Canada’s Permanent Force in 1905, Authorised Strength, Increased To 5,000-4000 Men, Myth? Archives, The Governor General of Canada, the Commander-in-Chief of Canada. In 1904, however, a new Militia Act stated that “the Command-in-Chief of the Militia is declared to continue and be vested in the King, and shall be administered by His Majesty or by the Governor General as his representative.” This Act also doubled the permanent force to 4000, to provide a garrison to replace the British in Halifax.

The South African War demonstrated the need to modernize and reform Canada’s military establishment. In 1904, Ottawa, moved to ‘Canadianize’ the militia, replacing the British General Officer Commanding with a Canadian appointee. The army became more self-reliant with the addition of medical, signals, ordnance, service, and engineer elements. Canada formally standardized its military training and most equipment along British lines, although weapons remained few and often obsolete. With growing tensions in Europe, defence spending rose, militia training accelerated, and the authorized strength of the Permanent Force increased to 4000.

The Borden reforms of 1900-03 were significant changes to Canada’s military. A pension scheme was introduced for the Permanent Force. Living-out allowances were provided to most officers of the Permanent Force. The size of the Permanent Force increased to 4000 personnel.

In 1904, after a series of confrontations between British general officers commanding the Canadian Militia and the minister of militia and defence, a Militia Act set up the Militia Council of civilians and military officials, including a chief of the General Staff. The bill doubled the Permanent Force to 4000 to provide a garrison to replace the British at Halifax. The 1922 National Defence Act brought the Militia, the Naval Service, and the Canadian Air Force together under the Department of NATIONAL DEFENCE.

A small permanent militia force, about 3,000 strong was formed for the purpose of doing garrison duty after the last of the British troops were withdrawn, at the time of the South African War:[1] W.S. Wallace is referring to 1905 when 3000 were authorised. During the election campaign of 1904, the “Gazette” [Canadian Military Gazette magazine] came out strongly against the incumbent Liberal government of Sir Wilfred Laurier. In particular, the officials of the Militia department, including Frederick Borden, came under fire. Colonel William Otter, commanding Military District No. 2 and an obvious symbol of the Permanent Force, came under scathing criticism from the Gazette. The editor described Otter as an example of, “a tyrannical and stupid militarism that could only be found in a permanent staff officer besotted with red tape and infatuated with self-conceited importance.”[2]



Frederick Borden submitted in March 17th, 1904, a new Militia Bill to parliament. “Let me say, in the first place, that the existing militia law is practically the same law which has been on the statute-book since Confederation, and indeed it was on the statute-book of old Canada long before that date. Times have changed since tin-existing law was enacted: Canada has grown and the militia force has grown, and it has been found impossible to carry on our militia system advantageously under the existing law, instead of amending the present Act. I thought it better to bring in an entirely new Bill, which provides for the repeal of the existing law, but which, of course, includes and retains many of its provisions.” “Now, I will mention some alterations which have been made in different provisions of the law. First, it is proposed to increase the permanent force of the militia to 2,000. The present law provides for 1,000.” He further adds “In fact, at the last session of parliament, I explained that we were taking a sum of money to pay for an addition of 500 men to the permanent force. So that I think this increase of 1,000 will be considered to be entirely within the present demands of the country.

A prolonged debate developed on the new bill, acknowledging the increased interest by Canadian’s in the militia’s non- and permanent force, its constant neglect, the question of national defence in time of peace and war.


The “Dundonald Incident;” unfolded while the new bill was before parliament, a prolonged heated debate erupted. On June 4th officers of the Montréal division organised a dinner in honour of Lord Earl Dundonald commanding the militia. Dundonald vigorously imposed his agenda on policy through the press, favoured rule by one civil power, British. While Canada’s militia identity developed, frustrated with the matter in hand, belted back a few spirits that evening. Dundonald a proud Scot, from his pulpit addressed the officers, in a harsh tone using language, unbecoming of a commander of the militia. In his agitated projected voice, questioned the conduct, charging a member of Government, with a political agenda rather than military efficiency, determined the selection of some officers of a newly organized cavalry regiment was an absurdity and questionable. While in parliament on June 9th the Government in the halls got wind, the house erupted in a most un-civil matter, after table banging an the dust settled, launched immediately an investigation. Concluding firmly the personal reflection of Lord Dundonald was without justification, infringed quite subversively on principles of a constitutional government. The Commander of the Militias was in direct violation and unbecoming of a high ranking officer on the principals of military rules in service, and discipline. Passing an order-in-council, terminated Dundonald’s appointment of general officer commanding the militia. Owing to the incident a decision in further discussions was needed, prolonged passing of the new Militia Bill, as parliament dragged their heels. Dundonald’s supporters agreed with his assessment, believed the old British system favoured Canada, cautioning of hastily adapting an all Canadian militia system, for a time speeches bitterly resumed, erupting into sabre rattling as insults loudly resonated across the floor.



  • Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXXXVII,
  • Issue 12255, 16 July 1904, Page 5.

Lord Dundonald Affair



  • The Dundonald Incident.
  • The -Premier in Defence of Government.
  • (Per Press Association—Copyright) OTTAWA, June 27 1904.

“The. voting on the Lord Dundonald motion was 84 to 40.”

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the principal defender of the Government, stated that the trouble was due to Lord Dunflonald having a policy of his own, yet Wellington, Britain’s most illustrious commander never had a policy while he commanded the forces, but was content to serve the Government. Whether his advice was heeded or refused he executed his instructions. Lord Dundonald had tried to impose his policy, through the medium of the press, though Disraeli had declared that it lay with a Minister to decide whether official reports should be published. The question of the supremacy of a military, or civil power Bad been settled a hundred years ago. Both Britain and her colonies were in favour of rule by 1 civil power. Recently when Lord Wolseley offered advice which the Secretary of War declined he resigned, instead of taking the violent, extreme; and unpardonable course of committing a breach of discipline. Lord Dundonald ought to have resigned. Then he could have brought the matter before Parliament. Sir Wilfrid Laurier advised the House to study the remarks of Lords Lansdowne and Salisbury in the debate in, the House of Lords on March 4th 1901.

According to Official DHH Historical Accounts: The Act of 1904 provided that the “Governor in Council may appoint a Militia Council to advise the Minister on all matters relating to the Militia which are referred to the Council by the Minister.” Members were the Minister of Militia and Defence (President), Chief of the General Staff, Adjutant General, Quartermaster General, Master General of the Ordnance (military members), the Deputy Minister as a civilian member, and the Department Accountant as financial member. The appointment of Chief of the General Staff went to Brigadier-General Percy H.N. Lake of the British Army who was given the rank of Major-General in the Canadian Militia. He returned to Canada for a second tour of duty, bringing with him a few British officers who would occupy key appointments in the new General Staff Branch.[3] Major-General Hutton was dismissed by the Canadian Government during the course of the South African War which broke out in 1899, but most of his proposed changes were instituted by Major-General, Lord Dundonald, the last General Officer Commanding the Canadian Militia (1902-1904). The Lord Dundonald Incident of 1904, which led the Canadian Government headed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier to dismiss the General Officer Commanding the Canadian Militia, fortuitously coincided with a drastic reorganisation of both the British Army’s structure and the War Office in London. Thenceforth the Secretary of State for war was advised by an Army Council of both military and civilian members, over which he presided. The post of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and the senior military adviser was Chief of the (new) General Staff Department. Oddly enough, this reshuffling, recommended by Lord Esher’s Committee, had been suggested by its naval member, Admiral Sir John Fisher, and was very similar to the set up that he would shortly institute at the Admiralty after becoming First Sea Lord.[4The Militia Act granted permission for the governor general to use the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian militia. Passed in the House of Commons Aug. 3, 1904 and came into effect on Nov. 1, 1904. The new Act stated that “the Command-in-Chief of the Militia is declared to continue and be vested in the King, and shall be administered by His Majesty or by the Governor General as his representative.” In 1905, change to the Militia Act was legalised and reference to, Office of the Governor General became the “Office of the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia. The letters patent constituting the Office of the Governor General were amended to read the “Letters Patent constituting the Office of the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief.” The Militia legislation Owing to a series of sabre rattling between British general’s Vs the Canadian Militia and Borden; foreseeing in modernization while insuring a more Canadian flavoured corps. On June 16, 1905, Lord Grey appointed “Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada.”

Department of Militia and Defence, Ottawa, February 15, 1905.

