When London declared war in 1914 it did not see fit to consult Dominion prime ministers. Yet most dominion leaders and commentators enthusiastically embraced the call to arms pledging support.
The mobilisation of millions of Imperial subjects on both sides of the conflict proved essential for all combatant states. In general these units were paid for by the governments that sent them ñ this was an enormous subsidy to the mother country.
By the end of the war Canada sent abroad 458,000 men; Newfoundland ( in 1914 a dominion in its own right) 8,000; Australia 332,000, New Zealand 112,000, and South Africa sent 136,000 white combatants as well as enlisting 75,000 non- whites to serve in Europe and Africa in the South African Labour Contingent. From the Caribbean nearly 16,000 volunteered; from British West African colonies 25,000 and Africans pressed into service, as bearers in African campaigns, there were more than a million.
India raised 1,440,037 volunteers. By 1915 138,000 were stationed on the Western Front where temporarily they filled a major part of the line. They served in Gallipoli but also in Salonika and Palestine, in Egypt and the Sudan, in Mesopotamia, at Aden and in the Red Sea, in Somaliland, the Cameroons and East Africa, in North ñWest Persia and Kurdistan, in Trans-Caspia, in the Persian Gulf and in North China.