However difficult drill might have been, they mastered it.
In 1915 Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia, reviewed troops in Toronto, and the film cameras were there. (1) This still from the National Film Board of Canada shows a some well co-ordinated legs and arms, though not every line of marchers in the two-minute film is quite as smart. (And the horses were sometimes quite unruly.)
Another observer captured Canadian soldiers drilling, also in 1915. These soldiers were training in Shorncliffe, England, and the description is part of “a pen picture of a spot which must be the subject of many thousands of Canadian mothers’ thoughts and prayers for months to come.” (2)
As we stroll along we pass little squads of our soldier boys, supervised by their officers, getting fit, ready for the severe strain and drain on their resources in France… Here are forty stalwarts, each somebody’s precious only son, perhaps – their eyes are clear, their hearts are light, ‘in the pink’ they seem to be – ‘forming fours’ and wheeling right and left in wonderful rhythm. (3)
(1) “Colonel Sam Hughes Reviews the Troops.” 1915. National Film Board of Canada. Images of a Forgotten War.Films of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Great War.
(2) “A Walk Around Shorncliffe.” The Canadian Field Comforts Commission. Field Comforts. October 1915. 7.
(3) “A Walk Around Shorncliffe.” 8.