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P.O. Box 337, 17 George St.
Parry Sound, Ontario, P2A 2X4 
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Phone: 705-746-5365
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Parry Sound war photo reminds us of courage and perseverance of Canadians

700 were from the Parry Sound District in First World War: 300 were killed or wounded, writes In Our Collections columnist Rachael Thiessen

 

This Remembrance Day marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War. To commemorate this occasion, the Museum is profiling this postcard of recruits walking down Seguin Street in Parry Sound.  

In 1914, the Parry Sound Northern Pioneers militia unit, or 23rd Regiment, were too small to form a battalion. Parry Sounders who volunteered at the onset of the war were placed with the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion. In 1915, Prime Minister Robert Borden wanted to encourage further enlistment by having men fight with their family and friends, so each electoral district was designated a battalion. By 2 December 1915, the Parry Sound District’s 162nd  Battalion was formed.

The Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916 – 18 November 1916) cost approximately 623,907 allies lives —24,700 being Canadians and Newfoundlanders — creating a desperate need for more soldiers. On 18 May 1917, Prime Minister Borden retracted an earlier promise and introduced the Military Services Act in Parliament, a bill that imposed conscription and sparked the Conscription Crisis of 1917. The act became law on 29 August 1917, and required all able-bodied men from 20 – 45 years of age, who were bachelors or widowers with no children, to enlist. Unprecedented in Canadian history, the act was greeted with little enthusiasm and even riots. 401,882 men registered for the draft, but only 124,588 enlisted and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

650,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served during the First World War. 700 were from the Parry Sound District and approximately 300 were killed or wounded. The exact date of the postcard is unknown, but the photograph reminds us of the courage and perseverance of Canadians.

 

Click here, to read this article on the Parry Sound North Star.

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