Colonel Challenges Long Held Beliefs About Conscripts in WWI

For immediate release:

November 9, 2017 - On the 100th anniversary of conscription becoming law in Canada, Colonel (ret) Patrick Dennis is releasing his book, Reluctant Warriors: Canadian Conscripts and the Great War.

During the "Hundred Days" campaign of the First World War, over 30 percent of conscripts who served in the Canadian Corps became casualties. Yet, they were often considered slackers for not having volunteered. Challenging long-standing myths, this book examines whether conscripts made any significant difference to the success of the Canadian Corps in 1918. Reluctant Warriors provides fresh evidence that conscripts were good soldiers who made a crucial contribution to the war effort.

"Canadian conscripts made a significant contribution to the success of the Canadian Corps in the Hundred Days," says Dennis. "My research also reveals that conscripts constituted a greater part of the trench strength of the 48 infantry battalions than is traditionally thought."

"With his fine research and careful analysis, Dennis has corrected the story that I and others told for so long," says J.L. Granatstein, Canadian Military Historian. "Some conscripts may have been shirkers – so were some volunteers – but most did their duty in a succession of great and terrible battles that broke the German Army."

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Reluctant Warriors Press Release