The undersigned has the honour to report to Your Excellency that he has had under consideration the Colonial Office telegraphic despatch of February 8 instant, which conveys the acceptance by the Imperial government of the offer of Canada to assume entire responsibility for the defence of the Imperial naval stations of Halifax and Esquimalt. Under the conditions proposed, Canada would pay feed, clothe and equip these troops at exactly the same rates, under the same regulations and in the same manner as they are now paid and maintained by the War Office, and in proportion as purely

Canadian permanent troops were raised and trained sufficiently to enable them to take the place of the Imperial troops, so would the latter be withdrawn by arrangements mutually agreed upon between Your Excellency’s government and the War Office, on July 1st, 1905, the command should be handed over. The undersigned proposes to give orders at once for rapidly recruiting the present permanent force to meet this requirement, but it will be necessary in order to enable Canada to provide the troops needed for the defence of Halifax and Esquimalt to increase the establishment of her permanent force considerably, if the instruction of the Active Militia is not to suffer. The new establishment required is estimated at not exceeding 4,000 of all ranks. An amendment of the Militia Act of 1904, which authorises only an establishment of 2,000 of all ranks, will be required. F. W. BORDEN, Minister of Militia and Defence.

Sessional Paper No. 128. Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General in Council on the 20th January, 1905. The Committee of the Privy Council have had under consideration the subject of defence.

The Colonial Conference, held in London in the year 1902, the suggestion was made by the first Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War that the various Colonial’s should contribute some portion of the cost of maintenance of the Imperial Army and Navy. The Canadian Ministers present, for reasons set forth in a memorandum printed in the report of the conference, expressed their inability to concur in this suggestion. They, at the same time, acknowledged the propriety of the Dominion, as it advanced in population and wealth, making more liberal provision for the purpose of self-defence, and they staled verbally the willingness of the government of Canada to assume the responsibility of garrisoning Halifax and Esquimalt, and to this extent relieving the Imperial government of the cost of protecting the Dominion. They now deem it expedient to renew this offer in a more formal and precise manner.

In the event of the above suggestion being now favourably entertained by the Imperial authorities, your Excellency’s advisers would be prepared to ask the sanction of the Parliament of Canada to the same, and this sanction being obtained, to proceed with the necessary preparations to assume the whole of the garrisoning of Halifax and Esquimalt with troops levied and paid under the authority of the Canadian parliament.

In making this offer, your Excellency’s advisers desire to renew the expression of their wish and intention to avail themselves in all military matters of the advice and experience of Imperial officers, as far as may be consistent with the principle of local government, which has proved so beneficial not only to the colonies, but to the whole empire.

The committee advise that a copy of this minute, if approved, be communicated to the Right Honourable the Secretary of Stale for the Colonies for the information of His Majesty’s government. JOHN J. McGEE, Clerk of the Privy Council. p.763.

Return to an Address of the House of Commons, dated the 13th March, 1905, for copies of all correspondence, Orders in Council, agreements, reports, etc., in connection with the taking over by the Dominion Government of the Halifax and Esquimalt defences. W. SCOTT, Secretary of State.


The Permanent Active Militia Parliament and Media Press Lobby Group.

 Permanent Force Will Consist of 5,000, 4000 Men, Myth!

“The addition to the number of the permanent force which you have authorised will enable the British Government to relieve the taxpayers of the United Kingdom from the burden of keeping up the garrisons of Esquimalt and Halifax.” However Mother in her gratitude graciously handed over modernised, fully equipped fortresses, at no cost to Canada’s purse. Recruiting for the additional force commenced in April, 1905, in order to provide a garrisons for Halifax. On June 6th Parliament passed an amendment to the militia act, increasing the permanent force authorised strength of 2,000 to (if deemed necessary) max of 5000 all ranks. The numbers would be regulated by house vote, cautiously decided the increase should proceed gradually, and only if funds were available in the Government coffers on a yearly bases. Owing to the high cost in maintaining a force of 5,000, the bigwigs dragged their heels, number allotted (authorised), for the Permanent Force (PF) from 1905 till August 1914 capped at 3,000-3,110, “The Permanent Force Will Consist of 5,000, men,” never materialised even though the PF lobby Colonels, vigorously spearheaded an agenda in the halls of parliament, media, etc. The 4,000 myth derives from F. W. BORDEN, Minister of Militia and Defence, submitted report to His Excellency: “The new establishment required is estimated at not exceeding 4,000 of all ranks. An amendment of the Militia Act of 1904, which authorises only an establishment of 2,000 of all ranks, will be required.” Its allotted strength, capped at 750 men in 1883, Article 28 of the Militia Act of 1886, set the PAM establishment of the “Permanent Corps” at not to exceed 1,000 men, while the Militia Act of 1904 to increase that establishment to not exceeding 2,000 men. In 1904-5, the average strength circa 1,200 all ranks. In 1905-06 authorised by Order in Council, was 1,995 of all ranks. The total strength by June 30th, 1906, including circa 70 semi-military employees at Halifax, standing at 2,448 In June 1905, members of the Militia Council submitted to the minister a memorandum on general militia policy, which was approved by him and laid before parliament. To the carrying out of that policy the efforts of the department have been steadily directed with satisfactory results.

