Cutting down the Kaiser: How Canadian lumberjacks helped win the First World War

Sherlock Inghram was two months shy of his 18th birthday when he pledged his service to King George V and enlist as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. The 17-year-old from Rock Creek signed up to join with his father, Barton (Bart), in the Canadian Forestry Corps on May 11, 1917. On his own registration documents signed the same day, Bart indicated that his son was already 18.

So, soon after completing his medical evaluation — five-foot nine-inches, 145 pounds, fair skin, blue eyes like his father and “distinguishing marks or scars: nil” — the underage private boarded a boat in Halifax and stepped onto a Liverpool dock on July 4, one day after he turned 18.

The Inghrams were two among thousands of much-needed Canadians who served in the forests of Europe in the First World War. By 1916, Great Britain was quickly burning through its timber supply and sourcing 70 per cent of its lumber from Canada was becoming increasingly unsustainable. Cargo space was nonexistent onboard transport vessels that were busy dodging German U-boat attacks on the trans-Atlantic journey.

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