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More than 600,000 Canadians served in the First World War. Many of their names are forgotten to time, but some of this country’s soldiers later became famous for other feats. Here are 10 well-known Canadians who heeded the call to duty in the Great War:
Lester B. Pearson
Canada’s 14th prime minister, volunteered as a medical orderly when the First World War began in 1914. He went overseas in 1915 and served as a stretcher bearer with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He began as a private, but rose to become a lieutenant. He served in Egypt and Greece and even spent some time with the Serbian Army. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. Two flying accidents left him injured and he was later hit by a bus in 1918 during a blackout and he was sent back to Canada.
The man who perfected the use of insulin to treat diabetes in humans tried several times to join the army when war broke out in 1914, but was rejected because he had poor eyesight. He was finally accepted in 1915, did his basic training then returned to medical school. When he graduated in 1916, there was a push to get more doctors into the service so he reported to duty the day after graduation. He won the Military Cross for heroism in 1918 at the Battle of Cambrai where he tended wounded men for 16 hours while was he himself was wounded.
One of Canada’s most famous journalists survived three years of trench warfare from 1916 to 1918 as a major with the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He won the the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry at Vimy Ridge. He wrote a notable short story about his war experience entitled “None Else of Name.”
An artist and member of Canada’s famed Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson joined the Canadian Army’s 60th battalion in 1915. He was wounded at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood in 1916. While in the hospital, Lord Beaverbrook helped him get transferred to the Canadian War Records branch as an artist. During this time he painted several important works depicting events connected to the war. He became an official war artists with the Canadian War Memorials between 1917 to 1919.
The man who built Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and was one of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ early and long-time owners, served in the artillery during the First World War. Shortly after winning the Ontario Hockey Association championship in 1915, Smythe joined up with eight other teammates. He went overseas in 1916 where his unit served on the Ypres salient. Smythe won the Military Cross for heroism in 1917 when his battery was attacked by Germans. He later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps where he served as an airborne observer. His plane was shot down and he remained a prisoner-of-war until the Armistice
originally posted by: beforemorning
I remember seeing a monument to dead Canadians who fought in World War I. The monument was on an Indian reservation, the dead soldiers were all "Native Canadians", and this was a small village where the kids weren't even taught how to find Germany on a map. Rah Rah Rah.