 The bottom extracted from: Vol. 28, No. 129, The St John Daily Sun, N.B. Wed., June 7th, 1905 (Special to the Sun.) article p.1.

Permanent Force Will Consist of 5,000 Men.

  • St. John Volunteer Artillery Force May be Increased.
  • Fredericton Will Get Squadron of Calvary.
  • Where the Men Will be Placed.

St John Daily Sun, 7 June, 1905 (Special to the Sun.)
Ottawa, June 6.—In the house this afternoon supply bills were passed for $8,364,522 for the year ending June 30, 1905, and for $36,638,269 for the year ending June 30, 1906.

Sir Fred Borden’s resolution regarding salaries and expenses of the Royal Military College was adopted after some debate, the maximum cost being fixed at $35,000.

Sir Frederick Borden’s resolution to increase the possible limit of the permanent force to 5,000 men, was taken up. Sir Frederick said that the original limit was 1,000, and that last year it was increased to 2,000. The government was now to take over the garrisons at Halifax and Esquimalt, These would need about 2,500 men or perhaps less. The present permanent force was about 1,200 only. A depot of about 200 men would be established at Montreal, and one called the Strathcona Horses of about 225 men somewhere in the new province of Alberta, at Calgary or Medicine Hat, probably the former. In all about 5,000 men would be needed.
The distribution of the forces will be as follows:-

Cavalry;– six squadrons of Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles, three squadrons of Royal Canadian Dragoons, 150 per squadron, total, 1,350.

Artillery;- Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, five companies of 220 all ranks, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, three batteries of 133 each; total, 400; total, 1,100.

Engineers;- Royal Canadian Engineers, three companies of 100 each; total, 300.

Infantry;- Royal Canadian Regiment, ten companies of 120, total 1,200. Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Army Service Corps, and Canadian Ordnance Stores Corps—divided among the different depots, 150 each. Total, 4,800.
The detailed distribution of these forces would be as follows: One squadron of dragoons at Toronto, one at St. John’s Que., and one at Fredericton, N.B., the latter two replacing the infantry, which would then be moved to Montreal; Royal Canadian Rifles (mounted), one squadron at Winnipeg, three in Alberta, and two in Saskatchewan, at placed not yet settles, squadrons to number 125 men; Artillery, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, two batteries at Kingston, Ont., and half batteries at Winnipeg, and at some place in Alberta, probably Calgary; Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, two companies in the maritime provinces, at Halifax, one company in British Columbia, at Esquimalt, and two companies at Quebec city; Royal Canadian Engineers, one company at Halifax, one at Esquimalt, and one distributed among the different depots; Infantry, Royal Canadian Regiment, four companies at Halifax, one at Montreal, one at Quebec city, one at London, one at Toronto, one at Fort William, one at Esquimalt, and one company divided between Manitoba and Alberta. The army service, medical and ordnance corps are to be distributed among the different depots.

Sir Frederick Borden explained that this distribution was the result of conferences between the military members of the militia council, and was based primarily upon the instructional requirements of the various provinces in accord with the final distribution of the forces throughout the dominion, and also upon the garrison requirements, and that it had been drawn by General Lake.



From the Military Members of the Militia Council to the Minister of Militia and Defence-and also Memorandum of the Finance Member of the Militia Council relating to the Militia Estimates for 1905-1906.

