Bushmen & Sawmill Hands Wanted for the Canadian Forestry Units Overseas
Unknown Artist, 1916

 

Trench Warfare sparks images of men living in holes in the ground, amidst acres of torn landscape and mud. For the most part, soldiers were seen as interchangeable. However, trenches had structure.  Wooden buttresses held them up and they had wooden floors laid with ‘duckboards’. Railways, requiring rail ties, supplied positions all along the line. Temporary structures behind the lines, like hospitals, depots, and command centers were all made from lumber.

By 1916 the British Army realized that it needed specialized assistance to harvest the lumber, prepare, and construct all of these structures. Within the British Empire, Canada was seen as the greatest source of men with this kind of experience. The result was the recruitment of the 224th Canadian Forestry Battalion, with its distinctive, forestry related insignia.