April 6, 1945

NAT
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

There are ancillary services in addition to that, but these are definite establishments.

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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

The point I was wishing

to make is this. In 1911, three years before the last war, the population of Canada was 7,206,643. The population of Canada in 1941 was 11,506,655. This means that the population at the beginning of this war was practically sixty per cent more than at the beginning of the last war, and for that reason Canada should be able to supply a larger number to the armed forces. I have not taken into account here, perhaps the air force and the navy.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Perhaps I might say to my hon. friend, if he cared to use it in the development of his argument, that broadly speaking our total enlistments and enrolments in the three services are now over a million, about a million and twenty or thirty thousand.

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NAT
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Yes.

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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

Well, I have not added up

the number in the air force in the last war, so that the disparity, according to the figures which the hon. gentleman has given me, is not as great as I had thought at first, and I think it is a creditable showing for Canada.

I wish to lend my voice in support of what was said by the hon. member for Vancouver South, in the sentiments he expressed regarding the war in Japan. It was disheartening to me to learn from the Prime Minister that when our men who have served in the European theatre of war return home they will be asked to volunteer to fight in the Pacific. Those men have served anywhere from one year to five years overseas. They have been separated from their families and loved ones for a very long time and all of them have done this on a voluntary basis. When they come back I feel quite sure, if I know those boys, and I do know many of them, they will not be satisfied until they have volunteered to fight in Japan or in the Pacific in order to finish this war. For, after all, the conclusion of hostilities in Europe will not by any means finish the war. One or two members have said today that the war in Japan may end before.it

does in Europe. I am afraid that is wishful thinking. I have had occasion to talk to a number of men who have seen service in the far east in this war and who have an1 intimate knowledge of what is going on in the vast expanse of the Pacific, and their opinion is that the war in Japan will not be finished under a year and a half or possibly two years. It means a long and difficult time before that treacherous race i.s subdued. They can easily ge( away from their own small island. Some years ago I visited Japan and China and am familiar with that part of the world. The Japanese can move into China, Manchuria, Manchukuo, which they took from China some years ago, where they have munitions factories established at the present time. I feel sure they can carry on the war for a long period.

We are committed to fight in the war against Japan and I should think something more would' be excepted of us than just a token force. The minister for the navy has said that a considerable naval force will be sent to the Pacific ocean, and I understand that squadrons of the air force will also be sent; but in addition to that, in the final work of winning the war, an army is necessary. I think that has been clearly demonstrated in subduing the forces in Normandy, Holland, Belgium, and now by what is going on in Germany.

It does not seem to me to be fair or just that we should leave the burden upon those young men who have already done such gallant service in Europe. Many of them are young; many of them have not established themselves in any career. When they come home they will have to find some occupation. It is quite easy to talk about full employment after the war, but I have not seen any plans yet that would1 cause me to believe that is assured. I hope it may be for these returned- men, but we have in Canada some 35,000 able-bodied men in the home defence army, and it seems to me that, before we ask those who- have stood the strain, of war overseas for a period' of two or more years to go abroad again to fight, we should1 send this home defence army to fight in the Pacific.

That would seem to be only a reasonable request, and, therefore I was greatly disappointed1 -when the Prime Minister announced the other day that it was not his intention to do so.

There is another point. Is this home defence army to be demobilized in Canada when the war in Europe is over? If so, will they take all the jobs that are offering? If that is the case, then it will be more difficult for the men who have served overseas to

War Appropriation-The Army

find anything to do when they return to Canada, aind in this regard it is unfair and unjust.

I should like to see equality of service and equality of sacrifice, and I believe that we shall never have unity in Canada until that is brought about. I will not prolong this debate further. Mr. Chairman.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTELDEN:

I am sorry that the

member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) is not in the chamber at the moment.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

He is getting ready to go

and help you in your election.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Anyway, he has been

sent an urgent invitation and I hope he accepts it. I have always enjoyed his remarks in the house, but when he casts aspersions upon members in this group, about not fighting for the underdog or not knowing what the soldiers' problems are, the record will speak for itself to all fair-minded people. If you look over the membership of this house you will find among our members those who served in the last war and who know what some of the problems of the soldiers are.

