The Canadian Forestry Corps was formed following an appeal from Britain 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 critical 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.( Luckily they did not come under fire in England )
In Britain 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 first 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.
This video is worth watching, the type used at the time .
On the Slindon estate there was a large base, the numbers of personal is not known at the present time, but from the photos that have come to light, there would have been a large number of men based there.
There are little to see on the ground now, but if you visit the area one can imagine the site there, the area can still be located using maps of the period.
The trees there cut down would have been used for pit props, and trench reinforcements on the front lines, as well as for building materials.
Through his agents, Messrs Power & Company . F .J.Wootton Isaacson(
|Birth:||Jan. 3, 1858, England|
|Death:||Feb. 3, 1948, England|
Frederick F J Wootton-Isaacson of the inner temple and Slindon House Lord of the manors of Slindon and Kirdford son of Frederick Wootton-Isaacson MP JP DL.
St Mary Churchyard
West Sussex, England
) sold timber on his estate( now owned by the National trust ) to TSD.The contact is dated 26th September 1917, but the 114th Company of the CFC ( Canadian Forestry Company ) are recorded as being there from 16th August, having completed a contact in Esher.
The timber was standing in Eartham and North Woods and also in the adjacent, but rather smaller, St.Marys Wood.
The plantations stretched from just north of Slindon to Eartham and to the south and west of Gumber Farm.
North Wood was intersected by the old Roman Road as Stane Street.
The central part of Eartham Wood had been previously been sold to Messrs Louis Blackman Ltd., but this was purchased by the TSD about 3 weeks later for £4735.2s.7d.
A 3ft gauge tramway some 3000 yards long which is believed to have been worked by two steam locomotives, was laid by the CFC, all this plant was up for sale on 29th May 1920, no other details at present can be found.
It was likerly that the two locomotives were 0-04-OST Bagnall 2059 and another loco carrying a J.F.W.Wake plate.