Different Kind of War

A Different Kind of War: The Canadian Army Medical Corps' Fight Against Death, the Enemy, and the Administration in World War One  by Susan Spencer

On Saturday 13th March 2021, at 1500 (EST) The History Symposium will be joined by Susan Spencer.  A lifelong student of history, Susan's childhood passion for historical fashion inevitably led her to work at Fort Edmonton, where she cut her teeth in the business of making history interesting to the general public. She later moved east and founded historical supply company Spencer's Mercantile, through which she participated in some 25 historical events each year and further, had the opportunity to work directly with historical sites and organizations covering a variety of time periods. In 2005, inspired by stories she'd heard all her life of her grandfather's WW1 exploits with the First Canadian Tunnelling Company, she began a research project aimed at recreating a unit of the WW1 Canadian Army Medical Corps, and in 2010, re-enacting unit Casualty Clearing Station #3 had its debut outing. Since then, she has focused her research on the medical services of the Great War and she is currently working on two books on the subject.

August 1914 did not find the Canadian Army Medical Corps unprepared, but rather understaffed, undersupplied, and without effective logistical support. Despite this, the CAMC quickly pulled itself together and in February 1915 was the first Canadian unit to land in France. Within a year, despite ongoing struggles with the administrations of both the British and Canadian Armies and interference from various levels of government at home, the CAMC established itself as a trustworthy, respected, and dependable operation. Spread across a vast swath of geography and encompassing a multitude of diverse functions from medical care to safe water supply and rehabilitative medicine to literally retrieving the wounded from the battlefield under fire, the CAMC became a nimble, inventive, and brutally effective force in its own right. This presentation will only scratch the surface of the fascinating story of those who fought a very different kind of war.


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This talk is brought to you on a no charge basis by the History Symposium, a project by the not-for-profit/licenced charity Heritage Days.  

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