C.E.F. First World War Military District’s Accounts Enduring a Century, Debunked!

For 100 years, 97% of Canadian Historians/Authors with Ph.Ds’, missed the boat, each fallowing behind, plunging headfirst into the Saint Lawrence River, on Canada’s Military Divisional Area’s and Military Districts from 1911-14-16. In this day and age, the same mistake in CEF battalion’s account are perpetuated by WLU, LCMSDS professors, students, alumni: Wiki, CDN Regt’s official websites, CDN war history online forums, blogs, Facebook, Twitter pages, books, etc., all contributing to its credence, unknowingly they’re compiling more litter too the pills of rubbish, which has been growing for decades. If one properly researches Canada’s National Archives (LAC), prime source, archive documentation, instead of cutting and pasting, secondary sourcing from other Historians/Authors published papers, you’ll uncover the facts from myths:  this goes for 100 plus CEF Battalions’. Barbara Wilson Thematic Guides to Source, Stuart Martin, Charles H. Stewart, David W. Love, Meek, DHH Ph.D’s., scholars, academics, authors, who were and are in fact only secondary sources, overwhelmingly littered with inaccuracies and contradiction, according too 3 decades of research in Canadian Militia Accounts. Case in point.

SVP: Over 3 decades ago I was giving an assignment on Canadian Military Districts from pre confederation post CEF 1st and Sec. Contingent. No Military District in Ontario, Toronto, Québec, Montréal, etc., etc., etc, from Apr. 1911, officially on July 1914 – March 1916.


“The 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion organised at Valcartier in September, 1914 under Camp Order 241 dated 2 September 1914. The battalion was raised from Montreal soldiers (Military District 4).” [1]

[1] Barbara Wilson Thematic Guides: Guide to Sources, p.72; David W. Love, p.137; Charles H. Stewart, p.7. (As for; raised from “Montreal soldiers,” Military District 4; I certainly think not)


Canada’s Military Divisional Areas & Military Districts:

Pre Militia Act 1855 the Dominion was divided into Military Districts, furthermore in 1862 “Trent Affair,” post 1867 confederation the Canada’s were still divided into Military Districts, which assumed responsibilities within their District; administration of militia unit’s, recruitment, training, etc., further sub-divided into Brigade division. Per-say, from 1868 –July 1914, “Military District No 5; 1st Brigade Division H.Q. Montréal, by the 1911 scheme only one month prior to war, officially designated “No 4 Divisional Area.” By G.O. 142, August 6th, 1914:—Calling out of Troops on Active Service: “Montréal part of, No. 4 Divisional Area.” 5th Regt. (RHC), at outbreak of war, part of 12th Infantry Brigade 4th Divisional Area, HQ Montreal, P.Q., 1st Batt. (8 Coy’s) 2nd Batt. (8 coy’s). However only officially re-designated by GO on Jan. 1st 1915, Military District No. 4 HQ, Mtl., PQ., according to canadiansoldier,com, however CEF Matrix Project, CEFresearch.ca, CEF Study Group claim, on Aug. 6th already Military District No 4.

The facts are, Military Divisional Area’s were changed to Military District’s by General Order No. 18, 1916, paragraphs 1-11 (H.Q. 9939-1-13), replacing G.O. No. 59-(1) of April 1st 1911 in section 21-(a) of the Militia Act.


In the Official History of The Canadian Forces In the Great War from outbreak Aug 1914-Sept. 1915 GS Vol. I. 1938, p. 69, App. 9-10, list as Fallows:-

Note on Military Divisional Areas and Districts:—
In July 1914 Canada was divided for militia purposes into 6 Divisional Areas and 3 Districts numbered and distributed as under:

Div & Districts

On April first 1916 the six “Divisional Areas” were renamed “Military Districts”, which common term is used in the text to avoid confusion with combatant formations named Divisions.

C. 1209
31st July 1914.
From:—The Adjutant-General, Canadian Militia.
To:—The Officer Commanding, 1st Division, London, Out.
and to G.O.C., 2nd Divn.; Os.C. 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Divns.
Os.C. M.Ds. No. 10, 11 and 13.

