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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles
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MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 10:15:02 AM
Hi

In the WFA's March 2018 'Stand To!' there is a review of Tim Cook's 'Vimy: The Battle and the Legend' by Jack Sheldon. Part of this mentions:

"The only jarring note comes at the end of the book (p.378) where it is alleged, Vimy Ridge 'is almost entirely ignored in the narratives of most nations ... The British ... grudgingly accept that Vimy was largely a Canadian battle.' The untruth of this statement is demonstrated by the hundreds and thousands of British visitors - including many coachloads of British school pupils - who visit Vimy Ridge every year to pay their respects and that Vimy dominates the narrative of the Battle of Arras, to the near-total exclusion of the British achievements elsewhere on the battlefield. There is nothing 'grudging' about it."

However, the notion that the 'British' ignore Canada's and other dominion and Empire forces appears to be common, even 'hinted at' on this forum, but what is the evidence of this?

I have quite a large library and I can't think of any book that 'ignores' the Canadian (or other) contribution, that is from the British Official History onwards. If any Canadian member knows of books or writers that do this then please name names.

It may be of course this is part of the 'Legend' and that the Canadians want to see themselves as 'ignored' therefore promoting achievements of the CEF because they have been 'ignored' by the British. However, this can sometimes appear to be a 'slagging off' or 'insulting' of the British?

If any Canadian or others believe they have been 'ignored' by British historic narratives of WW1 then please give the names of books and writers that have done so, this has been stated too many times (without much in the way of 'evidence' except a 'belief'), now even by historians, to be ignored and after a 100 years we should get to the bottom of it.

Mike

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 3069

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 10:53:16 AM
The name “ Canada” has been on my grandchildrens’ lips for a week since they returned from a family holiday to France and stopped at Vimy Ridge as they were returning to Blighty.

At eleven and eight years of age, they seem more excercised by the Canadian folklore of the Great War than anything else to do with that conflict.

To be honest , I fear that the British themselves are more than happy to extol the contribution of the Dominions, even to the extent of overlooking the role played by the county regiments of Britain that fought alongside.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 10:57:13 AM
Phil, as I recall, in 2013 as commemorations of WW1 events were gearing up, some of the UK's historians were upset that the government seemed to be lagging while the governments of the Dominions were much further ahead.

Sheffield had some critical comments directed toward his government.


Quote:
“The Government has come to this ridiculously late. The present government may have only come in 2010, but their predecessors should have been planning this for the last decade. Australia and New Zealand are a long way advanced with their preparations, because they have taken the trouble to think through what they are going to do. We are simply throwing it all together at the last minute.
“I would like to think the Government has a solid idea, but it strikes me that they are simply floundering and don’t know what they are doing properly.”


Cheers,

George

MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 12:01:17 PM

Quote:
Phil, as I recall, in 2013 as commemorations of WW1 events were gearing up, some of the UK's historians were upset that the government seemed to be lagging while the governments of the Dominions were much further ahead.

Sheffield had some critical comments directed toward his government.


Quote:
“The Government has come to this ridiculously late. The present government may have only come in 2010, but their predecessors should have been planning this for the last decade. Australia and New Zealand are a long way advanced with their preparations, because they have taken the trouble to think through what they are going to do. We are simply throwing it all together at the last minute.
“I would like to think the Government has a solid idea, but it strikes me that they are simply floundering and don’t know what they are doing properly.”


Cheers,

George
--George


Hi George

Do you agree with Tim Cook that the British 'ignore' the Canadian achievements or not? If so what evidence do you think supports this?

Mike


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 1:02:20 PM
Hello Mike,

Perhaps Cook's claim is that the details of the Canadian battles are ignored.

Your library is probably more extensive than mine. Do the British historians spend as much time on the details and include anecdotal reports from soldiers?

Or is your reference to the British general histories of the war which may have a quick reference to the contribution of the Dominions in a battle but with insufficient time and space to go into the detail that a Canadian historian would.

Cook tends to be more positive and inspirational in his writing than some other Canadian historians. That may explain his contention that the British writers tended to ignore the contributions of the Dominions.

Cook's, "Vimy" highlights even company level accomplishments as I recall and speaks of the individuals who were there. So it is a very focused treatment of this single battle.

