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18:00 - 19:30 9 February 2015
En route to Flanders Fields: The Canadian troops at Shorncliffe, 1915-1918
Seminar Room 105 |
UCL – Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PQ | United Kingdom
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential
Diana Beaupre, Canterbury Christ Church, Independent researcher who specialises in the life of the Canadian soldiers who came to Britain during the First World – many of whom were recent British emigrants to Canada. As a mature student, she studied Canadian history as part of her degree in American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, graduating in 2007 with 1st class honours. She has written a number of articles on various aspects of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. She and her partner, Adrian Watkinson, are now nearing the end of a major project entitled ‘Far From Home’, which has located and recorded the details of every known Canadian soldier from the First World War buried in Britain – a total of almost 4,000.
This paper marks the centenary of the establishment of Shorncliffe barracks as the training ground for Canadian soldiers in the First World War. When Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 Canada and the other Dominions were also automatically at war. The Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden, pledged to send troops to Europe to fight in the war and the first members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force arrived in Britain before the end of the year.
At first they were accommodated on Salisbury Plain but when this arrangement proved to be unsuitable Shorncliffe, near Folkestone, situated across the Channel from France, was selected instead and the first Canadian troops began to arrive there in February 1915. Amongst their number was the army doctor, John McCrae, author of the famous war poem ‘In Flander’s Fields’.
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