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Khaki University
Motto Rations for the Mind
Established 1917
Type Canadian educational institution Military college
President Dr Henry Marshall Tory
Undergraduates available
Location , Great Britain and France
Affiliations Canadian Army

Khaki University (initially Khaki College) was a Canadian educational institution set up and managed by the general staff of the Canadian Army in Britain 1917-19 during World War I and again 1945-46 in World War II.



Dr Henry Marshall Tory, president of Khaki University
Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, approved Khaki University


Padres and officers had organized educational classes and Bible study groups for enlisted men from 1914. Although Padres J.M. Almond and Clarence MacKinnon wanted the Khaki University under the control of the chaplain services, ultimately, a formal educational program was implemented among their soldiers.


Gerald Birks

Colonel Gerald Birks, supervisor of the YMCA Canadian Overseas, sought to offer educational courses to keep soldiers busy in their spare time with a view to stave off the evils of gambling or drinking. He asked Henry Marshall Tory to write report which recommended the formalization of educational services of Canadian forces overseas. After the War, Birks became businessman, patron of the arts and philanthropist.

Henry Marshall Tory

The programs were formalized in 1916 once Dr Henry Marshall Tory recommended in a report on discharged men from the army the establishment of an educational institution in England and France, to be called the Khaki College of Canada, with an extension department providing services for other camps in Great Britain. The educational services of Canadian forces overseas was organized and planned by Dr Henry Marshall Tory who became president of the Khaki College in 1917, while he was on leave as president of the University of Alberta. After the War, Tory returned as President of the University of Alberta, then founded colleges which became Carleton University and the University of British Columbia.

Arthur Currie

Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie approved Khaki University as a component of the training for all soldiers in all divisions on 18 December 1917. After the War, Currie became the President and Vice Chancellor of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Under the general staff of the Canadian Army, the Khaki College became the educational services of Canadian Forces overseas in 1918. The program, which grew from the chaplain services of the Canadian Army and study groups of the Canadian of the YMCA, was a forerunner of similar programs in the military forces of other countries.


The goals were to provide morale during the war and for demobilized personnel, and to provide personnel an opportunity to continue their education in postwar preparation. Initially, the university-educated chaplains and officers acted as instructors, spiritual counsellors and guardians of morality. Once the Khaki University was formally recognized by the government, universities began to send professors to Europe to help the skeleton force of teachers from military headquarters teach. Khaki University credits were recognized as equivalent to those of Canadian institutions.


Major-General L.J. Lipsett organized the first educational courses. Captain Edmund H. Oliver became head of the University of Vimy Ridge (UVR), a component of the Khaki University. Oliver was a Chaplain in the 4th Divisional Wing and former Principal of the Presbyterian Theological College in Saskatoon, set up a course of instruction for soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division, then fighting on the Western Front. Captain Edmund H. Oliver wrote "It was felt by the GOC, 3rd Division, that the long evenings of winter during the period when the men were in rest or in reserve could be utilized not only to relieve the monotony of the daily routine, but as well, in some measure, to equip men for greater efficiency in business, the professions, agriculture and the other great industries of the Dominion."


In 1917, 19 education centres were organized in the camps and hospitals in England and in France. About 50 000 soldiers taking courses part-time in agriculture, business education, mechanics, teacher training, legal studies and medical instruction. Designed to be inclusive, courses spanned commercial subjects; practical science; agriculture; literacy, languages; matriculation work, undergraduate university courses; and subjects like singing, elocution and cooking. In addition, practical trades like carpentry were offered. Khaki university taught illiterate men to read and write all the way to the instruction of 1,000 Canadian soldiers enrolled in university-level students. The training was delivered via lectures, small study and reading groups, classes and directed readings and practical hands-on training. Libraries were established and textbooks were approved by all Canadian provinces. In England, there were 11 Khaki Colleges by May 1918, with 400 Canadians taking courses at London University. In some cases, noted scholars and public figures such as Bernard Shaw lectured at the camp educational classes.


In 1939, the Canadian Legion Educational Services were established for Canadian Armed Forces at home and abroad. In 1951, the War Emergency Training Program was re-established due to the Korean war.


In 1939, the War Emergency Training Program was established. In 1942, the Canadian federal government established the Federal Vocational Training Coordination Act. In 1944, the Canadian federal government established the Veterans' Rehabilitation Act. The Federal Apprenticeship Training Agreement (1944) was established followed by The Federal Vocational Schools Assistance Agreement (1945).

World War II

During World War II, Brigadier Ted G.E. Beament, OBE, ED, (RMC 1925) was appointed Officer Commanding the Khaki University (principal). An extension department provided services for other camps in Great Britain and France. Brigadier Ted G.E. Beament was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal upon his graduation from the Royal Military College of Canada # 1828 in 1929. Brigadier Ted Beament was awarded the Czechoslovakian Military Cross at the beginning of 1946.[1] On his staff was Lieutenant-Colonel Tom F. Gelley, GL, who taught History and English at the RMC prior to World War II and was the Registrar of RMC following the war. Maj. John F. Twiss, RCA was a Professor of Mathematics at the RMC both pre - and post - war. After the war, Brigadier Ted Beament was a prominent Ottawa lawyer who served as President of the RMC Club in 1952.[2]


  1. ^ 1946 Royal Military College of Canada Review (Kingston, Ontario, 1946
  2. ^ Preston: Canada's RMC: A History of the Royal Military College: Toronto

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