Remembrances: Canada and the Second World War

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Introduction

Canada’s participation in the land war grew steadily until the Canadian Army reached a strength of half a million. At the beginning of the war in September 1939, Canada’s land forces consisted of a tiny permanent force and a larger part-time Militia. Both organizations were poorly equipped, but eager to defend their country.

In December 1939 the 1st Canadian Infantry Division – the first of several Canadian formations to go to Great Britain – sailed for England to begin intensive training for the war in Europe. In June 1940, Canadian soldiers were briefly deployed to France but were removed quickly after the fall of France to German forces. Other Canadian troops were sent to Iceland where they served on garrison duties with British forces.

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