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Teaching the First World War
Teaching the First World War

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1.5 1 Dominion Forces in the war

This section reflects on the numbers of dominion troops who participated on the side of the British Empire.

Activity 3 Dominion First World War Statistics

Timing: Allow around 10 minutes

The table below gives an overview of the contribution made to the British war effort by Dominion soldiers. Take a look at these figures, reflecting on the numbers involved, and comment on anything you find interesting.

Figure 12 Dominion First World War Statistics (Riseman and Winegard, 2015)


There is a lot of information in this table, and chances are you honed in on something different to me. I noted, for example, the high percentage of mobilised indigenous populations in New Zealand and South Africa, compared with the non-indigenous population.

As this section is about a Canadian First Nations soldier, I used the table to find out more about their involvement in the war effort. Mountain Horse was one of over 4,000 Canadian First Nations people who served ‘in the theatre’ for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Overall, about 3.9 per cent of male Canadian First Nations people served in the army (at least 4,000 out of a total population of 103,774). More than a quarter of them became casualties of the war (the table does not distinguish between wounded and dead). For First National Canadian soldiers, these figures are estimates, as they are for Aboriginal soldiers, and the same is true for the number of combatants.

In the next section, you will look in detail at the war contribution of Canadian First Nation soldiers with the example of Mike Mountain Horse.