Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

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The war to end all wars left an indelible impression on Canada.

Some 619,636 Canadians enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the war, and approximately 424,000 served overseas. Close to 61,000 Canadians were killed during the war, and another 172,000 were wounded. Many more returned home broken in mind and body. The Dominion of Newfoundland suffered 1,305 killed and several thousand wounded. Of the more than 172,000 Canadians who reported wounds during the war, medical authorities classified approximately 138,000 as battle casualties. Of the wounded who survived, 3,461 men and one woman had a limb amputated. No reliable method existed for tracking or treating psychological casualties, but authorities identified over 9,000 Canadians as suffering from “shell shock”. (

This was an enormous contribution from a population of just under 8 million in 1914. Approximately seven percent of the total population of Canada was in uniform at some point during the war, and hundreds of thousands of additional Canadians worked on the home front in support of the war.

If you were to extrapolate from the numbers listed above, it could be claimed that the majority of the population in Canada at that time was touched in some capacity by the war. Further to this you could also state that there were at least 425,000 families that were intimately affected as their loved ones faced the brunt of the tragedy that is war.

If we are to remember those that fought, we need to drive home the message of the horror of war and its effect on the society that wages it. That includes the families that had to live with the unknown and after the war with the after-effects related to those who returned with injuries both visible and invisible.

From Bells of Peace – A Remembrance of Those Who Served in the First World War by Veterans Affairs Canada