Canada’s presence in World War I

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians served in World War I, from 1914 to 1918.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians served in World War I, from 1914 to 1918.

The war was not Canada’s first military action, as roughly 7,000 had served in the South Africa War from 1899 to 1902.

During World War I, 628,736 Canadians served and 66,573 died in action. Another 138,116 Canadians were wounded.

To put these figures into perspective, Canada’s population in 1914 was 7,879,000.

During the war, 2,818 Canadians were taken prisoner of war and 175 merchant seamen died as a result of enemy action.

The number of Canadians who died or were injured during World War I was considerably higher than during World War II, from 1939 to 1945, even though the country’s military presence was larger.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, in late June, 1914, led to the start of the war, but earlier diplomatic clashes in the Balkans and changes in the balance of power in Europe have also been seen as factors in the start of the war.