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Supplying the War Effort

The Great War was total war and in a total war the Empire’s overseas colonies were one of the greatest assets. The combined population of the Empires of Britain, France and Russia was some 750,000,000 while the central powers could call on a mere 120,000,000. The concept of the Home Front is one that grew out of the Great War. Canada’s 600,000 men in arms were important, but the country's capacity to produce food and other resources, such as horses, was crucial over the long run. Horses were everywhere in this war. The staggering volume of material needed to wage a modern war moved from railhead to the front with horses. Their casualties rivaled that of soldiers. The need to supply and resupply was ever present. The production of food needed to keep millions of men in the field fell largely to the overseas colonies. The University of Saskatchewan played a significant role in the supply side of the struggle. William J. Rutherford, Dean of the College of Agriculture, was a member of the Provincial Advisory Committee for the Food Controller’s Office. The Office dealt primarily with food production and regulations during the war years. He also served as Remount Commissioner for Saskatchewan supervising the purchase of horses for the military. In late 1916, President Murray joined the newly created Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of Canada which funded perhaps the war’s most lasting legacy on campus, wheat rust research. This work came in response to the catastrophic 1916 rust outbreak in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The material in this section consists of two files from the College of Agriculture Records, RG 2026, (6) Office of the Food Controller, 1917-1918 and (11) Remount Commissioner, 1914. Original order has been maintained.