Charles Perry Stacey


Colonel Charles Perry Stacey OC OBE CD FRSC (30 July 1906 – 17 November 1989) was a Canadian historian and university professor. He served as the official historian of the Canadian Army in the Second World War and published extensively on military and political matters.

Charles Perry Stacey

Portrait of C. P. Stacey.png
Born(1906-07-30)30 July 1906
Toronto, Ontario
Died17 January 1989(1989-01-17) (aged 82)
Toronto, Ontario
Allegiance Canada
Service/branchLesser badge of the Canadian Army.svg Canadian Army
Years of service1924–1959
UnitHistorical Section, General Staff
Alma materUniversity of Toronto (B.A., 1927)
Oxford University (B.A., 1929)
Princeton University (A.M., 1931, Ph.D., 1933)
Doris Newton Shiell
(m. 1939; died 1969)

Early life and educationEdit

Stacey was born in Toronto, Ontario to Dr Charles Edward Stacey (1860 – 1927) and Pearl Perry (1878 – 1964). The Stacey family was of Anglo-Irish, Church of Ireland origin. After attending the University of Toronto Schools, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Toronto in 1927.[1] In 1924 he joined the Canadian Militia.[2]

Stacey received a second bachelor's degree in history from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1929. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Princeton University in 1933.


From 1933 to 1940, Stacey was a member of the history department at Princeton University.[3] With the advent of the Second World War, he was given the rank of major and appointed as historical officer to the Canadian Army. He served in the United Kingdom for most of the war, headed a team dedicated to collecting and collating information for future historians, and wrote contemporary reports. His reports provided factual details about many military operations, including the Dieppe Raid and Operation Spring.[4][5]

Visit of Prince Philip (seated) to the Royal Society of Canada. Officers of the Society (standing left to right): Dr. Charles Camsell, Dr. Loris Shano (L.S.) Russell, Dr. T.W.N. Cameron, president Leon Marion and Colonel C.P. Stacey in 1957.

After the war, Stacey worked with a team to create an official history of the Canadian military operations during the conflict. He benefited from his access to the major Canadian military and political figures involved in the war, both during the conflict and afterwards, when the official histories were being finalized.[6][7] The three volume set was published in 1948.

A comment he made after the war regarding war brides, whom he called "Most excellent citizens," became the title of a book on the subject by Eswyn Lyster.

Stacey eventually attained the rank of colonel. In total, he served in the militia and the army for 35 years (1924-1959).

From 1959 to 1975, Stacey was a professor of history at the University of Toronto. He continued to research and write analysis of Canadian military operations.[8][9] He published an autobiography, A Date With History, which presented much background information regarding the writing of the Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. He extended those themes in volumes The Half Million (dealing with the Canadian forces stationed in Britain) and Arms, Men, and Government (concerning the government in Canada) during the war.

Stacey also wrote a critical analysis of the writing process of the Official History of World War I (only one of the projected eight volumes by the original author ever appeared in print).

He died in Toronto in 1989. His personal and research papers are in the University of Toronto Archives.

Since 1988, an award called the C.P. Stacey Prize has been given by the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War "for distinguished publications on the twentieth-century military experience."[10]

Personal lifeEdit

On 26 August 1939 Stacey married Doris Newton Shiell, daughter of R. T. Shiell. Doris was born in Toronto in 1903. After Colonel Stacey's retirement from the Army in 1959, the couple lived in a house at 89 Tranmer Avenue in Toronto. Doris died in Toronto on 5 December 1969. Colonel Stacey died in Toronto on 17 January 1989 at age 82. He is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • A Very Double Life: The Private World of Mackenzie King (1976)
  • Canada and the Age of Conflict Vol. 1 (1977), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), ISBN 0-8020-6560-0.
  • Canada and the Age of Conflict Vol. 2 (1981), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), ISBN 0-8020-2397-5.
  • (with Barbara M. Wilson) The Half-Million: The Canadians in Britain, 1939-1946 (1987), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).
  • A Date With History ISBN 0-88879-086-4

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nicolaas van Rijn, "Col. Charles Stacey was army historian," Toronto Star, Nov. 19, 1989, A31.
  2. ^ David Twiston Davies (1996). Canada from Afar: The Daily Telegraph Book of Canadian Obituaries. Dundurn. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-55002-252-0.
  3. ^ Jeffrey Grey (2003). The Last Word?: Essays on Official History in the United States and British Commonwealth. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-0-313-31083-6.
  4. ^ David J. Bercuson; Wise (22 September 1994). Valour and the Horror Revisited. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7735-6513-5.
  5. ^ David O'Keefe (5 November 2013). One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe. Knopf Canada. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-345-80771-7.
  6. ^ J. L. Granatstein (2005). The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War. University of Calgary Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-55238-176-2.
  7. ^ Tim Cook (1 November 2011). Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars. UBC Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-7748-4125-2.
  8. ^ Robert Jervis; Seweryn Bialer (1991). Soviet-American Relations After the Cold War. Duke University Press. p. 341.
  9. ^ Editorials on File. Vol. 16, Part 1. Facts on File, Incorporated. January 1985. p. 536.
  10. ^ "Contact US". January 2001.
  • "Biography C.P. Stacey". Department of National Defence. Archived from the original on 2004-01-29.

External linksEdit

  • biography at
  • Charles Perry Stacey at The Canadian Encyclopedia
  • Eswyn Lyster's war bride webpage[permanent dead link]
  • Most Excellent Citizens
  • C.P. Stacey's Biography on Department of National Defence Website
  • Archival papers of Charles Perry Stacey and the Stacey Family held at the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services