Pourville Area 369
    The Frontal Attack on Dieppe 374
    The Fortunes of the Tanks 378
    The Landing of the Reserves 381
    Withdrawal from the Main Beaches 384
XII. Dieppe: Losses, Comments and Aftermath  
    Allied Losses at Dieppe 387
    Gerrman Losses and German Critiques 388
    How the Public was Told 393
    The Shackling of Prisoners 396
    Some Comments on the Operation 397
    The Influence of Dieppe on German Thinking 404
    Problems of Strategic Employment, 1942-1943 408
XIII. Some Special Problems of the Canadian Army Overseas  
    A Unique Experience 413
    The Problem of Finding Commanders and Staff Officers 413
    The Problem of Morale 419
    Discipline and Deportment 425
    Leave to Canada 427
    Repatriating the Overseas Army 431
The War Against Japan, 1941-1945
XIV. The Defence of Hong Kong, December 1941  
    The Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1945 437
    The Situation in the Far East, 1939-1941 437
    The Request for Canadian Help at Hong Kong 439
    The Training and Equipment of the Expeditionary Force 446
    The Development of the Japanese War Plans 450
    The Defences of Hong Kong 455
    The Hong Kong Defence Plan 458
    The Japanese Attack Begins 461
    The Loss of the Gin Drinkers Line and the Withdrawal to the Island 465
    The Attack on Hong Kong Island 471
    Operations in the Eastern Sector 474
    The End on Stanley Peninsula 478
    The Fight for the Western Sector 480
    The Fall of Hong Kong 485
    The Cost of the Defence 488
    Some Comments on the Hong Kong Campaign 489
XV. The Campaign in the Aleutians  
    The War in the Pacific, January-June 1942 492
    The Japanese Invade the Aleutians 493
    The Counter-Offensive Against the Islands 495
    Fiasco at Kiska 500
XVI. Pacific Plans and Enterprises, 1943-1945  
    Eyes on the Kuriles 506
    Observers in the Pacific 507
    Canadians in Australia 510
    Policy on Participation in the Pacific 510
    The Canadian Army Pacific Force 512
    Recruiting and Training the C.A.P.F. 516
    The End in the Pacific 517
"A" Strength and Casualties, Canadian Army 522
"B" General Service Enlistments, 1 September 1939-31 August 1945 526
"C" Canadian Army Appropriations and Expenditures, 1939-1946 527
"D" Canadian Army (Active) Training Centers and Schools in Canada, 1 July 1943 528
"E" Operational Units of the Active Army in the North American Zone, 24 April 1943 536
"F" Persons Holding Principal Appointments, Canadian Army, 1939-1945 540
"G" Note on the Equipment of the Canadian Army Overseas, 1939-1945 544
"H" The Number of Men Evacuated from the Dieppe Beaches 547
"I" Newfoundland Army Units Overseas 548
"J" Organization Chart, National Defence Headquarters (Army), April 1945 550
Pre-War Appropriations for the Department of National Defence 13
Peace Establishment, Canadian Active Militia, by Arm of Service, 1938 19
Strength of the Canadian Active Service Force, 30 September 1939 55
Growth of the Canadian Army Overseas, 1939-1945: Arrivals in the United Kingdom from Canada and Strength in European Zone 191
Canadian Military Headquarters, London, February 1945: Organization Chart 199
Channels of Communication, Canadian Army Overseas, 1942 220
Dieppe Raid: Embarkation Strength, Casualties and Disembarkation Strength, Canadian Units 389
(footnotes are included with each chapter)
Index (Part I: General) 599
Index (Part II: Formations, Units and Corps) 621
  A. Canadian Forces  
  B. British and Allied Forces  
  C. Enemy Forces  
(In Colour)
1. Atlantic Coast Defences 152
2. Pacific Coast Defences 158
3. Canada, Showing Commands, Military Districts, etc. 178
4. France and Southern England, 14 June 1940 284
5. The Dieppe Operation, 19 August 1942 386
6. Mainland Positions, Hong Kong 462
7. Hong Kong, 18-25 December 1941 490
(In Black and White)
1. The British Isles 205
2. Spitsbergen, 1941 303
3. German Dispositions, North Central France, at time of Dieppe Raid 353
4. Hong Kong and New Territories 466
5. Hong Kong Island: Garrison's Dispositions 472
6. North Pacific Ocean 494
7. Pacific Ocean, 1941-1945 508
Canadian Tanks in Sussex, by Major W.A. Ogilvie (in colour) Frontspiece
Coast Defence in Canada--British Columbia 50
Vimy Barracks, Barriefield, Ontario 50
The 1st Division Goes Overseas 51
The Minister of National Defense in London, April 1940 51
Canadians at the Palace 82
Basic Training in Canada 82
Renault Tanks Arriving from the United States, October 1940 82
Combined Operations Training in Canada 114
Flame-Throwing Demonstration, Valcartier 114
Coast Defence in Canada--Nova Scotia 114
A Gun Operations Room, Saint John Defences, New Brunswick 114
The Canadian Forestry Corps in Britain 210
The Canadian Women's Army Corps Overseas 210
Training for the Dieppe Raid 242
Training in Assault Landings 242
Battle School in England 242
Training before D Day 242
The King with Canadian Troops, July 1941 306
Canadians Preparing to Leave for Norway, April 1940 306
Canadian Engineers at Gibraltar 306
Engineers at Spitsbergen 306
The Queen Inspects a Guard of Honour 338
A Very Near Miss at C.M.H.Q., London 338
Cabinet Ministers at Army Headquarters 338
Homeward Bound After Six Years 338
The Sea-Wall at Puys 370
Pourville from the East 370
The Main Beaches at Dieppe 370
Dieppe from the Western Headland 370
Part of the Floating Reserve at Dieppe 402
Evidence of the Fierceness of German Fire at Dieppe 402
A Disabled Tank on the Dieppe Promenade 402
Canadian Troops Arriving at Hong Kong 482
A Former Japanese Commander Surveys the Hong Kong Battlefield 482
Wong Nei Chong Gap, Hong Kong Island 482
Landing at Kiska, August 1943 482
The End of the War 482
The "Maple Leaf" Reports the End 482