  • The Honourable Minister of Militia and Defence.
  • GENERAL MILITIA POLICY, Extracts. Ottawa, June 14, 1905

1. In view of the approaching consideration of the Militia Estimates in the House of Commons, the military members of Council have the honour to submit for your consideration a statement of general policy with regard to the development of the militia, upon which they have already touched in Council, and in the general outlines of which you have signified your concurrence.

2. The militia force of Canada as established by law consists of three portions of the permanent corps, the active militia, and the reserve militia,; though the last named doesn’t represent actually exist in any organized form, and is not herein considered.As regards the two former, the establishment of the permanent corps, as at present authorized by Order in Council, is 1,995 of all ranks. The establishment of the active militia, as authorized by Order in Council, is 46,000; to which should be added the batteries of field artillery and the ammunition park nucleus authorized by special general order of May 9, raise the total to about 47,000 men.

5. The duties of the militia force of Canada may be shortly summarized as being, first, the support of the civil power; secondly, the defence of the country from aggression by any foreign power. To these a third has recently been added, that of relieving the Imperial Government of the responsibility for the safety and maintenance of the two Imperial naval bases, Halifax and Esquimalt, which stand upon Canadian soil.

6. On the militia forces of the Dominion as a whole must necessarily fall the two main duties of support to the civil power and defence of the country against foreign aggression.

15. While the military members would prefer to see the proportion of men serving to the war strength put down roughly at about 3 to 4, or, in other words, that an addition of one-third to the peace strength should be made in the event of war, yet they are prepared to agree that a somewhat less proportion might be accepted as a commencement. Taking a force of about 100,000 men as the war strength, they think that this establishment (for peace) should be placed in the neighbourhood of 60,000 men. They have allotted the units which should make up the 60,000 men in peace among the various provinces of the Dominion.

18. You have recently laid before parliament an amendment to the law, authorizing the government, in case of need, to raise the permanent corps to a maximum establishment of 5,000 men. As already stated, the permanent corps has to be relied upon for the permanent element in the garrisons of Halifax, Quebec and Esquimalt, which secures the safety of these important ports and arsenals, and at the same time has to provide for the proper instruction of the active militia forces. Starting then from the establishment necessary for the safety of the places named as a sort of irreducible minimum, the military members consider that it should be laid down and accepted as a broad general principle that the additional establishment authorized for the permanent corps should follow and to be proportionate to the establishment and instruction required by the active militia.

36. Article 28 of the Militia Act of 1886, already quoted, laid down the establishment of the permanent corps at 1,000 men. With certain variations, due mainly to financial exigencies, the establishment remained at about that figure until last year, when an Order in Council was passed, but not acted upon, which took advantage of the authority conveyed by the Militia Act of 1904 to increase that establishment to not exceeding 2,000 men.

Sessional Paper 1905, 130. Return to an order of the House of Commons, dated 10th July, 1905, for a copy of the memorandum from the members of the Militia Council to the Minister of Militia and Defence; and also a copy of the memorandum of the Minister of Militia and Defence relating to the militia estimates. Presented 10th July, 1905.[5]Article 28 of the Militia Act of 1886, set the PAM establishment of the “Permanent Corps” at 1,000 men, while the Militia Act of 1904 to increase that establishment to not exceeding 2,000 men.



Melbourne, December 18 1905.
The report of Captain Collins, Secretary of Defence, upon the Canadian military defence system, based upon his recent visit to the dominion, under instructions from the Minister of Defence, was laid be-fore both Houses of the Federal Parliament today. Captain Collins describes in detail at the outset of his report the duties of the Militia Council. He remarks that no provision is made for giving officers of the citizen forces any status as consultative members of the council, as in the case of the Australian Military Board. He then com- pares the number of officers and the salaries paid to the administrative staff of directors and adjutants general in the two countries Coming to the guiding principles of the Canadian military system of defence the secretary writes:-“As a principle on which to form an organisation of the defence forces it has been assumed, and is stated lo be accepted by Parliament, that the strength should be about 100,000 men as the first line of defence, with behind them the men of the main population of the dominion in reserve, from whom further levies to supplement the first forces placed in the field may be raised.”

