Jean Martin


Francophone enlistment during the First World War has been estimated in the past between 35,000 and 50,000, including the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the merchant marine. Information on the language spoken was not recorded at enlistment and those estimates were based on very cautious guesses only. We had suggested in a recent paper (Canadian Historical Review, vol. 96, no. 3) that this participation had been significantly higher, in part due to the contribution of Francophones from outside the province of Quebec. Information have now been extracted from enlistment sheets and one new B database, comprised of 10 percent of all enlistment papers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), allows to research and analyse personal data from a fairly large corpus of soldiers. This paper offers the first evidence that the actual number of Francophones who joined the CEF, either as volunteers or under the Military Service Act (MSA), most likely exceeded 70,000.