THIS is the first volume of the Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. The second, dealing with the campaign in Italy, will appear very shortly. The third, dealing with the campaign in NorthWest Europe, is in preparation. A subsequent volume will deal with Canadian military policy in the broad sense. This history is more detailed, and based on more thorough research, than was possible in the case of the single-volume Official Historical Summary, The Canadian Army 1939-1945, which was published in 1948.

The present volume is concerned with a variety of subjects. It deals in outline with military events in Canada throughout the war; in somewhat greater detail with the history of the Army in the United Kingdom, including the raiding operations based on that country; and with the Army's part in the war against Japan. An attempt has been made to apportion the space allotted to the various topics in accordance with their interest and significance. The active operations-notably those at Dieppe and Hong Kong, both of which were important and controversial-have been given more attention than any other matters. Questions of organization and administration at home and abroad, which are certainly important and could well form the matter of several volumes, have been more briefly dealt with; the author has aimed at summarizing the essentials while omitting the detail. Throughout, he has tried to write mainly for the general reader rather than for the soldier and the military student. He hopes that these experts will find the book useful; but information on the more specialized subjects, including the detail of the activities of the technical arms and the services, must be sought in technical monographs. As was stated in the preliminary Official Historical Summary, the main object of the present history is "to tell the Canadian citizen what his army accomplished in the last war, and to provide him, perhaps, with the means of forming an intelligent judgement on military issues that may confront him in the future".

It has been considered essential to document the book in detail, but since many readers will seldom need to consult the references these have been collected at the back and printed in small type to save space. It may be noted that many of the documents referred to are still "classified", and the fact that they are cited does not necessarily imply that they are available for public examination. In spite of this it has been thought best to give the references, since a documented narrative carries more weight than an undocumented one even when all the sources cannot be produced; and many of the classified documents cited will presumably become available to students in due course.


In the interest of security, certain cipher telegrams have been paraphrased without altering the sense. It is not the practice of the United Kingdom to cite unpublished papers in official histories. Such British documents are accordingly referred to in this study merely by the phrase "United Kingdom records". This method is used at the request of the United Kingdom authorities.

Officers and men are invariably designated in the text by the ranks they held at the time of the events described. It has not been considered necessary to append decorations to personal names in the text. In the Index all individuals are referred to by their "final" ranks and decorations, i.e. those as of the date of compilation.

The author wishes to acknowledge the liberality with which he has been treated in the matter of access to records. He has had unrestricted access to documents in the hands of the Government of Canada. In this respect, he acknowledges special debts to the Privy Council Office and the Department of External Affairs. In addition, many individuals have generously opened private records to him. The kindness of Mrs. Mackenzie has enabled him to make use of the papers of the late Senator Ian Mackenzie, Minister of National Defence 1935-39. General A. G. L. McNaughton has deposited his voluminous papers with the Historical Section for free use in connection . with this history; and General H. D. G. Crerar has permitted the Section the fullest access to his private files. Mr. C. G. Power has kindly lent documents from among his own papers. The literary executors of the late Mr. W. L. Mackenzie King have been very cooperative.

It is out of the question to make full acknowledgement here to the many organizations and individuals who have given generous assistance. In London the Historical Branch of the Cabinet Office has accorded us constant and indispensable aid, and we have had much help also from the Air Historical Branch of the Air Ministry and the Historical Section of the Admiralty. We have had helpful exchanges with official historians in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and India and Pakistan. We owe a great debt to the Office of the Chief of Military History and to the Captured Records Section in the United States Department of the Army. In Canada there is a special obligation to the Director of War Service Records, Department of Veterans Affairs, whose office provided many of the Canadian Army statistics included in this volume. Finally, the author is most grateful to the innumerable participants in the events described who have read the volume in draft, in whole or in part, and have given him the benefit of their comments.

It is quite impossible to thank all the personnel, past and present, of the Canadian Army's Historical Section who have contributed directly or indirectly to the production of this book. Lt.-Col. G. W. L. Nicholson, Deputy Director, and Lt.-Col. C. J. Lynn-Grant, Executive Officer, have helped at


every point. Chapters VI, VII, VIII, XIII, XV and XVI were originally drafted by other members of the Section and subsequently revised by the writer; in this respect he is obliged to Captain J. B. Conacher, Major J. C. Newlands and Mr. J. M. Hitsman. All other chapters he drafted himself; and he takes full responsibility for the entire volume as now presented. Captain Bond's maps speak for themselves. Captain L. R. Cameron has acted as research assistant to the author and has made an invaluable contribution. Mr. A.

G. Steiger has given equally important help in connection with German documents. Lastly, Q.M.S. (W.O.2) M. R. Lemay, a friend and colleague in the wartime Historical Section overseas which laid the foundations for this work, has typed the numerous successive drafts with great efficiency and cheerfulness. Readers who discover errors or important omissions in this volume are asked to communicate with the author.


Historical Section (G.S.),
Army Headquarters,
Ottawa, Canada.


Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation