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Canadian Forestry Corps

The Canadian Forestry Corps was formed following an appeal from Britian on February 14, 1916 for troops to undertake lumbering operations overseas. The Canadian Forestry Corps assumed various tasks, including clearing land for airfields, preparing railway ties and lumber for use in trenches, building barracks and hospitals as well as farming. During the critial days of 1918, the Corps also supplied 1,280 men to the infantry.

The Canadian Forestry Corps operated in both Britain and France. In France, The Corps often worked under fire from both artillery and the air. In some cases, they had to abandon their mills when the German army overran their operations during an advance. France awarded the Croix de Guerre to members who had experienced heavy artillery fire.

In Britian there were more than seventy forestry operations that were fully funded by the Canadian Government. The Canadian Forestry Corps produced 70% of allied lumber used during World War I. The Base Depot for the Canadian Forestry Corps was located on Smith's Field in the Windsor Great Park. Windsor Great Park is the estate that surrounds Windsor Castle, and is famous for it's 8,000 acres of forest which includes plantations of ancient oaks firest planted by Queen Elizabeth I. The Canadians were amazed at the size of the trees found on the estate. One tree cut down by the Canadians was the William the Conqueror Oak that stood beneath the King's window. The tree had a circumference of over 38 feet and, since no saw was long enough to cut through the tree, the Canadians cut a hole into the hollow trunk which enabled a man to pull the saw from inside.