Mike I wish to mention that immediately after the war, there was criticism of some of the articles written in Canada that heaped praise on the Canadian Corps.

There was no official history written until 1938 but these essays and articles were a source of some consternation in the UK and the resentment was because the colonials seemed to be saying that they won the war.

EDIT: Some of the Canadian writings of the day were prompted by the US press which apparently went on detail exaggerating the influence of the US Army on the outcome of the war.
Canadians were upset by the lavish US claims and responded with their own historical assessment.

Cheers,

George


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 2:24:19 PM
This article from the National Post newspaper may help British posters to understand why people from the former colonies are so watchful for every perceived snub.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 4:45:32 PM

Quote:
This article from the National Post newspaper may help British posters to understand why people from the former colonies are so watchful for every perceived snub.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
--George

Hi

I can't remember exactly who is mentioned in the actual display but it does give information on all nations. I found the display disappointing as a lot of interesting stuff that used to be in the 'old display' is now gone. However, the book that was produced to go with the galleries also does not have Currie or Monash or any Corps commander, and not that much on Army commanders. What it does (as in the display) has the 'voices' of others. For Canada on page 129 it has, writing about the Somme: "Private John Brice - formerly a bank clerk in St John, New Brunswick - wrote home saying 'I can't help but feel impressed by the tremendous force which seems to be behind this drive of the British [...]the guns, horses men and supplies of all sorts seem to be inexhaustible.'"

Also on page 234 it quotes a Canadian Alexander Young Jackson stating: "we are no longer humble colonials, we've made armies."

The book also has quotes from other Dominion and Empire soldiers as well as Irish and Indian Nationalists, but it appears the exhibition deliberately got away from a 'General centric' war.

Do you think that Currie and other Generals 'voices' should replace the 'voices' of ordinary soldiers and civilians who experienced the war? Did the Canadian media mention the Canadians who were actually represented in the exhibition?

Mike

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/17/2018 7:38:40 PM

Quote:
Do you think that Currie and other Generals 'voices' should replace the 'voices' of ordinary soldiers and civilians who experienced the war? Did the Canadian media mention the Canadians who were actually represented in the exhibition?


Actually the first time we heard about it, it was because the Australians protested that their greatest soldier, Monash had been ignored.

I cannot recall it as being an issue here until the Aussie story broke.

Of note, the IWM actually backtracked and said that it will include displays to recognize great generals.

Mike, I haven't seen the display nor do I really understand the overall theme.

But if the former Dominions could not perceive themselves as a separate entity, then they would likely be offended.

I have learned a lot from you about the importance of British involvement in Canadian Corps achievements but the fact is that those were Canadians who succeeded in those battles and even in 1918, they expected recognition as a separate entity. For sure that would apply today.

There is great sensitivity to be written off as a colonial and therefore somewhat less important.

As it was in 1918, so it is now. The question would be, "where is the Canadian display?"


EDIT: Just wanted to mention that I have visited the Imperial War Museum but that was over 20 years ago. I loved the place. One day wasn't sufficient and did not do the place justice. It is a treasure to be supported by the government which I believe was an issue at the time I was there.


Cheers,

George

MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/18/2018 1:03:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Do you think that Currie and other Generals 'voices' should replace the 'voices' of ordinary soldiers and civilians who experienced the war? Did the Canadian media mention the Canadians who were actually represented in the exhibition?


Actually the first time we heard about it, it was because the Australians protested that their greatest soldier, Monash had been ignored.

I cannot recall it as being an issue here until the Aussie story broke.

Of note, the IWM actually backtracked and said that it will include displays to recognize great generals.

Mike, I haven't seen the display nor do I really understand the overall theme.

But if the former Dominions could not perceive themselves as a separate entity, then they would likely be offended.

I have learned a lot from you about the importance of British involvement in Canadian Corps achievements but the fact is that those were Canadians who succeeded in those battles and even in 1918, they expected recognition as a separate entity. For sure that would apply today.

There is great sensitivity to be written off as a colonial and therefore somewhat less important.

As it was in 1918, so it is now. The question would be, "where is the Canadian display?"


EDIT: Just wanted to mention that I have visited the Imperial War Museum but that was over 20 years ago. I loved the place. One day wasn't sufficient and did not do the place justice. It is a treasure to be supported by the government which I believe was an issue at the time I was there.


