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Americans at War in Foreign Forces

                                          1914 -1945


The American Legion /Canadian Expeditionary Forces


From Americans at War in Foreign Forces:
​When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, the job of recruiting soldiers for the British ranks fell to Lord Herbert Horatio Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War. Contrary to the wisdom of most of his peers, Kitchener predicted a long and difficult war. His
recruitment of a volunteer force for the war was aggressive and successful. By its very nature, it swept non-British men into the war, including American men already in Europe and some who came from the U.S. to join up. The recruitment of Americans was not an afterthought. In September 1914, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill sent a memo to Kitchener and Prime Minister Sir Edward Gray. Churchill’s premise was that “Nothing will bring American sympathy along with us so much as American blood shed in the field.” He recommended that the word should go forth that Americans who went to Canada or England to enlist would be given every support, including transportation, and would be formed into units in which they could fight together. “The problem is how to set up the rallying flag in Canada and so indicate where those who wish to help us can go to join.” 

Eventually, the recruitment of Americans into the Canadian Expeditionary Forces was conceptualized as the creation of an American Legion in Canada. It was not related to a preceding American Legion that had been created for war preparedness in the United States, nor to the current American Legion that was created in 1919. The Legion was primarily constituted of the CEF 97th Battalion based in Toronto, and included, by some interpretations, the 211th Battalion, based in Alberta, the 212th Battalion, based in Manitoba, the 213th Battalion, based in Toronto, and the 237th Battalion, based in New Brunswick. Not all members of these battalions were Americans, and many more Americans were scattered throughout other CEF battalions. 


These are the rosters of the 97th, 211th and 213th Battalions. The 212th and 237th Battalions are not included.