It is hoped that the following brief chronology, which emphasises the places and battles cited in the letters of Helen Fowlds, will assist researchers in making the best use of the Fowlds’ letters. We have also included an overview of the Canadian infantry hierarchy.



August 4: War declared between Germany and Great Britain

August 19. Canadian Parliament authorises raising expeditionary force

August 23: Battle of Mons

September 6-10. Battle of Marne

September 15: Battle of Aisne; trench warfare for the first time

October 14: Canadian Expeditionary Force of 32,000 men arrives in U.K.

October 21– November 17: First Battle of Ypres

December 25: Christmas Truce on the Western Front


January 19: German Zeppelin air raid on England

March 10: Battle of Neuve-Chapelle

April 15: Allies land at ANZAC cove and Helles

April 22 – May 25: Second Battle of Ypres; Germans use poison gas against the Canadians for the first time

April 23: Start of the Gallipoli campaign

May 7: Lusitania sunk by German submarine off Irish coast, with loss of 1152 lives

May 16 – June 30: Battle of Vimy Ridge (Second Artois)

August 6: More British and ANZAC forces arrive in Suvla Bay, Gallipoli

September 25: Lens offensive October 12: Edith Cavell executed in Belgium by Germans

December 20: Dardanelles campaign aborted; allied troops pulled out


February 21: First Battle of Verdun begins; ends December 1916

April 24: Irish Rebellion begins in Dublin; Easter Rising ends April 30 with leaders court-martialled and executed

July 1: Battle of the Somme begins; rages through to November


March 15: Russian Revolution

April 9 – May 4: Battle of Arras

April 13: Battle of Vimy Ridge; areas around Givenchy, Bailleul and Lens taken by Canadians

June 7 – 14: Battle of Messines

July 6: Canadian government passes conscription bill

July 16: Czar Nicholas II and family murdered

July 31 - November 6: Third Battle of Ypres. Battles waged throughout Flanders near Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Menin Road and culminating in Passchendaele, November 6, 1917

August 20-December 15: Second Battle of Verdun

November 20-December 7: Battle of Cambrai


1918-1919: Pandemic outbreak of influenza throughout the world; 2 waves kill more people than W.W.I which is estimated to have cost more than 10 million lives.

March 28: Second Battle of Arras

June 29: Llandovery Castle hospital ship sunk

July 15– August 7: Second Battle of the Marne

August 8-11: Battle of Amiens

August 21 - September 3: Second Battle of the Somme; Second Battle of Arras

October 8-9: Second Battle of Cambrai

November 11: Armistice


June 28: Treaty of Paris signed




Squad: Each squad was made up of 25 men and was led by a non-commisioned officer.

Platoon: Each Platoon consisted of 2 squads (50 men) and was led by a Lieutenant.

Company: A company had 2 Platoons (100 men) and was led by a Captain.

Battalion: A Battalion was made up of 4 Companies of infantry, usually about 1,000 men, and was led by a Colonel or a Lieutenant Colonel.

Brigade: A Brigade consisted of 5 Battalions (5,000 men) and was led by a Brigadier General.

Division: A Division was made up of 3 Brigades and led by a Major-General. Number of men ranged from 15,000 to 30,000.

Numbers in any category could vary. By the end of the war, Canada had mobilised 4 Divisions of 120,000 men.





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