Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Jonathan Vance


This dissertation deals with the evolution of manpower management in the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1914 to 1918: recruiting, entry-level training and the provision o f reinforcements from Canada to England and England to France. The central theme is the increasing professionalism in the Canadian Forces with the development of an efficient and comprehensive system of recruiting, training and reinforcing units at the 'front.-

This work argues that from first to last, the government did not appreciate the need to husband manpower although the Canadian Forces made continual efforts to manage the pool by altering recruiting criteria and seeking alternative sources for recruits.

Training was based on British army programs that were well-suited to conditions on the Western Front. However, training in Canada was largely a waste of time because of obsolete equipment and by the end of the war, depot units were responsible only for recruiting and forwarding men to the reserve units. Initially the reinforcement structure was based on British army policies but these did not accommodate the structure of the Canadian Forces. However, with the creation of the Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, was rationalized and modified to suit Canada’s needs.

This dissertation relies on extensive primary sources in both Canada and Great Britain to conclude that by 1918, Canada had developed an efficient and comprehensive system for managing the national manpower pool. The dissertation also notes profound changes in both the state and society.



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