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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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CAVALCADE  -  1914-15-16


IT was July - and Canada in July of 1914 was a pleasant land, sweltering in the summer sun but bordered by two mighty oceans, dotted with big and little lakes to which a great part of the vacationing public had repaired for the summer, had spent its two weeks or had annual holidays in prospect.

True, there had been sporadic labor troubles starting in 1913; there was somewhat of a financial stringency being faced. It was being said that perhaps this sprawling young giant of a nation had been too optimistic in its building of vast networks of railways, in its rapid development of huge areas into which some of Europe's mightiest nations Could be dropped and be lost to sight. There was some feeling of unrest - a sense of vast change portending in the world.

But Canada was on the whole a happy land, offering every contrast in physical features that the mind could envision - and possessing a sense of freedom of movement for which there was every scope.

On June 28th in some little city called Sarajevo, in some little-known province of Bosnia, the Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Dual Monarchy, had been assassinated. The papers were full of the incident and its potentially grave implications.

Young Canada had no thought of implications in Europe. It was at that moment too engrossed with the growing dance craze. It had just mastered the tango, which at least had grace, and then all of a sudden had turned to the Turkey Trot, the Bunny Hug and other forms of the dance which sent a shudder through Victorian matrons.

Young Canada had just more sensibly restricted its flaring peg-top trousers and loosened the mirth-provoking restrictions of the hobble skirt.

True, a somewhat older Canada was thinking of more serious things.

A few years before Canada had refused to vote money for a navy to protect her own shores or a contribution to the British navy. In the controversy over naval matters a strong anti-Imperial trend of thinking was exposed. Signs had been often seen on factories, "No Englishman Need Apply."

A small group of the Conservative Government then in power, ...

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