Canada's Civilian army and its Zombies

Discussion in 'Canada' started by gpo son, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Over the years almost every Canadian veteran who served overseas in ww2 has mentioned proudly and sometimes vehmently (in case the meaning was not understood) they were Volunteers. In other allied Nations there may or may not have been a distinction between a volunteer and a conscript, but these men and women were all Volunteers
    Few in this country know that there was another group of conscripted soldiers know derisively (at the time) as Zombies. These men were conscripted under the National Resources Mobilization act (NRMA)1941 crafted by Mackenzie King then Prime Minister.
    The act stated in essence that no conscript would be required to serve overseas. In 1942 he gained approval for overseas deployment in a national Plebiscite in which 80% of Anglo-Canadians voted in favour and 90% of Franco-Canadians voted against. This showed the deep rift between the two 'solitudes'. In order to save his government King refused to act on this favourable out come. In late 1944 when it became clear that there were no where near enough volunteers to fill the rifle companies of the 33 infantry battalions in northwest Europe.
    At the time it was common knowledge that there was almost 80000 trained infantry men in Canada. And it was known that men were being scounged, and remustered to fill the ranks without proper training or recovery (in case of wounds or exhaustion)
    Under pressure from the families of those depleted troops and public outcry from high profile officers like then Major Conn Smyth, King finally relented in November 1944 and agreed to send 12000 conscripts to Europe. At the time there was mass mutiny and riots which only abated when amnesty was granted to the ring leaders. When the replacements left for Holland on February 23rd 1945 they arrived to replenish the Infantry battalions of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Corps in time for the crossing of the Rhine and its ensuing actions in the Rhineland and Northern Holland in March, April and May. About 2500 saw action in the last months of the war and 69 were killed.
    The make up of the Zombie corps was a mixed bag of pacifists, dissenters, men who simply refused to fight, as well as socialists/communists who believed that they would consent to conscription if there was total conscription including wealth many saw that industrialists were getting rich and the rank and file were getting killed.
    The most notable Canadian Zombie was future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

    An over view of the situation
    http://warwriting.blogspot.ca/2005/08/zombies.html

    http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/wwii/conscription.htm
    dramatization of the events
    http://www3.nfb.ca/ww2/home-front/recruitment-and-conscription.htm?subtype=extraits&view=693971

    A socialist take on the NRMA
    http://www.socialisthistory.ca/Docs/History/Left-in-WW2.htm#Conscription
     
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  2. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Matt,
    Right on about P.E.T. !!
     
    Stjohnrv likes this.
  3. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    and now some factions are going nuts about PET's son to lead them .....aarrggghhh

    Cheers
     
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  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Tom,
    All from those with an IQ less than 90. The masses think the son of PET will lead them to the pond where they will gaze at their reflection without knowing the hand of the government will be in their pocket in no time, driving deficits to levels not seen since the elder Trudeau was in power.
    Ciao from Roma.
     
    Stjohnrv likes this.
  6. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Hey this is a Zombies thread not a the 'rigid right' slagging the Trudeau's thread. That said I'm all for anyone who is a consenus builder rather than an Autocratic the likes of which we have been saddled with the last few Governments. FYI only the Federal Liberals have ever governed with budget surplus. Let us not forget the 43 billion that 'The big chin guy' left behind; or, the 53 billion plus the 'I lived in mummies basement until Lorene found me' guy ran up 3 minutes after he said there wound be no deficit.
    Just the voice of reason from a centrist.
    Now Back to Zombies. nice find Wills as usual you find the obscure.
    Cant wait to see your pics Randy.
    Hope you are enjoying the spring Tom it has been a long time coming Here
    Matt
     
  7. Pylon1357

    Pylon1357 Junior Member

    GPO's Son, your above comment was no better.

    Honestly I can not add to this discussion as I do not know very much about the whole Conscription debate. I would prefer to read more upon the subject before I comment too much.

    All I can recall form history class about this topic was a much heated debate by the students and staff about French vs English Language. Not much was gained by this and we (as a class) were given a pass on the subject. Further to that, future classes did not touch on the Conscription debate.
     
  8. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Pylon
    You are absolutely correct. I to should stay on the course. Until recently I took a dim view of Canada's Conscripts. There isnt much reasearch on the troubles certainly it all goes back to the NRMA and the lack of political will to go totally to war in a total war. These men refused to volunteer deployment for many varied reasons. I am, in come cases quite sympathetic to the rational. especailly when talking about profits made by Canadian industry and subsidiarys of American and British industry in Canada, while producing the goods of war. The socailist take was not all that unreasonable really "if conscription then total Conscription"... manpower and wealth. Certainly all this was of cold comfort to the cook, who had just been remustered into a rifle Battalion with no real infantry training; Or to the men of the 1st LAA regiment who became the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish (part of the 12th CIB) in the summer of 44 because the 80 odd thousand trained infantry men stationed in Canada could not be deployed.
    recently I was told I was "full of it" when I told a friend that Canada had conscription and it was a very big deal at the time.
    Matt
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  9. Pylon1357

    Pylon1357 Junior Member

    I do agree it should have been total Conscription not selective.I am of the mindset that all who were conscripted should have been sent overseas to bolster the ranks when needed.

    The whole scheme to me, given what little know, seems to be very silly right from the outset. Sort of done with half a heart and not well thought out. I am sure we still feel the effects of this, today.
     
  10. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Plyon Have you read the attached links to my first post and the further info linked by Wills "the finder of the obscure" Sorry Wills you always come up with some great hard to get at info. These are good start on the whole NRMA situation.
    Matt
     
  11. Pylon1357

    Pylon1357 Junior Member

    I am working on them.

    I am working on them.
     
  12. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Matt,
    Consensus is only required when you have a minority! Every opposition party regards a majority as being autocratic. :)
     
  13. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    http://www.alternativeservice.ca/home/index.htm


    Who is to judge?


    'Finder of the obscure' my latter jobs in the forces had the need to know tag on everything. Having an 'hello what is around this corner' outlook got me a wrap on the knuckles more than once!
     
  14. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

  15. klambie

    klambie Senior Member

    gpo son likes this.
  16. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    My quick peruse gave me that sense, I have long known that the number of French Canadians was not as highly represented as it was during the war, but having the real stats, proves that they were scapegoated...for political reasons
     
  17. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Wills has not been around for some time. Anyone know his status? He was a tremendous source of information.
     
  18. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Matt,
    Junior Trudeau is the same as the senior Trudeau. Spend....tax.....
    Sorry!
    Couldn't resist.
     
  19. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Has anyone ever analyzed the number of HD (Home Defence/NMRA) troops that voluntarily went active in Canada and joined the army overseas? Every war diary I have read contains numerous passages regarding this happening. I thinks this speaks highly of the HD conscript who was willing to go active. Although in some cases there seemed to some form of subtle coercion.
     
  20. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Approx.12,000 "Zombies" were eventually sent overseas.but they didn't arrive until Feb. 23rd, 1945, only 2,500 saw action and 69 were killed. There was certainly coercion but much of that was far less than subtle. Poor living conditions and distinctive "zombie" military dress codes were only a few tactics employed to secure active overseas volunteers. Right or wrong, the pressure was enormous.
     

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