Cheers,

George
--George


Hi George

From the comment 'As it was in 1918, so it is now. The question would be, "where is the Canadian display?" ' do you believe that the Canadians were not well publicised in WW1? I ask this because it appears to run counter to what was being said at the time. Stephen Badsey covers some of this in 'The British Army in Battle and its Image 1914-18', page 172-173 has the following:

"A major complication in the British propaganda following Lloyd George's rise to become prime minister was the dual role played by Lord Beaverbrook as head of the Canadian War Records Office (CWRO) and as the dominant figure in the War Office Cinema Committee (WOCC). Beaverbrook's dual responsibility meant that there were constant complaints from both the Australians and some British officers that the Canadians on the Western Front were getting a disproportionate amount of publicity."

The WOOC had by the end of 1917 extended its authority to control all British filming on all fighting fronts and in Britain itself, including all Dominion filming, Beaverbrook upset Australia again (page 190) with this as it was to:

"the annoyance of Dr Charles Bean, the official Australian war correspondent, whose claim to an ex officio place on the committee for an Australian representative was rejected."

Beaverbrook increased his power over publicity and propaganda when he became Minister of Information in February 1918 with a seat in the British Cabinet (he also became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster).

Page 196 mentions that in 1918:

"There were by then usually about six British correspondents based at GHQ, together with a number of visiting reporters from other Allies, two or three official cameramen, and the same number of photographers, to cover an Army of more than 60 divisions across the entire British sector of the Western Front. The Canadians and Australians, and even the New Zealanders, were distinctly better off with their own propaganda and publicity organizations and their own cameramen."

Beaverbrook also diverted the British GHQ cameramen and photographers away from the British front line, including:

"On 21 July, Haig was asked by London to make time to meet a party of 26 Canadian newspaper owners at his headquarters chateau at Montreuil, and a further party of Dominion journalists on 7 September." (pages 202-203).

Also Beaverbrook was not above:

"diverting British cameramen and photographers to cover the Canadian Corps, at a time when their numbers had dropped to only one or two to record the battles of the entire British Army on the Western Front."(page 203).

The Canadian cameramen and photographers were also there of course.

The policy of the British Government also meant that British troops were a lower priority to record (page 198):

"During the summer of 1918, the British newspapers largely continued to reflect the main government propaganda themes of holding out on the Home Front, the importance of the Dominion and Imperial effort, the build-up of the American troops and opportunities in the East."

By the Autumn 1918 this changed as Beaverbrook's MOI were principally directed:

"not to promoting Haig's forces, but to publicizing the role of American troops who were at last making an impact on the Western Front."(page 202).

It appears from this information that the Canadians were the most publicized on the Western Front, because of British Government policy of promoting the Dominions and Empire, and with Beaverbrook in charge the direction of the limited British assets in this field to cover Canadian combat and interests.
It appears that no one at the time thought that British troops got more 'coverage' than the Dominion forces.

I can only suppose that if modern Canadians think they were poorly covered in WW1 I can only say that much of the evidence appears to show otherwise.

Mike



Phil Andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 3069

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/18/2018 2:16:31 PM
Dare I say this ?

Was Tommy Atkins the Cinderella of the Great War ?

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/18/2018 2:50:44 PM
Ah, you've come to Max Aitken, Mike

Poor Max, New Brunswick son of a preacher and a man with the golden touch, moved to the UK and became a mover and shaker in politics and business.

When the war started, he was denied a position on the war cabinet and was looking for a job.

He came home and our crazy Minister of Defence, a staunch nationalist, hired Max to be his reporter on the Canadian war effort.

But it was Max himself who expanded the role to make himself the PR man for the Canadian Corps.

He had the support of men like Arthur Currie who felt that the British did not give enough credit to the Canadians even before he became commander.


Despite being an important figure in the UK in both wars, his penchant for praising the Canadians and suggesting that they were best soldiers in the Empire struck a nerve with the British.

He was also at odds with the War Office that had not yet come to grips with the fact there were people who wanted to report on the actual events of the war. The War Office was concerned that reporters could compromise strategy.

The Office forbade Aitken from sending reporters and film crews to the front but he had friends in high places on both sides of the Atlantic and he secured permission to send his crews over in 1916.