Sir, I have the honour, by direction, to request that you will consider what procedure you would adopt on receiving orders that troops were to be raised in your command for service overseas.
2. No attention is to be paid to the tables attached to Memorandum C. 1209, dated 1st October, 1911; and the scheme outlined in that document is to be regarded as purely tentative.
3. This letter need not be acknowledged; its contents are not to be discussed; and nothing is required from you in the nature of a report.

  • I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,
    V. A. S. WILLIAMS, Colonel, Adjutant-General.


Army Medical Corps Instructions
G.Os., M.Os., & Precis of HQ letters.
Admin of CDN Army Medical Service.
Published Aug. 6th 1914 & Dec 31st 1916
Ottawa By Authority of the Militia Council 1917.

No. 23.                                                                                 1st March, 1916.


G.O. 59-(l) of April, 1911, and all Orders referred to therein are hereby cancelled, and the following is substituted therefor:—

In pursuance of the authority contained in section 21- (a) of the Militia Act, the hereinafter mentioned portions of Canada are formed into Militia Districts. (The Districts so formed are the following):—

Div & Districts.p2

(For full details consult G.O. as below.)
General Order No. 18, 1916, paragraphs 1-11.
(H.Q. 9939-1-13).
No. 24.                                                                                     1st March, 1916.



G.O. 58 of 1915, and all orders referred to therein, are hereby cancelled, and the following is substituted therefor:
(a) Subject to the regulations and to the instructions issued from time to time from Militia Headquarters, a district officer commanding will exercise military command over all troops within his district; within that area he is the representative of the Minister of Militia and Defence, and he is charged with and responsible for: (For details of his duties consult General Order No. 18, 1916. (H.Q. 9939-1-13).


Lieut.-Col. John Fletcher.

In 1877 Lieut.-Col. John Fletcher DAG of M.D. No. 5 and M.D. No. 6 with Lieut. –Col. Harward its DAG, HQ was Montréal for both MDs’ for a time. By 1895 militia district list, until July 1st 1914, officially: “Military District No 5; 1st Brigade Division, H.Q. Montréal, 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders Canada.” Post July 1st call out for active service, designated No 4 Divisional Area.

The 1911 scheme consisting of 62 units (Division Nos.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: Military District 10 and 13th). In March 1912 changes to the scheme by CGS Gen. C.J. Mackenzie, MD 10, Saskatchewan and Manitoba wasn’t approved, owing the western infantry “had had no training to speak of,” while the quota would surpass the total amount of troops that previously trained a year before. Military District No. 10 organised on the 6th August, while Military District No. 11 was organised for active service on August 10th: Sessional Paper 1914 Vol. I p. 31; extract from the Canada Gazette. Canadian Militia, 1914. Headquarters, Ottawa, August 10. 1914.


In virtue of an Order by His Royal Highness the Governor General in Council, numbered P.C. 2068; dated the 6th day of August 1914, and made under the authority of section 69 of the Militia Act, the corps and parts of corps hereinafter mentioned. Having their headquarters in Military District No. 11, are placed on Active Service at their full peace establishment for such special duties and at such points as may be ordered by the officer commanding that District, or as may hereafter from time to time be directed from Militia Headquarters.

The PC, and GO 142, on Aug. 6th for Montréal HQ, surrounding area regiments, authorised for active service, Montréal area designated No 4 Divisional Area on July 1st, 1914 by the 1911 scheme: Allotted six divisional areas and three military districts in raising a force of 1 division a foot and 1 mounted brigade, for overseas Imperial service. By 1913-1914, while never officially implemented, remained a draft of mobilisation war plans for overseas service, in limbo ones Hughes heavy-hand crunched, redrafting the scheme. CEF official History p.30 states: “By 1914, under this scheme each divisional area and district would contribute its quota of troops, in general the “six divisional areas in Eastern Canada” furnishing the units for the infantry division and the “three western military districts” providing the mounted brigade.” “Divisional and District commanders” were responsible-selecting their own “places of assembly” (to be approved by MHQ), once the troops after partial mobilisation would congregate to a ‘place of concentration,’ at Petawawa.


P.C. 2068:
Thursday, the 6th day of August, 1914.


Whereas in view of the state of war existing between the United Kingdom and the Dominions, Colonies and Dependencies of the Empire, on the one side, and Germany, on the other side; and in view of the fact that thereby the Dominion of Canada is liable to invasion and other assaults of a hostile nature, such an emergency has arisen as calls for the placing of the Militia on “active service.”

