Sam Hughes should not be recognized as a hero, but an obstruction in the history of World War One. His ?contributions? to World War One were more like failures than successes. He did not think carefully of how the different surroundings would affect the new Canadian recruits. Hughes had trouble ordering proper equipment for the soldiers and his decisions on the battlefield costed many lives. Sam Hughes should not be recognized as a hero in history.
Sam Hughes failed to keep Canadian troops replenished with food and heat; therefore, the soldiers lived under very harsh and unfortunate conditions. Sam Hughes was the Minister of Militia and his duty was to sustain his military and to train over 30 000 soldiers in Valcartier Camp. Valcartier camp was like a ?tent city? (Canada: a nation unfolding ? page 82). The place was filled up with tents that the soldiers would live in. The Canadian winter caused extreme pain for the troops. They ?spent a wet, cold winter? (The Canadian Challenge ? page 18). Sam Hughes did not order enough food for the soldiers to eat); therefore many soldiers experienced starvation due to the lack of nutrition (Canada: a nation unfolding ? page 83. Every morning, the troops would have to wash off the dried mud on their blankets (Canada: a nation unfolding ? page 83). This daily routine was an example of the horrific circumstances these soldiers lived by. Valcartier camp had a large power and water supply but there was not enough heat and food for the Canadian troops.
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Hughes had a lot of difficulty purchasing equipment that suited the soldiers? needs. He ordered boots that were only for the troops? right foot making it difficult for the soldiers to move effectively (Canada: a nation unfolding ? page 82). ?He was accused of supplying his force with leaky boots and poorly performing trench equipment? (First World War ? Who?s who ? para. 7). Sam Hughes distributed his invention, the MacAdam shovel. It was supposed to act as a shovel and a shield. There was a hole in the shovel so that the rifle barrel could be fitted inside and also be used as a shield. Sam Hughes thought that this device would be extremely helpful in the trenches but it proved to be ineffective. The ?shovel? was too short and not sharp enough to be used as a shovel. When the barrel of the gun was fitted inside the hole of the device, the angle made it impossible for the shooter to shoot at the enemy (Goldi Productions ltd Index Page). Sam Hughes cost the government a large amount of money to reproduce his device because he wanted to distribute them to the army but it proved to be an ineffective method of warfare.
His judgment about the weapons that were going to be used in the trenches was miscalculated and biased, leading to many deaths. His choice of weapon to be used in the trenches was the Ross Rifle (Historica ? para. 5). The Ross rifle was a sniper rifle, not a close range weapon. When the Ross rifle was rapidly fired, it would jam and the soldier would have trouble retaliating (Historica ? para. 5). The gun was very heavy and soldiers could not run across ?no man?s land? with it. The Ross rifle was extremely faulty. The bayonets attached to the rifle would just fall off when it was shot, taking away the close range defense (Historica ? para. 10). Sam Hughes was ?in love? with the Ross rifle before the war. He was the ?Champion of the Ross? (Item display ? Para. 12). He believed that the Ross rifle would outgun the German guns. After many complaints were thrown on Sam Hughes about the rifle, Sam Hughes still did not want the soldiers to change the gun that they were using (Historica - Background). He had a deep affection with the Ross rifle. Many Canadians abandoned the gun and adopted the Lee Enfield rifle from dead British soldiers, or from their gun depots (Canada: a nation unfolding ? page 82). The official switch of guns was finally made when Robert Borden fired Sam Hughes for his irresponsibility. It was changed from the Ross rifle to the Lee Enfield. His arrogance and his stubborn personality slowed down the switch of guns and that led to many deaths that could have been avoided.
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Sam Hughes had an ?irresponsible behaviour? (Item Display ? Para 27). If he took time to think about what he should have done and did not rely on his biased opinion, lives would not have been lost. The verdict is that Sam Hughes should not be remembered as a hero in history.
- Newman, Garfield, Bob Aitken, Diane Eaton, Dick Holland, John Montgomery, and Sonia Riddoch. Canada: A Nation Unfolding. Ontario ed. Canada: Patty Pappas, 2000. Print.
- Quinlan, Don, Doug Baldwin, Rick Mahoney, and Kevin Reed. The Canadian Challenge. Ed. Theresa Fitzpatrick Meikle, Kenneth Garlick, Sherida Hassanali, Zainab Jamal, Rocky Landon, Ian Pettigrew, Shane Pisani, and Matthew Trans-Adam. Canada: Oxford, 2008. Print.
- "First World War.com - Who's Who - Sam Hughes." First World War.com - A Multimedia History of World War One. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/hughes_sam.htm>.
- "Sam Hughes Minister of Militia and Defence WWI." Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum Welcome. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.angloboerwarmuseum.com/Boer70u_hero22_hughes_sam..html>.
- "The Ross Rifle and the Equipping of Canadian Soldiers in World War One." Historica. Web. 22 Oct. 2009. <http://histori.ca/prodev/lp.do?id=19229&cview=pf>.
- "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online." Welcome to the LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA website | Bienvenue au site Web BIBLIOTHÈQUE ET ARCHIVES CANADA. Web. 22 Oct. 2009. <http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=7927>.