Demobilization

A smooth transition

These instructions, for military personnel from the Hamilton and Niagara regions, dealt with practical matters such as pay, clothing, and transportation, but also warned returning soldiers, "Don't take V.D. home."

Coming home to the lakehead

This image of the women's pipe band was given to veterans in Fort William, Ontario, as they returned from service during the Second World War.

Home Sweet Home

An idyllic image of home, the kind that sustained Canadians in uniform through the long years of war.

Welcome home to Manitoba

Tokens like this card were common after the First World War, but less so after the Second. It is also unusual in mentioning returning prisoners of war and those who had fallen sick.

Welcome back to the lakehead

The city of Port Arthur, Ontario, distributed scrolls to returning soldiers in 1919, to thank them for their efforts in defence of "Truth, Freedom, Home, and Native Land."

Chatham welcomes its veterans home

Banquets in honour of returning servicemen and servicewomen were common in Canada in 1946, just as they had been in 1919.

Victoria welcomes its veterans

In preparation for the demobilization of Canadians in uniform after the Second World War, the city of Victoria established a Citizens Rehabilitation Council to help them with the practical problems of returning to civilian life.

Safe at home

This adaption of the popular song "Home, Sweet Home" was probably performed for soldiers returning to Canada in 1918 and 1919 through Quebec City.

Coming home to Winnipeg

As Canadians returned home from overseas after the Second World War, most communities devoted considerable effort to organizing homecoming ceremonies - including the distribution of cards of thanks such as this one.

"Are you coming back clean in Body?"

This YMCA pamphlet offered Canadian soldiers a lesson, albeit a belated one, on the dangers of prostitutes and sexually-transmitted diseases, and offered a warning to soldiers who might be returning to Canada "bearing the dishonorable marks of Venereal Disease."

View PDF: Coming Back.pdf

Welcoming the Westies home

British Columbia's Westminster Regiment fought in Italy and north-west Europe during the Second World War. It returned home to New Westminster in January 1946, having lost 134 men to enemy action.

Sold by an unemployed war veteran

A combination of high unemployment after the First World War and insufficient programs for veterans forced many ex-soldiers to turn to other means to support themselves - such as selling patriotic song cards like this one.

Return of a soldier

This sentimental song was one of many that looked forward to the day when Canada's soldiers would return home.

Reuniting the family

This conventional welcome-home song is most remarkable for the cover illustration - the terrible strain of war is clearly visible on the faces of the soldier and his wife.

"Stalwart sons of khaki"

One of Canada's most prolific songwriters and music publishers, Thompson wrote this song in anticipation of the parades that would be held to welcome Canada's soldiers home.

Welcoming war brides to Canada

A British woman who married a Canadian soldier during the First World War faced a host of complications in relocating to a new country. This pamphlet was intended to answer some of the most basic questions.

Soldiers from the wars returning

Harry Rose was working as a waiter in Toronto when he enlisted in 1914 - after serving with the 3rd Battalion at the front, he enjoyed minor success as a songwriter with songs like this one, which was written to welcome other Canadian soldiers home.

View PDF: Victorious.pdf

News on the voyage home

This mimeographed newsletter was produced on a transport ship, possibly the SS "Pasteur," that was bringing home Canadian soldiers at the end of the Second World War. It was evidently printed on the day that the ship was due to arrive in Halifax, and its poor condition suggests that it passed through many hands.

View PDF: Homeward bound.pdf

Moncton welcomes its veterans

This proclamation was handed out to men and women from Moncton, New Brunswick, as they returned from overseas after the end of the First World War.

McMaster ex-soldiers return

These five undergraduates were lucky to return to Canada before the war ended, and before the mass demobilization of 1919 made special dinners difficult to organize.

View PDF: McMaster.pdf

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