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First to France

The first Canadian lumberjacks were cutting wood near Rouen France at the beginning of October 1915.

In September 1915, the Director of Works requested that a detachment of luimbermen be formed from 101 Squadron, Canadian Remount Depot in France. Lt. Harold Hellmuth, a 33 year old civil engineer from Toronto, was placed in command and on 28 September 1915 left for Rouen with 35 skilled workers from 101 Squadron. The first trees were felled 3 October 1915. Two other detachments from the Remount Depot were subsequently added.

In April 1916, the Remount Depot was disbanded leaving the three detachments with no parent unit. To correct the problem, the three detachments were amalgamated in September 1916 as No 1 Canadian Forest Company.

To complicate the issue, there were also several ad hoc forestry companies drawn from infantry battalions, such as one from the 1st Canadian Division under the command of Capt FC Curry of the 2nd Battalion. These companies worked for their parent divisions and not the Director of Works.

Thanks to Richard Holt.