Fighting

Voting in Ontario

Wartime elections meant a new class of voters: those in uniform. In Ontario, the franchise was extended to men who were not normally allowed to vote, including those under the age of twenty-one and members of the First Nations, provided they were serving in the military.

Hockey dominates the news pages

The newspaper of HMCS York, billed as "Canada's No. 1 Navy Weekly", was dominated by sports news, with war bulletins and political news items thrown in for good measure.

View PDF: Yorker.pdf

"You have in explosives a good servant"

In this book, Sergeant Coleman of the Royal Canadian Regiment sought to augment the short time given to grenade training by providing practical hints on handling, arming, throwing, and making various kinds of bombs for use in trench warfare.

View PDF: Bombs.pdf

Are you physically fit?

According to these regulations, medical requirements for volunteers to the CEF were fairly stringent. In practice, the need for manpower meant that many serious medical conditions were "overlooked".

How to survive in the trenches

This booklet, written with the benefit of three years of experience with trench warfare, covered everything from gas discipline to rum rations.

Killing at close quarters

This training manual stressed that effective bayonet fighting required "Good Direction, Strength and Quickness, during a state of wild excitement and probably physical exhaustion."

"Are my men full of keenness?"

Just a few months before the attack on Vimy Ridge, Canadian Corps commander Lord Byng showed as much interest in the comfort of his soldiers as he did in tactics - and encouraged his officers to do the same.

A soldier's paybook

Harry Catling, a thirteen-year veteran of the British Army, left Canada for England as a reservist as soon as the First World War began, returned to Canada when his term of service expired in 1916, and promptly enlisted in the Canadian Army Service Corps in Toronto.

How to have a happy and efficient ship

Managing seamen, who were typically divided into four Divisions (Forecastle, Foretop, Maintop, and Quarterdeck), relied heavily on an officer's unselfishness, humour, and common sense - the main principles underlying this training manual.

From Montreal to the Western Front

The formal group portrait was a ritual of service during the First World War. This draft of artillerymen, destined to reinforce units at the front, includes a number of men who appear far too young, and perhaps under the height restrictions, for military service.

"In the interests of Mechanical Maintenance"

CAM was a kind of bible for Canadian military mechanics during the Second World War - but it's equally notable for its fine graphic art covers.

Canloan officers

Heavy losses among British infantry officers necessitated the creation of a program to loan trained Canadian officers, of which there was an ample supply, to British units in the field.

The Quebec Conference

In August 1943, Canada played host to US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and a host of important commanders and civil servants from the Allied nations to plan the next phase of the war against Germany and Japan.

The Canadian Army Medical Corps wants men!

This recruiting card was typical in promising to get the volunteer to the front quickly, but unusual in offering valuable training for a postwar career.

"Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!"

For soldiers in training during the First World War, the gas mask was not so much a vital piece of battlefield equipment as an unusual accessory to be modeled in amusing photographs.

A shattered city

After the city of Halifax was devastated by an explosion in 1917, all of the sights that had characterized the war in Europe - ruined buildings, wreckage-strewn cityscapes, rows of unidentified bodies - were seen in Canada.

Field Engineering (All Arms) Military Training Pamphlet No. 30 Part V Protective Works, 1941

This pamphlet instructs field engineers on constructing protective works including mortar emplacements, weapon slits, and shelter for troops. This version of the pamphlet dates from 1941. A somewhat different 1944 version is also available on Wartime Canada.

The Gentleman in Battledress

This speech by Lt.Col. James Mess tried to recruit young men to the Canadian Army.

Canada at War, No. 42

First published in August of 1940, the Canada at War series aimed to provide Canadians with the most up-to-date information on the war effort, both at home and overseas. This is the 42nd issue in that series.

New Advance, June 1942

This left-leaning pro-Soviet magazine for youth discussed Canada's war effort.

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