Calgary, Edmonton and the University of Alberta: the extraordinary medical mobilization by Canada’s newest province

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The Canadian contribution of medical services to the British Empire during the First World War was a national endeavour. Physicians from across the country enlisted in local regiments to join. No other region provided more physicians per capita than the newly formed province of Alberta. Largely organized through the Medical School of the University of Alberta, the No. 11 Canadian Field Ambulance out of Edmonton and the No. 8 Canadian Field Ambulance out of Calgary ultimately enlisted between one-third and half of the province’s doctors to the war campaign. Many individuals from this region distinguished themselves, including LCol J.N. Gunn from Calgary, who commanded the No. 8 Canadian Field Ambulance; Maj Heber Moshier, one of the founders of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Alberta; and Dr. A.C. Rankin, who would go on to be the first Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta. These Canadian heroes, and the many others like them who served with the No. 8 and 11 Field Ambulances, personify the sacrifice, strength and resilience of the medical community in Alberta and should not be forgotten.

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