Significant Dates In
Canada ’s Military History
DATE YEAR EVENT
2 January 1940 The first Canadians decorated in WWII, Pilot Officer S.R. Henderson and
Wing commander J.F. Griffiths, both awarded the DFC.
4 January 1915 PPCLI becomes the first Canadian troops sent to the front lines.
4 January 1945 U-Boats claim Norwegian steamship Polarland and Canadian merchant ship
Nipawin Park off the coast of Nova Scotia.
6 January 1915 The PPCLI arrives at the trenches in France.
8 January 1838 During the Patriot War, rebels seize a lighthouse near Amhersstburg,
Ontario, but are captured the next day by Canadian militia.
10 January 1814 Militia captures an American patrol near Missisiquoi Bay in Lower Canada.
11 January 1957 HMCS Magnificent delivers troops and supplies for the UN Emergency
Force controlling the Israeli-Egyptian border.
13 January 1942 Canadian fighter pilots arrive in Singapore, part of a force of 50 Hawker
14 January 1944 Canadian secret agent Gustave Bieler is captured by the Gestapo in France.
14 January 1952 HMCS Uganda, the only Canadian warship to fight the Japanese, is
recommissioned as HMCS Quebec.
15 January 2006 In Afghanistan, a car bomb kills diplomat Glyn Berry, severely wounds
Private William Salikin, Corporal Jeff Bailey and Master Corporal Paul
16 January 1991 Gulf War begins.
17 January 1957 Canada's aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure is commissioned.
18 January 2015 CF-18s bomb ISIS gunmen northwest of Mosul, Iraq.
20 January 1968 Robert Shankland, awarded the VC at the Battle of Passchendale in 1917,
21 January 1900 A second contingent of 1,281 Canadian troops sails from Halifax for the
22 January 1992 Roberta Bondar blasts off on the US space shuttle "Discovery" on an 8 day
25 January 1951 HMCS Nootka and Cayuga are fired upon in Korea.
27 January 1973 An airlift delivers 115 Canadain personnel to South Vietnam for
28 January 1973 Canada beginssending military personnel to Vietnam under the International
Commission for Control and Supervision.
28 January 1980 Ambassador to Iran Kenneth Taylor aids the escape of 6 diplomats who
sought sanctuary at the Canadian Embassy after 66 American hostages
were taken during the Iranian revolution.
29 January 1942 Eight RCAL members are among those killed in the first bombing raid on
the German battleship Tirpitz.
30 January 1915 The Canadian Cavalry Brigade is formed in England under command of
Brigadier-General J.E.B. Seely.
31 January 1923 The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve and RCN Volunteer Reserve are
1 February 1968 Canadian military forces unify.
4 February 1915 After a training accident, Lt W.F. Sharpe becomes the first Canadian
military airman killed.
14 February 1915 The Canadian Division arrives in France.
28 February 1915 Canadian troops launch the first trench raid of the war; by the end of the
conflict Canadian troops will be regarded as the experts at this manoeuvre.
28 February 1991 Gulf War ends.
6 March 2002 Nearly 130 combat troops from 2nd Battalion, PPCLI are sent to Afghanistan, where they participate in the search for terrorists.
7 March 1951 In the Battle of Maehwa-San in south Korea, two companies from 2nd
Battalion, PPCLI assault and secure Hill 532, resulting in seven Canadians
dead and 37 wounded.
10 March 1945 The First Canadian Army successfully completes its month long campaign
against German opposition to occupy the land between the Rhine and Maas
13 March 2002 In Paktia Province, Afghanistan, Operation Harpoon, a joint American -
Canadian military assault, is launched using land and air forces to eliminate
Taliban and al-Qaida resistance.
25 March 1885 North-West Campaign (NWMP).
30 March 1918 C Squadron of the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) conducts a
cavalry charge against the Germans at Moreuil Wood. The squadron suffers
atrocious casualties, but the action is one of the keys of halting the German
advance in Operation Michael. Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew is awarded
the Victoria Cross posthumously.