Therefore His Royal Highness the Governor General in Council, under the authority of Section Sixty-nine of the Militia Act, is hereby pleased to order that such corps or parts of the Militia as may from time to time, with the approval of the Governor General, in Council, be named or designated in General Orders published in the Canada Gazette, be placed on Active service in Canada.

Clerk of the Privy Council.


OTTAWA, 6th August, 1914.


In virtue of an order by His Royal Highness the Governor General in Council, numbered P.C. 2068, dated the 6th day of August, 1914, and made under the authority of section 69 of the Militia Act, the corps and parts of the Militia hereinafter mentioned are placed on Active Service, namely:

1. The President, Vice-President and Military Members of the Militia Council.
2. The Permanent Staff employed at Militia Headquarters, Ottawa, Ont., and in the several Divisional Areas and Districts.
3. All Corps of the Permanent Force.

4. 1st Division.
24th Regiment (Grey’s Horse). Details.
7th Regiment (Fusiliers). Details.
21st Regiment (Essex Fusiliers). Details.

5. 2nd Division.
2nd Dragoons. Details. 19th (Lincoln) Regiment.
23rd Regiment (The Northern Pioneers).Details.
35th Regiment (Simcoe Foresters). Details.
44th Regiment (Lincoln and Welland Regiment).
51st Regiment (Soo Rifles). Details.

6. 3rd Division.
4th Hussars. Details.
Cobourg Heavy Battery, C.G.A.
5th Field Company, Canadian Engineers.
14th Regiment (The Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles). Details.
56th Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles). Details.
59th Stormont and Glengarry Regiment. Details.

7. 4th Division.
17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars (Argenteuil Rangers). Details.
15th (Shefford) Battery, C.F.A. Details.
21st (Westmount) Battery, C.F.A. Details.
22nd (Sherbrooke) Battery, C.F.A. Details.
The Montreal Heavy Brigade, C.G.A. Details.
4th Field Company, C.E. Details.
Laval Contingent, C.O.T.C. Details.
1st Regiment (Canadian Grenadier Guards). Details.
3rd Regiment (Victoria Rifles of Canada). Details.
5th Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada). Details.
53rd Sherbrooke Regiment. Details.
54th Regiment (Carabiniers de Sherbrooke). Details.
64th Chateauguay and Beauharnois Regiment. Details.
65th Carabiniers (Mont-Royal). Details.
85th Regiment. Details.

8. 5th Division.
6th (Quebec and Levis) Regiment C.G.A. Details.
8th Regiment (Royal Rifles). Details.
9th Regiment (Voltigeurs de Quebec).
89th Temiscouata and Rimouski Regiment. Details.
No. 10 Company, C.A.S.C.
No. 7 Field Ambulance. Details.

9. 6th Division.
1st Halifax Regiment, C.G.A.
3rd (New Brunswick) Regiment, C.G.A.
Prince Edward Island Heavy Brigade, C.G.A.
63rd Regiment (Halifax Rifles).
66th Regiment (Princess Louise Fusiliers).
73rd Northumberland Regiment. Details.
94th Victoria Regiment (Argyll Highlanders).
8th Company, C.A.S.C.
No. IX Field Ambulance. Details.

10. Military District No. 10.
16th Light Horse. Details.
27th Light Horse. Details.
29th Light Horse. Details.
34th Fort Garry Horse. Details.
26th Battery, C.F.A. Details.
36th Battery, C.F.A. Details.
52nd Regiment (Prince Albert Volunteers). Details.
60th Rifles of Canada. Details.
95th Saskatchewan Rifles. Details.
96th Lake Superior Regiment. Details.
99th Manitoba Rangers. Details.
105th Regiment (Saskatoon Fusiliers). Details.
No. 18 Company, C.A.S.C. Details.

11. Military District No. 13.
19th Alberta Dragoons. Details.
21st Alberta Hussars. Details.
23rd Alberta Rangers. Details.
103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles). Details.

(H.Q. 54-21-4).
By Command,
J. C. MACDOUGALL, Colonel,
for Adjutant-General, (absent on duty.)
(P.C. 2198)



© Spañard


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