Canada marks 100 years since taking up arms for the First World War

Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Garth Hampson of Blackburn Hamlet keeps a button belonging to his father,...

Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Garth Hampson of Blackburn Hamlet keeps a button belonging to his father, L/Cpl Sid Hampson, who was with the 10th Battalion, close to his chest. (Kelly Roche/QMI Agency)

Kelly Roche, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

OTTAWA -- A commemorative ceremony Monday morning at the National War Memorial marked Canada's entry 100 years ago into the First World War as hundreds looked on.

Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Garth Hampson of Blackburn Hamlet in east Ottawa was clutching a button belonging to his father, Lance-Cpl. Syd Hampson of Moose Jaw, Sask., from the 10th Battalion.

"Over the weekend I've listened to all the newscasts and how many people were killed and I don't think we've learned a darn thing in 100 years," Hampson said.

More than 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders fought between 1914 and 1918, resulting in at least 66,000 dead and 172,000 wounded.


British troops advance during the battle of the Somme in this 1916 handout picture. This picture is part of a previously unpublished set of World War One (WWI) images from a private collection. The pictures offer an unusual view of varied and contrasting aspects of the conflict, from high tech artillery to mobile pigeon lofts, and from officers partying in their headquarters to the grim reality of life and death in the trenches. The year 2014 marks the centenary of the start of the war. (REUTERS/Archive of Modern Conflict London/Handout via REUTERS)

Click here for more unseen photos of the First World War

Serving from 1915 to 1919, Syd "didn't talk a lot about the war but he talked about good friends that never came back," Hampson said.

"And I think there was an awful lot of nostalgia. I wonder what their lives would've been if -- 'cause they were all young. My dad was only 22 ... just an ordinary soldier."

His sacrifices were anything but.

During a July 26, 1918, trench raid, Syd was shot through the shoulder, grandson and Ottawa Police Staff Sgt. Brad Hampson said.

"Basically, he never went back to operational duty," he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on hand for a wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a reception at the Canadian War Museum.

"We must never forget that our place at the table was never given to us -- it was bought and paid for," Harper said.

Harper announced the launch of a national sentry program at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


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