100 Years Ago: Many Officers Returning to Canada, Special College Courses for Returned Soldiers

The Intelligencer January 19, 1918 (page 1)

“Many Officers Are Returning. London. There is seemingly considerable misapprehension regarding the return to Canada of surplus officers, and seeing there are many about to return to Canada the Canadian Associated Press takes the opportunity of giving a statement.

Only officers with overseas service are deemed eligible for employment in the British Isles. This does not apply to officers with special professional or technical qualifications, such as officers of the Railway, Forestry, Medical, Dental, Veterinary or Postal Corps. Any officers removed on the above account if above the rank of lieutenant are permitted to revert if under 35 and fit for general service and recommended as likely to prove efficient as subalterns in the field.

All officers not prepared to revert are being returned. Three months have been allowed departments to comb out such officers. Their places are being filled mostly by casualties from France.

The Canadian Associated Press further learns that some officers, notably married ones, who find it impossible to maintain families on lieutenants’ pay, are unwilling to revert. Their position is appreciated, but if they were allowed to go to France with existing rank they would go over the heads of men who have been there two years or more and much more qualified in the field. The military authorities in France in fact refuse to accept these senior officers.”

The Intelligencer January 19, 1918 (page 4)

“Special College Courses for Returned Soldiers. Canadian colleges and universities are doing much in the work of the rehabilitation of the Canadian soldiers who have returned from the front disabled for further military service and requiring further education to enable them to carry on. …  The advantage and economy in both money and time to be gained by using existing facilities is readily evident. The university plants for technical training are ideal, although the courses have to be adapted to shorter periods of time. …  Courses have been arranged to provide instruction in motor mechanics, machinist work, tool making, pattern making, electrical work and telegraphy.

In some instances the vocational officers have arranged for men to complete arts courses, and in others men who had started to be scientific farmers have been given courses in the Agricultural colleges to complete their training upon their return from the front. In some of the universities courses in mining, drilling and assaying have been offered the men. …

Some of the courses are only of two months duration, but where it is necessary the courses may in rare cases extend over twenty-four months. The men receive pay and allowances as well as tuition during this time.

Our own Albert College is particularly well equipped for the re-education of returned soldiers, and there is every indication that a number of the soldier boys will take advantage of the exceptional facilities available at this splendid seat of learning.”