Chantal Sneath, Special collaboration Lennoxville, Sherbrooke
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@ ubishops.ca 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.