Captain Collins shows that the peace strength is about 60,000 men, with 100,000 as a war strength. The present establishment totals 49,435 men, all ranks, but this is to be increased by 30,000 militiamen, and the permanent corps is to be raised from 1,245 to 5,000 men in consequence of the Dominion Government taking over the defences and garrisons of Halifax and Esquimault. There are 355 local rifle associations or clubs, of which 95 are military and the recent civilian, in Canada. The total membership is about 28,000, of-which only 15,000 are civilians. Associations when no Government range is available are en- titled to a grant of 1 dollar (or 4/1 per member up to 40, and 50 cents (or 2/) for each additional member up to 80. Members get no privileges for rail travelling, nor is any expense incurred by the department under this head. There is no uniform or drill required.

Having described the Dominion cadets’ system, Captain Collins writes concerning the Government small arms factory at Quebec. Though the factory has been established for some years, he says, the annual output has up to now been small about 3,000,000 cartridges a year. This year the output is expected to be 10,000,000. Most of the employees, except in the examination and inspection branches, are on piecework. They do not work under any Factories Act, nor are they subject to any inspection except military. Besides small arms ammunition the Dominion Government are now making steel 12-pounder shrapnel, and are expected this year to turn out 15,000 shells by means of a plant costing about 40,000 dollars. On this head Captain Collins says:-“I consider that it is certainly advisable for the Commonwealth to make provision for the manufacture of shell for field artillery.” There is a pension system for permanent soldiers, which Captain Collins recommends to the Federal Government’s notice.


  • ESTIMATES FOR 1905-1906. Sessional Paper Vol. 14. p. 778


The statement given in the annual report of the Militia Council for the year ending December 31st 1906, shows, in detail, the expenditures on account of the militia during the fiscal years 1896-97 to 1905-06 inclusive. For the first, fifth and last years of this period the expenditures were.The expenditure on account of the militia in 1904-05 is $3,995,868, 23 for 1905-06 amounted $5,494,090.00 adding Increase and Decrease or $1,500,221. 77 in excess of the amount expended during 1904-05. The increase in the militia estimates for 1905-06 over those for 1904-05 is due mainly to Canada assuming the responsibility of garrisoning Halifax and Esquimalt. Allowing 1,400 troops for Halifax during 1905-06, the cost would amount to $485,000; and 350 for Esquimalt, about $200,000., for the month of May 1905 last actual strength was 1,650. The increased amounts for clothing, provisions and supplies, transport freight, are due to two thousand additional troops required for the Permanent Force. The cost of these additional troops is estimated as follows:—

Pay and allowances $625,000, Clothing 250,000 Provisions and supplies, including $50,000 for barrack and hospital equipment at Halifax 300,000, Transport and freight 35,000; Total $1,210,000.
(a) Additional pay funds for the permanent force consequent upon the increase in the establishment. In 1904-5, the average strength was about 1,200 all ranks. In 1905-6 the average was about 1,000 greater, the total strength June 30, 1906, including about 70 semi-military employees at Halifax, standing at 2,448.Its statutory strength, set at 750 in 1883, had been increased from time to time until in 1905, when the decision to abandon Halifax and Esquimalt as Imperial naval bases led to the withdrawal. Between 1904 and 1913 the number of men undergoing annual training had grown from 36,000 to 55,000, an expansion that had been matched by marked improvement in organisation and training.During the year 1906, 1,950 officers, 24,112 non-commissioned officers and men, and 6,567 horses received 12 days training in district camps; and 912 officers, 12,330 non-commissioned officers and men, and 284 horses similar training at local headquarters. 162 officers, 1,334 non-commissioned officers and men, and 64 horses received less than 12 days training. Although authority was obtained from parliament in 1905 to raise the establishment of the permanent force to a maximum not exceeding 5,000 all ranks, providing a garrisons for Halifax and Esquimalt with other requirements, it was decided that the increase should only proceed gradually, and as funds were available.

For the year 1906 it was determined that the numbers should not, for financial reasons, exceed the following:-

  • Royal Canadian Dragoons; 200.
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles, 120.
  • Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, 258.
  • Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, 790.
  • Royal Canadian Engineers, 300.
  • Royal Canadian Regiment, 1,067.
  • Army Service Corps, 100.
  • Army Medical Corps, 100.
  • Ordnance Stores Corps, 120.
  • Grand total, 3,055.