2 April 1949 NATO Accord signed.
9 April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge begins.
14 April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge ends.
17 April 1915 2nd Battle of Ypres begins.
17 April 1945 Last Canadian ship lost in WWII.
20 April 1915 Gallipoli (Royal Newfoundland Regiment).
21 April 1918 Canadian Captain Roy Brown (209 Squadron RAF) supposedly shoots
down the famed Red Baron.
22 April 1915 The first of three Battle of Ypres begin. In the 2nd Battle of Ypres
Canadian forces bear the brunt of the first chemical weapons attack of the
war. They devise makeshift gas mask of urine-soaked rags and hold their
29 April 1991 Gulf War official cease fire.
May 1943 Battle of the Atlantic (31 U-boats sunk).
3 May 1915 2nd Battle of Ypres ends.
3 May 1915 "In Flanders Fields" is written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John
4 May 2002 In the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan, 3rd Battalion, PPCLI Battle Grp
launches Operation Toril, a three day mission to find and gather
information from Taliban and al-Qaida cave complexes and then destroy
5 May 1877 Feeling the pressure from the US Army, Chief Sitting Bull and his band
leave their homeland of Montana to cross into Canada. They stay for four
years until hunger and desperation lead many to return to the US.
7 May 1916 The Government of Canada authorizes the creation of an all black
battalion that became No. 2 Construction Battalion of the CEF.
7 May 1949 Devon Legion Branch No. 247 Chartered.
8 May 1945 Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day). Following the unconditional surrender
of Nazi Germany, millions take to the streets to celebrate the end of the
WWII in Europe.
9 May 1855 Gunner William Phillips of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery is
killed in the Battle of Batoche. An orphan, he becomes the only soldier
buried at Batoche.
12 May 1958 NORAD created. Canada and the USA establish the North American
Aerospace Defence Command to protect against a possible Soviet air
17 May 1929 Jack Caldwell, test pilot with Canadian Vickers Ltd., becomes the first
Canadian to save his life by parachute when his Vedette suffers
engine failure and he is forced to jump.
18 May 1885 The 90th Winnipeg Rifles escort Louis Riel to Regina to stand trial on
charges of high treason for leading the North West Rebellion.
19 May 1951 No. 410 Squadron becomes the first Canadian squadron to fly Sabre
21 May 1939 King George VI unveils the National War Memorial in Ottawa at 11 am
before 100,000 spectators, calling the memorial the "spontaneous response
of the nation's conscience".
22 May 1868 The Militia Bill is passed by Canada's Parliament and given royal assent,
creating an active militia of almost 40,000 men and dividing the country
into military districts.
25 May 1915 The Second Canadian Division is formed. It embarks for France four
months later to join the First Canadian Division and form the Canadian
Corps. The Battle of Ypres ends.
28 May 2000 In a ceremony attended by thousands, the remains of an unidentified
Canadian soldier who fought in WWI are laid to rest in a special tomb
in front of the National War Memorial.
31 May 1902 South African (Boer) War ends. This war marked Canada's first official
dispatch of troops to an overseas war. A total of 284 Canadians give up
their lives in the Boer War.
1 June 1916 Battle of Mont Sorrel begins.
6 June 1944 Normandy Invasion (D-Day, Canadians land on Juno Beach).
10 June 1940 Canada declares war on Italy.
13 June 1916 Battle of Mont Sorrel ends.
23 June 1945 United Nations is created. A total of 116 Canadians will be killed over the
years on UN Peace Keeping missions.
25 June 1950 Korean War begins.
1 July 1916 Battle of the Somme begins.
1 July 1916 Battle of Beaumont Hamel (The Royal Newfoundland Regiment).
2 July 1885 The Northwest Rebellion ends with the surrender of big Bear, and with
it, the nomadic life of the Cree.
5 July 1900 At Walve Spruit, south Africa, Sgt A.H.L. Richardson rides through heavy
fire to rescue a comrade earning him the Victoria Cross.