There is one question I wish to take up with the hon. member in charge of the department and this is with regard to demuster-ing. In the past six months there has been a great deal of remustering in Canada and overseas. There is a considerable feeling of resentment. I dealt with this matter in connection with the air force estimates, but in the army itself, when soldiers are remustered, often against their will, from other branches of the services into the infantry, they do not mind making the necessary move. But they do feel badly when, after having spent sometimes several years in training for special work in the air force and having received trades pay and promotion to corporals, sergeants, warrant officers and even commissioned officers, they find on remustering that these ranks are often taken away from them. Is it the policy of the Department of National Defence to bring these men down and have them revert to the ranks, cancel their trades pay and all their promotion when they are remustered to the infantry?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Well, I will make inquiries as to the point raised by the hon. member and try to give him an answer on Monday. I cannot do so at the moment. Of course these men are soldiers and they have to do what they are told and go where they are sent.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

It seems unfortunate and does not seem right to these men. I believe it affects the esprit de corps.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

I will not discuss it now because I should like to discuss it with the adjutant general and see what the present policy is.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

While the parliamentary assistant is doing that, will he get the number of men who have beeen remustered from other units into the infantry in Canada?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Since when?

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Since last November; the same with the overseas men, both on the European and Italian fronts.

The next matter I wish to deal with is one that was brought to my attention. I have not the figures and facts completely, but it is in regard to the number of officers in the Canadian Army who during 1942, 1943 and 1944 were surplus to Canadian requirements and have been on loan to the British army. How many of these men have been transferred or are on loan to the British army? What period of training have these men had with their new units or their British units prior to going into action, and the number of casualties, both wounded and killed, of those Canadian officers on loan? What I want to get at is whether or not these men were given the proper period of time in training with their British units and whether thej' became properly acquainted with the personnel of those units so that when they did go into action they understood the men and the men understood them? As the parliamentary assistant knows, that is a very important matter.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Would the hon. member care for an answer to that now?

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

If you have it. yes.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

In the fall of 1943 there was an acute shortage of junior officers in the British army, and the Canadian forces, not having been engaged in intense action had a favourable supply of officers. In order to give Canadian officers who desired service in an active theatre of war the opportunity of proceeding overseas at an early date, the possibilities of lending a number of junior officers to the British army was explored. By February, 1944, an agreement had been entered into with the British war office whereby Canada would lend whatever officers could be made available for service with the infantry of the British army. This was later extended to embrace a limited number of ordnance officers. Generally the terms of the agreement were that applications for service with the British army would be voluntary and

War Appropriation-The Army

officers were to be lent until such time as their services were required by the Canadian army. To facilitate their return if the need arose, service with the British army was restricted to the European and Mediterranean theatres of war. Officers on loan were to continue to draw their Canadian rates of pay and allowances, and the Canadian government would be responsible for pay, pension claims, et cetera. The war office agreed to accept Canada's selection of officers and retain them for a minimum period of three months. A special officers' training centre under the command of Brigadier Milton F. Gregg, V.C., was set up at Sussex, New Brunswick, and all officers volunteering for loan proceeded there for training and final selection prior to dispatch overseas. Between April 8 and July 9, 1944, a total of 623 infantry and fifty nontechnical ordnance officers disembarked in the United Kingdom. Infantry officers were immediately posted to field units or utilized as first line reinforcements, and individual officers were given the opportunity of serving with British units with a Canadian affiliation or with their friends if they so desired.

This loan of Canadian reinforcement officers to the British army was carried out at a very opportune time, and a large number took part in D-day operations. Their conduct in action has been most exemplary and their service with the British army considered a worthwhile contribution to British Canadian postwar relations. The following is an extract from the report of the Canadian loan liaison officer:

All formation headquarters were high in their praise of Can. loaned officers and D.A.G. rear headquarters, 21 army group said that they were not only pleased but well pleased with the Can. loan material and that they would gladly absorb all the infantry officers that could be made available to them.

I cannot give my hon. friend any information as to the casualties among those officers, but I will make inquiries and see if we have any separate break-down for that.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Does that include the number of officers who were transferred from Canadian units in England to British units on Canadian loan, or were there any?

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April 6, 1945