Thus the first British field force landed in France aggregated about 94,000 men, including the extra Cavalry division. These were added to almost daily during the following weeks, until by September 20 the British had probably 200,000 men co-operating with the French army north and east of Paris.
COLONIES RALLY TO BRITAIN
At the prospect of war with Germany the dominions of the British Empire overseas eagerly offered their aid. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, all came forward with offers of men, money, ships and supplies. The Australian premier issued a statement to the people in which he said: “We owe it to those who have gone before to preserve the great fabric of British freedom and hand it on to our children. Our duty is quite clear. Remember we are Britons.”
CANADA OFFERS MEN
A formal offer of military contingents was cabled to England by the Canadian government August 1. A meeting of the cabinet was presided over by Premier Borden. It was called to deal with the situation in which Canada found herself as the result of the European war.
The government unanimously decided to make England an offer of men. Infantry, cavalry and artillery would be included in any force sent forward and it would number 20,000 men if transportation could be obtained for that number. It was estimated that within two weeks it would be possible to dispatch 10,000 efficient soldiers, and within three months this number could be increased to 50,000.
Many offers for foreign service arrived from the commandants of militia corps throughout the dominion. In all 40,000 Canadian troops were tendered to and accepted by the British Government in the early days of the war; also 20,000 men from Australia and 8,000 from New Zealand, a total of 68,000 men.
By the request of the Dominions in each case, the cost of the equipment, maintenance and pay of the forces was defrayed by the three governments—in itself a generous and patriotic additional offer. The Dominions at the same time declared their readiness to send additional contingents if required, as well as drafts from time to time to maintain their field forces at full strength.
TROOPSHIPS SAIL UNDER CONVOY
The first intimation that Canadian troops had been dispatched to the front from Valcartier Camp came on September 24, when the Hon. T. W. Crothers, the Dominion minister of labor, announced in a speech before the Canadian Trades and Labor Congress, assembled in convention at St. John, New Brunswick, that 32,000 Canadian volunteers “left for the front a day or two ago.” It was understood that the troops had sailed from Quebec in twenty armed transports, convoyed by a fleet of British warships, which had been collected at convenient ports for the purpose.