The Empire on the Western Front
378 pages, 6 x 9
11 b&w photos, 11 maps
Release Date:01 Apr 2019

The Empire on the Western Front

The British 62nd and Canadian 4th Divisions in Battle

UBC Press

When Great Britain and its dominions declared war on Germany in August 1914, they were faced with the formidable challenge of transforming masses of untrained citizen-soldiers at home and abroad into competent, coordinated fighting divisions.

The Empire on the Western Front focuses on the development of two units, Britain’s 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division and the 4th Canadian Division, to show how the British Expeditionary Force rose to this challenge. Geoffrey Jackson follows their development, from their respective geneses through to the end of the war, and examines all aspects of the division-building process – from leadership and training to discipline and morale. What influence did the senior leadership and the fighting doctrine that shaped training have on the divisions’ performance in France? How did internal operations and the divisions’ role within the larger corps and armies influence their effectiveness in battle? Did the division-building process differ in Britain and the dominions?

In answering these questions, The Empire on the Western Front uses a comparative framework in its examination of army formation and operations at the divisional level. Ultimately, this book calls into question existing accounts that emphasize the differences between the imperial and dominion armies.

This book will appeal to those interested in the development and operations of the dominion armies and the British Expeditionary Force during the Great War.

Geoffrey Jackson holds a PhD from the University of Calgary and teaches courses in military and Canadian history and strategic studies at Mount Royal University. He has published numerous articles and essays on the First World War.
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