Chan­tal Sneath, Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Len­noxville, Sher­brooke

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

The East­ern Town­ships Re­source Cen­tre in­vites you to at­tend the 16th An­nual Robin Burns Lec­ture on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 5, 2014, at 7:00 pm, in the Cleghorn Common Room (McGreer) on the Bishop’s Univer­sity cam­pus. On the cen­te­nary of the First World War, the Cen­tre has in­vited au­thor and his­to­rian Michel Li­tal­ien from the Cana­dian Forces Mu­se­ums and His­tor­i­cal Col­lec­tions of the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense.

When Canada en­tered the war in Au­gust 1914, the East­ern Town­ships was al­ready well aware of mil­i­tary and de­fense is­sues. Be­cause of its par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion, the re­gion had been his­tor­i­cally com­pelled to mil­i­ta­rize as it had to be ready at all times to re­pel a most threat­en­ing neigh­bour who had tried to push its way in a few times. Around 1880, few were the towns and vil­lages that did not have at least one mil­i­tary unit or sub-unit. There­fore, on the eve of WWI, Sher­brooke and its re­gion al­ready had two cavalry brigades, one in­fantry bri­gade, ar­tillery units and aux­il­iary units.

In Au­gust 1914, although Min­is­ter of Mili­tia and De­fense Sam Hughes chose not to mo­bi­lize the non­per­ma­nent ac­tive Mili­tia units for ac­tive duty, sev­eral of their mem­bers quickly vol­un­teered to fight on the Euro­pean front. With its two lin­guis­tic com­mu­ni­ties, the re­gion be­came a very in­ter­est­ing re­cruit­ment ter­ri­tory for the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force and sev­eral Mon­treal bat­tal­ions even set up re­cruit­ing cen­tres di­rectly in the re­gion.

Many Town­ships cit­i­zens dis­tin­guished them­selves through­out the con­flict. For ex­am­ple, rather than merely en­cour­age its cit­i­zens to en­roll, Lieu­tenant-colonel George Harold Baker, a fed­eral MP, acted on his be­liefs and vol­un­teered in the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force. He would also be the only politi­cian to fall in the line of duty. As for the 5th Cana­dian Mounted Ri­fles, a unit raised in the re­gion, two of its mem­bers re­ceived the Vic­to­ria Cross, the high­est mil­i­tary val­our dec­o­ra­tion of the Bri­tish Em­pire. The in­stances of brav­ery from East­ern Town­ships’ cit­i­zens on the Euro­pean front were nu­mer­ous...

The event is free and all are wel­come. Re­fresh­ments will be served after the lec­ture. Please RSVP to etrc@ ubish­ or at 819822-9600, ext. 2647. Free Park­ing About our guest speaker Michel Li­tal­ien was a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Forces for more than 25 years. He is now work­ing with the Direc­torate of His­tory and Her­itage at the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fence in Ot­tawa as man­ager of the Cana­dian Forces Mu­se­ums and His­tor­i­cal Col­lec­tions. His pas­sion for his­tory has earned him a Masters’ in His­tory at the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa and he is newly en­rolled in a PhD pro­gram at the Univer­sité de Mont­pel­lier in France. Michel Li­tal­ien has au­thored 10 books on the mil­i­tary his­tory of Que­bec, no­tably Les Fusiliers de Sher­brooke, 1910-2010: L’épopée d’une in­sti­tu­tion des Can­tons-del’Est which also ad­dresses the his­tory of the re­gion.

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