Lever une armée

2nd and 10th Battalions in Training

The Film


Running Time
09 min 04 s

Canadian War Records Office

This film contains images of the 2nd and the 10th Battalions as they engage in training and recreational activities at the Shorncliffe and Bexhill training camps in Britain. The initial segment features men from the 2nd Battalion as they receive instruction in the use of barbed wire, Lee Enfield rifles with bayonets, Lewis machine guns and smoke grenades.

The next segment shows members of the 10th Battalion being trained in the use of gas respirators and Lee Enfield rifles. We then see them in a series of athletic exercises and games intended to improve general strength and agility. The clip concludes with images of soldiers playing baseball and badminton.

Both the 2nd and 10th Battalions were formed at Valcartier and were part of the 1st and 2nd brigades respectively of the 1st Canadian Division. Camp Valcartier was established by the Minister of Militia, Sam Hughes, in August 1914, at a location 25 km north of Quebec City, along the Jacques Cartier River. Hughes, who was later dismissed from cabinet for insubordination, was credited with the rapid organization of the camp. Within three weeks, over 30,000 men were being trained at Valcartier and the first forces were ready to set sail for Europe. Hughes, an enthusiastic if somewhat bombastic supporter of the war effort, addressed the first Canadian soldiers as they prepared to depart from Pointe-aux-Père, on the St. Lawrence River.

The men serving in 2nd Battalion were from Eastern Ontario, and the 10th Battalion were volunteers from Vancouver and Winnipeg. As the war proceeded, these regional affiliations would be maintained through the ongoing reinforcement program. Valcartier remains an important base for the Canadian military to this day.

As for the baseball game, the players were probably among the Canadian-born minority within the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Over half of the Canadian forces were, in fact, first-generation British immigrants, who on the whole preferred to play soccer in their leisure time.


Two Soldiers Wearing Gas Masks Examining a Lee Enfield Rifle, France, March 1917. Canadians in training. A Quick-firing Gun Section. Machine-gun Practice A Few Bums “Studying “ the Lewis Gun Canadian Army Veterinary Corps Headquarters, Shorncliffe, England, ca. 1916.

Other Materials

The Ross Rifle and other Small Arms in World War I

The 10th (Western Canadians) Battalion

The 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion

Teaching Materials

Gas Mask