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Military Annals of Victoria County, Ontario Canada

The essence of the militia system is as old as Anglo-Saxon history. The recognition that citizenship involves the responsibility of military service (as well as the establishment of laws for the enforcement of such service), is part and parcel of our racial inheritance. On careful retrospection, we find that in Saxon England all freemen between the ages of 15 and 60. who were capable of bearing arms were bound, under heavy penalties, to go forth at the king's summons to the "fyrd" or general levy. The levy of each shire took the field under its "alderman" or military chief. Its service held a double aspect. As a civil force the levy was known as the "posse comitatus,' which might be called on to arrest criminals and suppress riots. As a military force it was called out to defend the realm in civil war or against foreign foes. Read more...

Military Annals of Victoria

Early Militia Organization in Canada

Local Militia in 1828 and 1839

4th Regiment of Durham Militia, Personnel of the Regimental Staff

5th Regiment of Durham Militia, Personnel of the Regimental Staff

Changes in 1847 and in 1851

Effects of the Trent Affair, 1861

The Fenian Raids Stimulate Enlistment

History of the 45th Regiment

The Saskatchewan Rebellion, 1885

Personnel of the 45th detachment from Lindsay and the surrounding district

Lindsay Soldiers Lead Batoche Charge

The Victoria County Rifle Association

Events Leading up to Boer War

The Sending of Canadian Troops

The Progress of the War

Outbreak of World War in 1914

Victoria County Enlistments

Victoria County Soldier Dead

List of Victoria County War Dead

A Brief Summary, Beginning from 1914

Canadian Share in War in 1915

Canadian Share in War in 1916

The War's Progress in 1917

The Closing Campaigns in 1918


This general levy was always difficult to raise and hard to keep together, so that the Saxon kings depended much more, especially for foreign wars, on a well armed, semi-permanent force of military dependents or thanes, to whom they granted land on the condition of military service. The Norman Conquest substituted for the thanehood a similar but much more rigidly feudal aristocracy of Norman war lords. Norman feudalism petered out in the course of six centuries, and in 1660 Charles the Second abolished the obsolescent feudal levy and substituted a small standing army on the basis which still serves today.

The liability for all able bodied men to serve in the general levy, however, still continued. The summons to serve would be issued in each case by the sheriff of the county in the form of a royal writ or "commission of array." By the end of the sixteenth century the practice had become established of selecting from peace time musters a convenient number of men for annual drill and intensive training. The command and control of these Trained Bands became one of the principal subjects of dispute between Charles the First and the Long Parliament, and in the protracted controversy the word "militia" first came into general use. By a Militia Act of 1662 the training of small county bands was discontinued and a system set up reestablishing the direct responsibility of all property owners to give service or substitutes of men, horses, and money in proportion to the value of their property. Amendments have been made to this Act from time to time, but its provisions summarize fairly well the ancient system, which, through various statutory phases, has persisted even to our own day.

Early Militia Organization in Canada

When Canada passed under British control in 1763, her new rulers soon imposed the traditional militia system of their race. In the form of levy which was ultimately accepted for many years, all the able bodied men of the country between 18 and 60 were organized into battalions of "sedentary" militia. Every member of these battalions was supposed to provide himself with arms and ammunition. Officers were appointed by the Crown to command and discipline the respective units. Parades were held for two days in each year for drill and the inspection of arms.

The Militia were liable to service in time of war, rebellion, riot, or invasion, and could be kept mobilized for not more than six months. Quakers, Mennonites, and Tunkers paid an annual exemption fee of twenty shillings in peace time and ten pounds in war time.

No pay was issued to militiamen. On the contrary, militia officers were actually mulcted certain fees on receiving their commissions. The scale of such deductions was as follows: Lieut-Colonels, 30 shillings; Majors and Captains, 20 shillings; Lieutenants, Paymasters, and Surgeons, 15 shillings; Ensigns and Quartermasters, 10 shillings. These fees were collected by the Officer Commanding and remitted to the public treasury.

Victoria County, Ontario Canada Centennial History, Watson Kirkconnell M.A., 1921

Victoria County


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