9 July 1944 Caen, France is liberated by the 3rd Canadian Division.
10 July 1940 Battle of Britain begins.
10 July 1943 Invasion of Sicily begins by the Allies including the 1st Canadian Division.
12 July 1812 Invading American General William Hall is chased back to Detroit.
26 July 1936 King Edward VIII unveils the Canadian National War Memorial at Vimy
27 July 1953 Korean War ends.
28 July 1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, starting the First World War.
31 July 1917 Battle of Passchendaele begins.
August 1917 The government introduces conscription triggering the Conscription Crisis.
4 August 1914 Britain and the Commonwealth enter the First World War.
7 August 1950 Canada announces entry into Korean War.
8 August 1918 At the Battle of Amiens superior Canadian gunners assist a great allied
breakthrough (also called Canada's 100 Days).
11 August 1916 The 4th Canadian Division arrives in France.
14 August 1914 Canada's War Measures Act is passed suspending some civil rights.
15 August 1945 Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day).
19 August 1942 Dieppe Raid.
26 August 1918 The Battle of Arras begins.
September 1918 Canadian forces arrive in northern Russia to assist the White Russians in
their battle against the Bolsheviks.
1 September 1944 Dieppe, France is liberated predominantly by Canadians.
2 September 1918 Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line begins.
2 September 1945 Second World War ends. Japan signs the terms of surrender on a US
battleship in Tokyo Bay.
3 September 1916 The Canadian Corps takes a 3 kilometre section of the front along the
Pozieres Ridge near the Somme river in northern France.
3 September 1918 The Battle of Arras ends.
3 September 1918 Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line ends.
3 September 1943 Invasion of Mainland Italy.
4 September 2006 Private Mark Anthony Graham is killed and others injured when a US
aircraft mistakenly fires on a Canadian platoon in Afghanistan.
5 September 1939 No. 10 Bomber Squadron unit is formed and goes on to make a record 22
attacks on U-Boats.
6 September 1944 Canadian troops occupy the Pas-de-Calais region of France were V1 flying
bombs were being launched against London, England.
8 September 1993 Battle of the Medak Pocket in Croatia.
9 September 1914 The creation of the Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade,
the first fully mechanized unit in the British Army.
9 September 1916 Corporal Leo Clarke wards off, chases and dispatches 20 attackers despite
his wounds. He is awrded the victoria Cross.
9 September 1918 The Battle for the Hindenburg Line begins.
10 September 1939 Canada declares war on Germany.
12 September 1918 The Battle for the Hindenburg Line ends.
13 September 1915 With the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division a separate Canadian Corps is
14 September 1942 Destroyer HMCS Ottawa is torpedoed while defending a convoy, 114 are
15 September 1884 The Canadian Nile Voyaguers depart on Canada's first overseas military
mission to attempt a rescue of Govenor General C.G. Gordon in Khartoum,
20 September 1917 The Income War Tax Act receives royal assent, establishing a "temporary"
tax, which remains in force to this day.
20 September 1917 The Wartime Elections Act gives female relatives of servicemen the vote.
20 September 1918 Canadian railway troops sail from Marseilles, France to Palestine to assist
in repairing bridges pending defeat of Turkish forces at Damascus, Syria.
22 September 1916 The Canadian Corp aided by the first use of armoured tanks captures
27 September 1806 Isaac Brock is appointed to command British forces in Upper Canada.
27 September 1918 The Battle of Canal du Nord begins.
28 September 1917 King George V grants the term "Royal" to the Newfoundland Regiment.
30 September 1731 The first warship in New France is built in Terrebonne, Quebec.
October 1918 A second group of Canadian forces is sent to northern Russia.
1 October 1944 Calais, France, is occupied by the 3rd Canadian Division.
2 October 1918 The Battle of Canal du Nord ends.
2 October 1944 The First Canadian Army begins its hard slog to clear the Scheldt Estuary
in an effort to open the port of Antwerp.
3 October 1914 33,000 Canadian troops depart for Europe, the largest force to ever
cross the Atlantic Ocean at the time.
4 October 1951 The 2nd Battalion PPCLI attacks Chinese positions on Hill 187 in Korea.
9 October 1915 The 3rd Canadian Division arrives in France.
8 October 1918 The Battle of Cambrai begins.
9 October 1918 The Battle of Cambrai ends.
10 October 1885 Five native men are tried for involvement in the Frog Lake Massacre and
sentenced to hang.
