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 
                                                                         Boer War.

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 
                                                                         peacekeeping duties.

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
                                                                          fighter aircraft.

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
                                                                         Ridge, France.

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
                                                                          Courcelette, France.

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

January 2012.


                      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


Approximate numbers of enrolment in the armed forces by province.

Note: Newfoundland was not a Canadian province during the Second World War.

P.E.I.                                     9,309

N.S.                                     59,355

N.B.                                    45,137

QUE.                                 176,441

ONT.                                 398,808

MAN.                                  76,444

SASK. (Incl. N.W.T.)         80,605

ALTA.                                 77,703

B.C. (Incl. Yukon)              90,976

WOMEN                            49,963

OUT OF CANADA           17,124


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.