August 1914 marks Canada’s entry into WWI. The Fifth Field Company Canadian Engineers, pictured above, spent the years preceding the war becoming a well-qualified military unit. By 1914, total enrolment in the Fifth was 160 men. The activities of the Company included not only rifle and infantry drill, but also signals training and bridge and fortification construction. This skill set made them perfect candidates to fill one of the first needs created by the war, a camp for Canadian soldiers who were to be sent overseas; the Fifth Field Company was given the task of turning previously unimproved ground at Valcartier, Quebec, into a camp capable of mobilizing 30,000 men. The majority of the men left Kingston for Valcartier on August 18, 1914.
When other Companies of Engineers arrived at Valcartier, the Fifth was split into overseas and home sections. Fifty members of the Queen’s Company signed up to be sent abroad with the First Canadian Contingent for service with No. 2 Company of Engineers. The home service of the Fifth Field Company remained at Valcartier until October 1914, when members returned to Kingston and began recruiting for the second overseas contingent.