Recruiting

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 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.

The Gentleman in Battledress

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

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.

Don't be neutral!

Did Canadians really enlist in the First World War to help Belgium? The Hamilton Recruiting League obviously thought so, and used Belgium as the subject of one of its recruiting cards.

Recruiting in Toronto

Before the First World War was twelve months old, citizens' recruiting groups had swung into action to ensure that there were sufficient numbers of volunteers coming forward to reinforce Canadian units at the front.

Laurier and voluntary enlistment

During the bitterly fought 1917 election campaign, the Union Government released this correspondence between Liberal leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Canadian Club in Hamilton, Ontario, to cast doubt on Laurier's commitment to the war effort.

View PDF: Two Letters.pdf

"We will drive the foeman back"

Joseph Lawson was a Toronto insurance broker who was attested into the 204th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, to act as a recruiter. He often appeared at recruiting rallies with John Slatter, bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders.

"Put down the saw for the sword"

In a song that captured the essence of the citizen-soldier ideal, men were asked to "Close up the ledger and put down the pen, Hark to the trumpet call."

View PDF: Canada fall in.pdf

Are you doing your bit?

This song was dedicated to Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes, and suggested that Canadian men ask themselves a pointed question: "Is the bit I'm doing just the biggest bit I can?"

View PDF: Do your bit.pdf

Volunteer now - or face conscription

In this plea for volunteers, popular singer Will J. White issued a warning to the young men of Canada: "it's Voluntary Service Keeps Conscription from the door."

Saving the situation at Ypres

Part historical account, part recruiting pamphlet, this folder described in glowing terms the Canadian defence of Ypres, to encourage other young men to follow in the footsteps of those who had already joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

View PDF: Ypres folder.pdf

Call to Arms - the French-Canadian response

This booklet analyzes the French-Canadian response to the issue of enlistment, particularly in the wake of the Military Service Act of 1917. The author focuses specifically on the different responses between French- and English-speaking Canadians.

View PDF: Call to Arms

Why I am enlisting

Presenting a speech advocating enlistment, this booklet also contains three letters on the issue written by Prime Minister Robert Borden, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Sam Hughes.

French-Canadian volunteers

Including a speech given by Major Olivar Asselin at a dinner meeting of the Comité France-Amérique in June 1915, this booklet addresses Asselin's work in recruiting French Canadians for the war effort.

Freedom or slavery?

To encourage enlistment, this collection of cartoons from the Second World War asked the farmer, the worker, the union member, the Catholic - if they would prefer freedom or slavery.

Join the Canadian Engineers!

This card, featuring a quote from British prime minister David Lloyd George and a famous illustration from "Punch" magazine marking the 2nd Battle of Ypres, could be used to encourage enlistment in any unit. Hopkins eventually joined the 86th Battalion rather than the 1st Field Troop, Canadian Engineers.

Your country needs you!

At a time when volunteers were becoming increasingly difficult to find, recruiters in London, Ontario, tried to put the most positive gloss possible on enlistment.

Farewell to a Montreal conscript

The message to Paul St Louis, who was conscripted into the CEF in June 1918, reads, "Des salut a toute tes amis, tous les joueurs de base-ball et tous les autres [sic]."

His Country's Call

A typical patriotic image from the First World War, by British artist Cyril Cuneo.

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