Fighting

Exempted from conscription

Men who had been given exemptions under the Military Service Act were required to complete this questionnaire to justify their claim. It pays particular attention to men employed in the agricultural sector.

Conscription comes to Canada

Conscription came to Canada in 1917 amidst great controversy. This leaflet was part of the government's effort to explain why it was necessary and how it would work.

View PDF: MSA.pdf

Certificate of Medical Unfitness

The National Resources Mobilization Act of 1940 called up men for examination for possible military service; this New Brunswicker was found medically unfit.

A New Brunswick farmer in uniform

Caleb Harrison of Forest Hill, New Brunswick, was conscripted under the Military Service Act in July 1918. These documents gave him leave from Camp Sussex on compassionate grounds in September 1918 , and formalized his discharge in January 1919.

A send-off for lodge members

When men of the King William Lodge joined the 105th Regiment, their fellow lodge members gave them each a pocket bible and their best wishes for a safe return at war's end.

"Efficient first aid may be a life-saving knowledge"

Compiled in 1942, this manual covered everything from splinting a broken limb to recognizing and dealing with gas attacks.

View PDF: First Aid RCN.pdf

Training airmen in BC

Patricia Bay was the wartime home of the Royal Air Force's 32 Operational Training Unit, which trained airmen from Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, an RCAF training unit, and a seaplane base. "The Patrician" was the publication of the RAF community.

View PDF: Patrician.pdf

Welcome to Carberry

During the Second World War, Carberry, Manitoba, hosted a Service Flying Training School of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This book was published to introduce incoming students to the town and its people, and to recognize their contribution to the Allied war effort.

Calisthenics for new recruits

For many new soldiers, the introduction to army life included healthy doses of bending, stretching, and other exercises laid out in this First World War manual.

View PDF: PT tables.pdf

A law-abiding man

Many young men attempted to evade conscription during the First World War, so the military authorities provided certificates to men who had observed the law and properly registered with the government, as proof against harassment by the police of potential employers.

An eyewitness in at the front

Novelist Arnold Bennett was the first major writer to be invited to tour the Western Front during the First World War; his account was published in late 1915. This postcard invited book-buyers to experience "all the picturesque, moving figures of the front."

A symbol of service

A service chevron (to be worn on the uniform sleeve) was awarded for each year of overseas service; the certificate was intended to combat the problem of the fraudulent veteran.

An Amish Mennonite at war

In December 1941 Earlus Gascho of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, declared himself a conscientious objector on the basis of his membership in the Baden-Wilmot Congregation of the Amish Mennonite Church. This correspondence deals with his arrangements for alternative service.

View PDF: Gascho.pdf

Using the Ross Rifle

The Ross Rifle was superb for target shooting, but left much to be desired in combat conditions - as the Canadian 1st Division learned to its peril at Ypres in April 1915.

View PDF: Ross Rifle.pdf

Inside an artillery battery

Like most First World War unit publications, this magazine combined cartoons, jokes, amusing stories, and battery news. A regular feature was "Things We Would Like to Know", which included the question "Why is it we're always on the move? Can't we pay the rent?"

View PDF: OPip Xmas.pdf

Preparing for war

Issued at the beginning of the Second World War, this British manual (reprinted for Canada) covered only the most basic elements of training for war, including a series of games that could provide instruction in field-craft.

View PDF: ATM 24 War.pdf

A weekend at home

This pass allowed Fleetwood Berry of the Canadian Field Artillery to be absent from his base for a weekend - perhaps to visit his family in Meaford, Ontario.

The Royal Highlanders of Canada

During the First World War, the Canadian War Records Office planned to publish short histories of every Canadian infantry battalion. This history of Montreal's 13th Battalion, affiliated with the Black Watch, was one of the few to make it into print.

View PDF: 13th Bn.pdf

Calisthenics for soldiers

The Second World War revealed an unexpectedly low level of physical fitness in Canadian men, leading military authorities to devote considerable effort to remedial action. Training brochures like this one were among the results of that effort.

View PDF: PT Tables.pdf

Unfit for service

During the First World War, young men were often pressured to enlist - and were grateful to have a certificate like this one, which proved that Thomas Robson had been willing to serve but had been rejected by the army.

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