11 October 1899 The second South African (Boer) War begins. More than 7,000 Canadians
serve there over the next 3 years; 267 were killed.
12 October 1917 The first Battle of Passchendale begins. When the village is captured in
November, more than 15,000 Canadians are killed and wounded.
13 October 1944 Black Friday for the Black Watch which has 56 soldiers killed attacking
a railway embankment during the Battle of the Scheldt.
14 October 1914 The First Canadian Contingent arrives in a convoy at Plymouth and
Devonport. It will soon begin training on Salisbury Plain.
17 October 2001 Canada deploys HMCS Charlottetown, HMCS Iroquois and the supply
ship Preserver to the Arabian Sea on Operation Apollo in an international
campaign against terrorism.
19 October 1814 The American forces refuse to be drawn out of sheltering woods near
Welland in Upper Canada, as the British unleash artillery and rocket fire
into Cook's Mills.
20 October 1940 The first corvette built in Canada, HMS Windflower, is commissioned into
the Royal Navy, but with a Canadian crew.
23 October 1951 Five Canadian soldiers are killed and 21 wounded attacking Hills 166 &
156 and patrolling the Nabu-ri valley in Korea during operation Pepperpot.
26 October 1917 Canadians begin the Second Battle of Passchendaele with an opening
barrage that could be heard in London, 200 km away.
31 October 1940 Battle of Britain ends.
31 October 1914 First Battle of Ypres begins.
1 November 1918 The Battle of Valenciennes begins.
2 November 1918 The Battle of Valenciennes ends.
11 November 1918 Armistice Day - First World War ends.
12 November 1917 Battle of Passchendaele ends.
17 November 1914 First Battle of Ypres ends.
30 November 1916 Battle of the Somme ends.
1 December 1916 An Order in Council authorizes an increase of troops to 500,000 in WW1.
6 December 1917 Halifax explosion.
10 December 1988 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to U.N. Peacekeepers.
19 December 1915 Capt M.M. Bell-Irving, No.1 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, achieves the
first aerial victory by a Canadian when he shot down a German aircraft.
20 December 1915 Evacuation of Gallipoli.
25 December 1941 Fall of Hong Kong.
The important point to remember when reading statistics of war service is to appreciate
the fact that every number represents a person. These are men and women who grew up, had families
and left loved ones behind. The numbers for the Afghanistan mission are approximations as of
South Africa World War I World War II Korean War Gulf War Afghanistan
Participants: ~7,000 628,736 1,081,865 26,791 4,074 40,000+
Died: 267 66,573 44,927 516 0 158
Wounded No Record 138,166 53,145 1,558 0 2,000+
Prisoners of War: No Record 2,818 8,271 33 0 0
Women (included in totals) 4,518 49,963 - 237 -
Women Killed (included in totals) - 73 - - -
Women Wounded (included in totals) - 19 - - -
Participants: 16,922 19,406
Died: 1,593 704
Wounded: Unknown Unknown
Prisoners of War: 180 Unknown
SECOND WORLD WAR INTAKE
Approximate numbers of enrolment in the armed forces by province.
Note: Newfoundland was not a Canadian province during the Second World War.
SASK. (Incl. N.W.T.) 80,605
B.C. (Incl. Yukon) 90,976
OUT OF CANADA 17,124
MERCHANT NAVY LOSSES
There was 1,400 served on the original 37 Canadian ships registered at the start of World War I. 175 died by enemy action in WWI.
The names of 578 Canadian and Newfoundland merchant sailors killed in U-boat attacks are listed in the Book of Remembrance in the Parliament Buildings. Enemy action during the war also claimed an undetermined number of Canadians serving in foreign flagged vessels.
Approximately 14,000 served in the Merchant Navy on registered ships during World War II. More than 1,600 Canadian and Newfoundland men and women - perhaps as high as 2,000 - lost their lives due to enemy action in the Second World War.
More than 125,000 have served on missions since 1948. More than 115 have died while on missions.