On April 2nd, in the House of Commons, Sir Frederick Borden stated: “The Permanent Force” is something less than 3,000 and the Active Militia something less than 49,000. The total militia estimates this year are something like $4,000,009.” I’ve come across this account which extends to an outdoor magazine of the day, which dropped: “On June, 1906, whilst the authorized establishment of the Permanent Force was 3,824, the actual strength was only 2,448. The discrepancy between the two figures is caused by the difficulty of obtaining recruits, during 1906 only 348 recruits were received. The strength of this Permanent Force is today about 2,800.” [6]

In 1904-5, the average strength was about 1,200 all ranks. In 1905-6 the total strength June 30, 1906, including about 70 semi-military employees at Halifax, standing at 2,448.


1907-08 PF NPAM & PAM numbers


In DHH OH CDN Army In The FWW, CEF 1962 Chp I p.6-7 or p.22-23. list extracted from the Sessional Paper, Defence as fallows:-
The Canadian Militia before 1914:
What was the nature of the resources from which an unmilitary nation like Canada could furnish an organized body of troops for service overseas? She had a small Permanent Force of regular soldiers. Its statutory strength, set at 750 in 1883, had been increased from time to time until in 1905, when the decision to abandon Halifax and Esquimalt as Imperial naval bases led to the with of the last British troops in Canada, it reached a maximum of 5000. This quota, however, was never fully recruited. A limited establishment was set each year, its numbers determined by the amount of the annual Parliamentary vote, but even with this reduction it was often found difficult, because of more attractive conditions in the labour market, to obtain sufficient recruits. For the fiscal year beginning 1 April 1914 the total authorized establishment of the force was 3110 all ranks and 684 horses. It then comprised two regiments (each of two squadrons) of cavalry-the Royal Canadian Dragoons and Lord Strathcona’s Horse; the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery -with two batteries, and the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery with five companies; one field company and two fortress companies of engineers; one infantry battalion-The Royal Canadian Regiment; together with detachments of the various service and administrative corps. The Permanent Force’s main peacetime functions were to garrison the fortresses on either coast and assist in training the militia. In the summer of 1914 he ordered a mixed force of more than 10,000 militiamen to concentrate at Petawawa, Ontario (which had been acquired as a central training camp in 1905). There to they carried out combined manoeuvres which more closely achieved active service conditions than any held in Canada since the Fenian disturbances half a century before. In all 59,000 troops carried out training in Canada that year, and but for the outbreak of war the total would have reached 64,000.

The authorised establishment of the Canadian Militia in July 1914 (as distinct from actual strength) was 77,323 all ranks, distributed as shown in the following table:

Established force


Canada’s position had been made clear on various recent occasions by her leading statesmen. In January 1910 Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then Prime Minister, declared in the House of Commons, “When Britain is at war, Canada is at war. There is no distinction.” [7] When the Hon. Louis Philippe Brodeur, Canadian Minister of Naval Affairs, in company with his colleague, Sir Frederick Borden, Minister of Militia, came to London before the war, they were lavishly entertained by Vickers officials at a banquet in the Carlton Hotel. The liberal Premier had been exploring the possibilities of disarmament and the hospitable arms makers were moved to complain bitterly about this anti-social and anti-financial policy. “Business is bad,” confided one executive to M. Brodeur. “How could it be otherwise with a man like Campbell-Bannerman in office? Why, we have not had a war for seven years.” While he was unburdening himself of these genial sentiments, one of his fellows went on in much the same vein to Sir Frederick, with complaints that “the Empire is going to the dogs for lack of a war and, worst of all, there is not even one small war in prospect.”[8]



  •  [1] W. S. WALLACE, ed., “Militia”, in The Encyclopaedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., pp. 290-294.
  • [2] Morton, Desmond, The Canadian General: Sir William Otter, op. cit., p. 269.
  • [3] Report No. 15. DHHCF, Headquarters p.11.
  • [4] Report No. 15. DHHCF, Headquarters p.11.
  • [5] Sir Frederick Borden. seasonal papers 1905 Vol. 14.
  • [6] Canadian Life Resources Aug. 1907 Vol. V. N.S. No. 8. p.9
  • [7] Debates, House of Commons, Jan. 12, 1910.
  • [8] George A. Drew, The Truth about the War Makers, p. 9.





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