Canadian Dental Corps, First Canadian Army, North West Europe, 1944-1945

First Canadian Army units of the Canadian Dental Corps (CDC)

Canadian Dental Corps (CDC)

In 1938 the Canadian Dental Association then successfully lobbied the Minister of National Defence to create an independent defence dental service. Subsequently the Canadian Army Dental Corps was replaced by the Canadian Dental Corps (CDC) under the command of a 'Chief Dental Officer'. The CDA nominated Doctor Frank Lott to be the Director of the new CDC and he was subsequently appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Director Dental Services. The word ‘Army’ was removed from the name in recognition of the tri-service role of the Dental Corps.

The use of dental records for forensic purposes, especially in identifying war casualties, came into prominence during the Second World War. Many fatalities were identified who lacked any other means of identification. Dental forensic techniques were also used to identify deserters and determine cases of fraudulent enrolment.

When the Canadian Women's Army Corps was formed in 1941, the first female dental assistants were enrolled. Several hundred of these women were employed in clinics in Canada, freeing up male dental assistants for overseas service.

At the end of the Second World War the Canadian Dental Corps had a strength of over 5000 members, over half of whom had deployed overseas. 14 Dental Officers and 19 Dental Technicians gave their lives on active service during the Second World War.

The outstanding performance of the CDC during the war convinced the authorities that it should be kept alive after demobilization. In October 1946 the Canadian Army was reorganized and for the first time the dental corps became a component of the regular force. In January 1947 His Majesty King George VI granted the Royal Warrant to the Canadian Dental Corps in recognition of outstanding service; thus, the CDC became the "Royal Canadian Dental Corps (RCDC)."

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202516)

Dentist's office at Canadian Military Headquarters, London, England, 7 March 1943.

No. 4 Company

2nd Army Dental Stores

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