So while the British may have been reluctant to have their troops recorded and praised, the Canadian Corps was not.

And his film, photography and reporting crews did spend a good deal of time in recording the good works of the Canadian Corps.

Until 1916 and because of Lord Beaverbrook, there had been no official film or photography of the Corps.

So a Canadian was instrumental in the coverage of the Canadian Corps. Quite proper I think.

Through his efforts, we get this sort of stuff:

[Read More]

Did the British and Australians follow suit?

After the War Office authorized Max Aitken to take his crews to France, was he remiss in not covering British and Australian troops with the same vigour as he did with the Canadians?

He was initially employed by the Canadian Minister of Defence to report on the Corps.

How had his job changed in 1916 or had it?

From what I have read, when his Canadian benefactor, Sam Hughes was removed from his position as Minister of Defence in 1916, Aitken's role as reporter was minimized and he turned to other interests.

However, the system of reporting and recording that he had established carried on through the Canadian War Records Office.

And I must note that Max Aitken set up the CWRO with his own funds. There is a treasure trove of information about Canadian soldiers and the Corps in the archives of that office.

Cheers,

George





MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/18/2018 5:02:31 PM

Quote:
Ah, you've come to Max Aitken, Mike

Poor Max, New Brunswick son of a preacher and a man with the golden touch, moved to the UK and became a mover and shaker in politics and business.

When the war started, he was denied a position on the war cabinet and was looking for a job.

He came home and our crazy Minister of Defence, a staunch nationalist, hired Max to be his reporter on the Canadian war effort.

But it was Max himself who expanded the role to make himself the PR man for the Canadian Corps.

He had the support of men like Arthur Currie who felt that the British did not give enough credit to the Canadians even before he became commander.


Despite being an important figure in the UK in both wars, his penchant for praising the Canadians and suggesting that they were best soldiers in the Empire struck a nerve with the British.

He was also at odds with the War Office that had not yet come to grips with the fact there were people who wanted to report on the actual events of the war. The War Office was concerned that reporters could compromise strategy.

The Office forbade Aitken from sending reporters and film crews to the front but he had friends in high places on both sides of the Atlantic and he secured permission to send his crews over in 1916.

So while the British may have been reluctant to have their troops recorded and praised, the Canadian Corps was not.

And his film, photography and reporting crews did spend a good deal of time in recording the good works of the Canadian Corps.

Until 1916 and because of Lord Beaverbrook, there had been no official film or photography of the Corps.

So a Canadian was instrumental in the coverage of the Canadian Corps. Quite proper I think.

Through his efforts, we get this sort of stuff:

[Read More]

Did the British and Australians follow suit?

After the War Office authorized Max Aitken to take his crews to France, was he remiss in not covering British and Australian troops with the same vigour as he did with the Canadians?

He was initially employed by the Canadian Minister of Defence to report on the Corps.

How had his job changed in 1916 or had it?

From what I have read, when his Canadian benefactor, Sam Hughes was removed from his position as Minister of Defence in 1916, Aitken's role as reporter was minimized and he turned to other interests.

However, the system of reporting and recording that he had established carried on through the Canadian War Records Office.

And I must note that Max Aitken set up the CWRO with his own funds. There is a treasure trove of information about Canadian soldiers and the Corps in the archives of that office.

Cheers,

George





--George


Hi George

I don't quite understand this as 'poor Max' became basically head of the British Empire PR, sitting in the British Cabinet, as I mentioned in my post. From his controlling position the evidence contained Badsey's book appears to indicate that he used his position to 'promote' the Canadian forces above others including diverting British cameramen and photographers to cover Canadian actions, the British were under his control. I thought I made this clear in my previous post.

Mike

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/18/2018 5:10:43 PM
Yes I understood that Mike.

But it was my understanding that Max Aitken was assigned that specific function to cover the Canadians by our Minister of Defence, Sam Hughes.

He is usually described as the chronicler of all things Canadian. Was it supposed to be anything more than that?

I was not aware that he assigned British photographers to cover Canadian events.

Did he assign Canadians to cover the events of other allied armies?

You may have misunderstood my characterization of Aitken as "poor". I was referring to his humble beginnings and not to the way that he was treated in the UK.

He turned out to be an excellent businessman and a wily politician.

