The Canadian Forestry Corps

Railing logs in Scotland
Its Inception, Development and Achievements
Year Published 
Rev C.W. Bird & Lt. J. B. Davies

This book tells the story of the Canadian Forestry Corps during the First World War.  There are a number of illustrations of logging operations in Scotland and in the Aquitaine region of France.  

The Forestry Corps was established at the request of the British government to provide huge quantities of wood for use on the Western Front. Duckboards, shoring timbers, crates—anything that needed wood had to be provided.  Initially, trees from Canada's abundant forests would be brought overseas. However, shipping proved prohibitive and it was decided to bring Canadian foresters to Europe to cut trees in the UK and France. Such was the need that for loggers that several regiments originally slated for the front lines were converted to the Canadian Forestry Corps instead. The CFC also built aerodromes in France for the ever-burgeoning Royal Flying Corps.

Altogether, some 35,000 served in the Canadian Forestry Corps. There were dozens of companies, each composed of several hundred workers. Towards the final two years of the war, more and more Canadian soldiers volunteered for the Forestry Corps, as it was viewed by many as a way to serve the country without facing the German Army in direct conflict. Many members were also underaged volunteers who had lied about their age to be accepted for overseas service. The Corps was not without casualties. Accidents like those which would occur in a forestry camp in Canada were not uncommon: power saws, machinery and transport all took lives. During the last 100 days of the War, the Forestry Corps was repeatedly combed for volunteers for transfer into the infantry or engineers.  Many stepped up.

This book was digitised by the Internet Archive in 2008 with funding from Microsoft Corporation and in available in many formats for download: 

The Canadian Forestry Corps; its Inception, Development and Achievements, by Rev. C. W. Bird and J. B. Davies. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1919

About the Author 

C. W. Bird {Timber Supply Department)
Lieutenant J. B. Davies {Canadian Forestry Corps)