Tree Frog Forestry News

“Sawdust Fusiliers” — The Canadian Forestry Corps in WW1

By Judith Elson
Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada
November 8, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada

During the First World War huge quantities of wood were needed on the Western Front: to shore up trench walls and line muddy trench floors; to make stakes for barbed wire fences; to construct corduroy roads over muddy terrain; to build shelters, hangars, military buildings. …Britain had plenty of suitable trees but lacked experienced men to cut and trim them. On February 16, 1916, Andrew Bonar Law, the British Colonial Secretary, formally asked the Duke of Connaught, Governor-General of Canada, if Canada would provide the manpower necessary to cut and process timber in England. By March 1, 1916, the Canadian Government had responded by creating the 224th Battalion, dedicated to harvesting and processing timber resources overseas. Another three battalions were recruited in the next fifteen months. …By the end of the year, 11 companies of Canadian lumbermen were working in Britain, with another 3 companies working in France, a total of 3038 Canadians.

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