Cheers,

George

MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/19/2018 5:16:38 AM

Quote:
Yes I understood that Mike.

But it was my understanding that Max Aitken was assigned that specific function to cover the Canadians by our Minister of Defence, Sam Hughes.

He is usually described as the chronicler of all things Canadian. Was it supposed to be anything more than that?

I was not aware that he assigned British photographers to cover Canadian events.

Did he assign Canadians to cover the events of other allied armies?

You may have misunderstood my characterization of Aitken as "poor". I was referring to his humble beginnings and not to the way that he was treated in the UK.

He turned out to be an excellent businessman and a wily politician.

Cheers,

George
--George


Hi George

I presume you are aware that Aitkin had became a member of parliament of the Unionist Party for Aston-on-Lyne in the 1910 British elections, he then became private secretary to Boner Law (Canadian born and later Prime Minister of Britain) and was involved with other politicians and journalists to get rid of Prime Minister Asquith and replace him with Lloyd George? Aitkin was Knighted in 1911 and got a peerage in February 1918. The reason Beaverbrook stated for going into politics was to promote 'Empire Fiscal Union'.

"He is usually described as the chronicler of all things Canadian. Was it supposed to be anything more than that?" Sorry, I obviously did not make myself clear in the previous posts, he was head of CWRO plus the dominant figure in the War Office Cinema Committee (WOCC)then he became the Minister of Information in February 1918, so in charge of all publicity/propaganda not just Canadian.

"Did he assign Canadians to cover events of other allied armies?" The information on French actions came from the French and their newsreels and photographs were shown and used by the 'British'. For the Third Ypres 1917 according to Badsey (page 177):

"The first British official photograph of the battle appeared on 8 August, including troops on a light railway 'Cheering as They Go Forward'. The first Canadian official photograph appeared on 3 September, followed by a front page dominated by Canadian photographs the next day - despite the fact that Canadians were not involved in the battle at that stage! With Beaverbrook's protection, the Canadian official photographer, Lieutenant William Rider-Rider, frequently worked outside the Canadian area, and it was also not unknown for Beaverbrook to see that British official cameramen were sent to cover Canadian operations."

The Canadians appear to be at the top for publicity during 1917-18, much of it down to Beaverbrook in his position of power over the means of publicity. All the Dominions were better served than British troops, down to reasons giving in previous post political policy and assets on the ground, as well as Beaverbrook directing British resources to cover Canadian operations and events (again as mentioned previously). From the information contained in Badsey and with the control Beaverbrook, and the way he used it, had over publicity I don't see how any Canadian can believe they were not well publicized during WW1, if that is what is being put forward?

Mike

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 3069

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/19/2018 6:33:30 AM
There is one film footage vignette that is frequently shown on the screens, even now, and I’m wondering if people might recognise the one I allude to.

I mention it because it is a scene of Canadian soldiers as they go over the top, and the central figure is a Canuck infantryman fixing his bayonet and he is, if memory serves me, chewing gum vigourosly as the tension builds.

A generation later there is a WW2 counterpart which I’m sure we’ve all seen, as Canadian soldiers disembark under fire on D-Day. Am I right if I mention that there is a coxswain who is also chewing gum ?

Both these vignettes are striking in their own right, but I’m intrigued by the fact that they both depict Canadians, and they’re both “ iconic”, if you’ll forgive that over-used word !


Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/19/2018 7:53:08 AM
Phil, the second video clip of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment landing on Nan Red, a sector of Juno Beach.

It has often been described as the landing by the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada but that may be incorrect.

But let me assure all that the survival and use of this footage has nothing to do with superior public relations skills on the part of the Canadians.

I believe that film crews were shooting all along the landing zone on D-day.

By some good fortune, the Canadian film has survived. The usual story is that the ships taking film back to England were lost and with them the film that they carried.

This article talks about that and some of the comments below indicate that some people feel that other film must have survived.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/19/2018 9:22:46 AM
Hello Mike,

I believe that the Canadian Corps was full measure for the attention that it received and I do not believe that Canadians who study their history considered that they did not receive credit in the popular press.

When Currie and others speak of insufficient attention, they speak of the Imperial forces of which they were a part. Currie felt that it was incumbent upon him and others to promote the Corps and he was always watchful of generals of the imperial forces who would take credit when the Canadian Corps was at the forefront.

