The Canadians, as part of the Commonwealth, extensively used the Vickers in the same manner as the British.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the Canadians used the Colt ‘Potato-Digger’ Automatic Gun as the principal Machine Gun. However, with the production rates of the Vickers increasing, the Canadian Expeditionary Force became further equipped with the Vickers Mk. I Gun.
In November 1914, 7,000 rounds per machine gun were authorised for training Colonial contingents (initially the Canadian, Newfoundland and Ceylon contingents, with others to be notified later) (Army Council Instruction 135 of 12th November 1914).
The Canadians were pioneers of many techniques with the Vickers, in particular the use of the overhead and barrage fire with brigaded guns. During the First World War, the Canadians had their Vickers MGs brigaded into Machine Gun Companies and formed the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.
As of 1 November, 1919, the Canadian Machine Gun Corps was established as part of Canada’s Permanent Force; however, this was short-lived and was subsequently disbanded in 1924. It did survive as part of the Active Militia of Canada until the re-organisations of 1936.
Second World War
In 1936, in line with the Commonwealth doctrine of the time, the Canadians disbanded the C.M.G.C. and converted Infantry and Cavalry Regiments into Divisional Machine Gun Battalions. Whereas British Regiments had multiple battalions, the Canadians had single-Battalion Regiments and therefore had more converted than their British counterparts. They also had a number of Home Service Battalions armed with the Vickers.
Active Service Units, machine gun units:
- Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa attached to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
- New Brunswick Rangers attached to the 4th Canadian Armoured Division
- Princess Louise’s Fusiliers attached to the 5th Canadian Armoured Division
- Saskatoon Light Infantry attached to the 1st Canadian Infantry Division
- Toronto Scottish Regiment attached to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
Home service units, machine gun units:
- Canadian Fusiliers attached to the 6th Canadian Infantry Division in 1942
- St. John’s Fusiliers attached to the 6th Canadian Infantry Division from 1943
Active service units, infantry battalions:
- Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
- Canadian Scottish Regiment
- Regiment de la Chaudiere
- Irish Regiment of Canada
- North Nova Scotia Highlanders
- Perth Regiment
- Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment
- Royal Montreal Regiment
- Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
- Westminster Regiment
Home service units, militia battalions:
- Regiment De Chateauguay
- Edmonton Regiment
- Kent Regiment
- King’s Own Rifles of Canada
- Prince Rupert Regiment
- Prince of Wales’ Rangers
- Regiment de Quebec
- Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment)
- Sherbrooke Regiment
- Sault Ste. Marie & Sudbury Regiment
- Winnipeg Grenadiers
- Winnipeg Light Infantry
- Westminster Dragoons, attd. Canadian 5th Armd. Div.
- Lake Superior, attd. Canadian 4th. Armd. Div.
- Bevis, 2005
- Canadiansoldiers.com (2018) 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division. Available at: http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/organization/fieldforces/casf/4thdivision.htm (Accessed 29 December 2018).
- Goldsmith, 1994
- Harclerode, 2000
- The National Archives, WO 293/1, Army Council Instructions 1914.