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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
War of 1812
Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Northwest Campaign
South African War
First World War
Second World War


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Second World War
Troops and Traditions

The Organization of Canada's Armed Forces

Students of Canada's Second World War, and family historians both, will need a basic understanding of the structure of Canada's armed forces. Very useful appendices of orders of battle and organization are found in the volumes of official history of both the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force, listed in the various earlier sections of this pathfinder. For the army, The Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army and Dornbusch's The Canadian Army, provide considerable guidance to the idiosyncrasies of the regimental system. Both works are now rare, but can be found at a good reference library. Falconer's Battery Flashes of W.W. II, gives more detail concerning artillery organization. The various corps histories listed below under "The Organization of Canada's Armed Forces - The Canadian Army", also have helpful appendices.

The organization of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force are inseparable from their ships and aircraft. Therefore, The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces, by Macpherson and Burgess, and RCAF : Squadron Histories and Aircraft, 1924-1968, by Kostenuk and Griffin, are the standard references for understanding that relationship. The work of Macpherson and Burgess has been updated and reprinted over the two decades since it first appeared, but that by Kostenuk and Griffin is becoming rare. Included in this section, as well, are other works on both ships and aircraft.

Family historians, especially, will use the officers' lists of the three services, found below, to trace the wartime careers of individual officers. It should be emphasized that these are guides only to the officers of each service, and not to the sailors, soldiers and airmen in the ranks.

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