Mike, from a Canadian perspective, the efforts of Max Aitken have been praised because without his work it is doubtful that the Dominion Corps would have received the same level of attention as it did, in the British press.

But we do know him as a bit of a scoundrel, especially in business. Some of his dealings in his own country were unethical.

He is known as an Empire free trader which made him quite unpopular in the UK which saw the Dominions as providers of raw materials for manufacture in the UK.

A short video on the life of Beaverbrook, surely one of the most influential Canadians ever, on the world stage.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/19/2018 9:35:32 AM
I forgot to mention that Max Aitken was appointed Minister of Information in February of 1918.

And from that point he was responsible for all British propaganda.

He did repeat some of his initiatives created when he was asked to provide propaganda for the Canadian Corps. This included British artists to record British efforts on canvas.

But I must say that with a Feb. appointment that Aitken was in charge while the German Spring offensive took place.

And he was also leading the department during the Final 100 Days and surely the Canadian Corps was front and centre during that period.

I appreciate Mike's contention that the British and other Dominions may have been underreported but I do not know why Aitken would do so given that he had helped orchestrate his advancement in the British government.

It would seem counterproductive to do so.

Cheers,

George

MikeMeech
UK
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 399

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/20/2018 8:36:55 AM
Hi

Reference the 'contention' that the British 'ignore' the Canadians in WW1 in books, museum displays etc. The only way with books is to check their index, although this is very rough and ready and can depend on the vagaries of an individual index, for example a commander's name like Currie may increase the number of entries for Canada, overlap or only partially overlap, individual battles may also increase the number of mentions etc. so I have ignored both of these and stuck with 'country' type entry. Anyway here is a series of 'flawed' data on some British books reference mention of Dominions to provide a rough estimate of whether they have been 'ignored' or not.

'British Fighting Methods in the Great War' ed. Paddy Griffith, 1996, 191 pages. Canadians - 23, Australians - 15, India - 17, NZ - 6 South Africa - 2.

'Battle Tactics of the Western Front' by Paddy Griffith, 1994, 286 pages. Canada - 20, ANZAC - 17, India - 10, South Africa - 11.

'Amiens to the Armistice' by J P Harris, 1998, 345 pages. Canada - 43, Australia 42, NZ 11.

'Forgotten Victory' by Gary Sheffield, 2001, 345 pages. Canada - 22, Australia - 17, NZ - 4, India - 6, South Africa - 1.

'The Evolution of Victory' by Andy Simpson, 1995, 152 pages. Canada - 6, ANZAC - 6, India - 5.

'The German Offensive of 1918' by Ian Passingham, 2008, 181 pages. Canada - 11, ANZAC - 3, NZ - 4, South Africa - 1.

'1918: The Unexpected Victory', by J H Johnson. 1997, 208 pages. Canada - 30, Australia - 23, NZ - 8.

'Hundred Days' by Nick Lloyd, 2013, 350 pages. Canada - 15, Australia - 13, NZ - 1.

I leave it to the reader to decide if this 'coverage' constitutes 'ignoring' the Dominions or not.

Mike

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7444

Re: Tim Cook's 'Vimy' book
Posted on: 5/20/2018 11:15:07 AM
Hi Mike,

I am not sure that the number of pages with references to Canada are in and themselves proof that the Dominion was treated fairly.

We may be talking about two different animals.

I feel that at times the Dominions were treated with some disrespect by the Imperial higher command.

Part of that is the legacy of colonialism and a belief that the colonials could not be as good.

And so we read of criticisms of indiscipline on the part of Canadians. We read of noses out of joint at expressions of nationalism by the Dominions or outright anger that the colonials would question an imperial strategy.

Even a Captain Montgomery made some less than flattering comments about the Canadians during WW1. I sometimes wonder whether his attitude carried over to the next war.

And when I am in the book store, and searching in the military history section, I will always flip to the index to see whether Canada is mentioned.

And then, I read a few pages to see whether the treatment is perfunctory or whether the Corps was simply lumped in as part of the Order of Battle in an initiative of say British 1st Army. If I know well that the Canadian Corps played the lead role in the initiative but I do not read that in the literature, then I may just put the book back on the shelf.

So if as you say, Canada and Australia were not ignored, were they appreciated?

Cheers,

George

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