Relaxing

To our heroes, the boys in khaki

This concert, typical of wartime patriotic events, featured musical selections from local artists and one of the city's military bands and a lecture entitled "On land and sea, with our veterans."

America's Answer to "In Flanders Fields"

John McCrae's famous poem inspired countless responses, including this one by R.W. Lillard, reprinted in a leaflet distributed at an exhibition of captured war trophies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A returned soldier - poet

Already nearly fifty years of age when he enlisted in the 193rd Battalion, Stanley Fullerton of Amherst, Nova Scotia, was plagued by ill health while in uniform and never got closer to the front than England.

A little known war poet

Nova Scotian John Bradford served as a conducting officer during the First World War, but his poetry turned to more unusual subjects, such as Armenian refugees and the story of a horse that was killed in action at the front.

View PDF: Blind Soldier.pdf

"Smiles will never be rationed"

The Happy Gang was one of the most popular entertainment groups of the 1940s, and considered its material to be ammunition for the "'second front' at home, the Fun Front."

View PDF: Happy Gang.pdf

The Irish Soldier Poet

Al Pat or "the Irish soldier poet" had served in the infantry in the First World War, and wrote about his experiences in a collection called "Rhymes of an Old War Horse." A sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, he also published this volume of rough doggerel about life on various Canadian airfields.

View PDF: Bang.pdf

"A fighting navy that holds our foe at bay"

At the end of the Second World War, this amateur poet from Nova Scotia published a verse tribute to the Royal Canadian Navy, and to its political chief, Angus L. Macdonald.

View PDF: Calling Canada.pdf

How to listen to a military band

University professor John Daniel Logan offered a critical appraisal of the brass band of the 85th Battalion, surely the only First World War military band to receive such scholarly attention.

View PDF: 85th Bn band.pdf

Entertainment in wartime

Four ensembles, the Originals, the London Life Troupers, the Tweedsmuir Revue, and the London Little Theatre, performed to entertain men and women in uniform and raise funds for the Citizens Auxiliary War Services Committee.

Dominion Day in Ontario

This souvenir postcard included alternate Canadian lyrics to British standards, in honour of Canada's founding day.

"Thumbs Up! Beat Hitler"

Torontonians could support the Red Cross by attending this recital, and were also asked to patronize the businesses that supported the cause.

Postcards from Camp Debert, Truro, Nova Scotia

Postcards were a routine way of corresponding quickly with family and friends in the age before e-mail. This rare collection shows Canadian infantry training and recreating at Camp Debert in Nova Scotia, ca. 1942.

Soldiers' Songs

This collection of songs for soldiers includes words and accompaniment.

The Hun-Beating Proverb Book

"Containing Many Proverbs that Point to the Destruction of Arrogance, Tyranny, Villainy, Vice and the Monstrous Militarism of which Germany has been Guilty."

Mean Scamp-f: A Humorous Pictorial Record of the War

This collection of comic strips by Harry Hall, a soldier of WWI, provides a humorous depiction of the war so far and mercilessly mocks enemy leaders.

Canadian Soldiers' Song Book

This collection of soldier's songs from the Y.M.C.A. provides the words for national anthems, local songs of regions from Scotland to Hawaii, and religious songs.

Patriotic Songs

A typical combination of song sheet and recruiting pamphlet, this leaflet included traditional anthems and hymns for which new lyrics had been written.

Recycling, Great War style

With the Canadians pulling out of Britain after the First World War, there was a need to use up resources - so, this card for a March 1919 dance at the 3rd Canadian Reserve Battalion was printed on the back of a January 1918 leave permit issued to Toronto soldier Charles Kinsey.

To the RCAF

The romance of flying was the central theme of this 1940 composition that was billed as "Canada's Air Song."

View PDF: Climbin' High.pdf

Sports and dancing for Vimy

Recreation was essential to the smooth running of a military base, so the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, stationed at Vimy Barracks in Kingston, Ontario, organized a sports day and dance every year.

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