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15-25 August 1917
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Great War Essentials: An Introduction to the CEF

Great War Essentials: An Introduction to the CEF
A main focus of the Hill 70 Memorial Project’s blog is to introduce readers to the battle of Hill 70 and to the First World War in an accessible manner. Exploring history can sometimes feel overwhelming – with new abbreviations and terms to keep track of!
Today we are starting a series on the blog called “Great War Essentials” which we hope will make it easier to understand the whole story of the First World War and Canada’s involvement. We’ll start with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, or CEF as it’s sometimes known!
The Canadian Expeditionary Force was the name given to Canada’s military field force for service overseas in the First World War. It was active from August 1914 to 1919, and enlisted more than 600,000 over the course of its existence. Of those enlisted, more than 420,000 were sent overseas to serve.
The Force was formed into different combat elements – with the largest and principal combat element being the Canadian Corps. The Canadian Corps and other CEF units serving outside the Corps will be covered in later posts.
Usually, the Canadian Expeditionary Force is introduced as having fought prominently in four major battles: the Battle of Ypres, 1915; the Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916; the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917; Passchendaele, October-November 1917. A more comprehensive history includes their involvement at Festubert and Givenchy in 1915, the St. Eloi Craters and Mount Sorrel in 1916, Amiens in 1918, and of course, the Battle of Hill 70 in 1917.
Vimy-Soldiers19900076-581.jpgCanadian Soldiers after the battle of Vimy Ridge.

The Corps and Force became recognized as extraordinarily distinguished fighting forces throughout the Great War, and lost more than 60,000 men. 100 years later, we continue to recognize their sacrifice and feel grateful for their service. 

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