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Canada and the War
Lick them over there! Come on Canada! - AN19840513-005 [PCDN=3309-2011-0982-077]
Lick them over there! Come on Canada!

The Canadian Armed Forces

Canada's Second World War navy, army and air force were all built on the narrow base of very small permanent forces backed up by reserves, or part-timers, who trained when they could on evenings, weekends and during the summer. All three forces grew to more than one hundred times their prewar size during the war. All suffered severe growing pains. All had trouble finding strong and competent leaders, bringing in many officers from civilian life, but most of the senior leadership remained with those who had been in the military before war broke out.

The fact that Britain was Canada's "mother country" made it difficult for British authorities to accept that Canada had become an independent country. In the First World War the Canadian government and its soldiers in Britain had to scramble to get the British to accept the Canadian Expeditionary Force as truly Canadian. By the beginning of the Second World War, the British government and British Army officers realized that the Canadian Army did not belong to them, but they still expected to use parts of it for their own purposes when they wished. Senior officers of Britain's Royal Air Force preferred the simplicity of dealing with one empire-wide air force. They did not like putting Canadian fliers into separate Canadian squadrons, and opposed the grouping of those squadrons into Canadian formations. The navy faced both British and American pressures to use its ships without the permission of Canadian leaders.

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