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It Can't Last Forever - The 19th Battalion and the Canadian Corps in the First World War

It Can't Last Forever

The 19th Battalion and the Canadian Corps in the First World War

By David Campbell
Subjects Canadian History, Military History
Series Canadian Unit, Formation, and Command Histories Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781771122368, 512 pages, October 2017

Table of contents

1. Recruiting and Mobilization: 1914–15
2. Training in England: May-September 1915
3. Life in the Trenches: September–December 1915
4. Waging Trench Warfare: September 1915–March 1916
5. Trial by Fire: Saint-Eloi, April 1916
6. “Trying the Nerves”: May–July 1916
7. A Daylight Coup and Departing Belgium: 29 July–August 1916
8. Preparing for Battle: 28 August–15 September 1916
9. Fighting at the Somme: 15 September–3 October 1916
10. A “Most Uneventful Tour”: October 1916–March 1917
11. “Leaving Nothing to Chance”: 25 March–8 April 1917
12. An “Easter Gift” and a Bloody Setback: 9 April–3 June 1917
13. “The Worst Ever”: June–August 1907
14. “A Dirty, Dirty Country”: September–November 1917
15. Days of Uncertainty: November 1917–March 1918
16. “It Was Pretty Lively”: 21 March–June 1918
17. Prelude to Victory: July–7 August 1918
18. The Battle of Amiens and Its Aftermath: 8–18 August 1918
19. Arras: 19–31 August 1918
20. Cambrai and Iwuy: 1 September–13 October 1918
21. Long Road to Mons: 14 October–11 November 1918
22. To the Rhine and Back: 12 November 1918–19 January 1919
23. Going Home: 20 January–25 May 1919
A. Casualties, 19th Battalion, 1915–19
B. Discipline in France and Flanders


The 19th Battalion was an infantry unit that fought in many of the deadliest battles of the First World War. Hailing from Hamilton, Toronto, and other communities in southern Ontario and beyond, its members were ordinary men facing extraordinary challenges at the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Amiens, and other battlefields on Europe’s Western Front. Through his examination of official records and personal accounts, the author presents vivid descriptions and assessments of the rigours of training, the strains of trench warfare, the horrors of battle, and the camaraderie of life behind the front lines. From mobilization in 1914 to the return home in 1919, Campbell reveals the unique experiences of the battalion’s officers and men and situates their service within the broader context of the battalion’s parent formations—the 4th Infantry Brigade and the 2nd Division of the Canadian Corps. Readers will gain a fuller appreciation of the internal dynamics of an infantry battalion and how it functioned within the larger picture of Canadian operations.