A Christmas wish from Italy

This Christmas greeting, sent by a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons serving in Italy, was sent by V-Mail, a system of microfilming letters so they took up less shipping space.

Graduation dance, Edmonton

Number 4 ITS of the British Commonwealth Training Pan was located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

View PDF: Course 81.pdf

National anthems of the Allies

This medley of national songs was introduced at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition in 1915.

The Soldiers Comic March Song

Written by one of Canada's most successful composers of popular music, this sing was first sung by Little Mildred Manley, "Phenomenal Child Vocalist" - and the composer's daughter.

View PDF: What the deuce.pdf

Soldiers far from home

Adorned with an image of a smiling soldier from the 21st Battalion, this song reflected on the homesickness of the soldier serving overseas.

To the horsemen of Mississauga

This song, with lyrics by the noted poet Jean Blewett, was dedicated to the 9th Mississauga Horse, a Toronto-area militia unit.

A waltz by a soldier

Toronto shoemaker Henry Hancock enlisted with the 83rd Battalion in 1915, was wounded in the Somme offensive in 1916 while serving with the 2nd Battalion, and turned to musical composition after the war.

View PDF: Privett Waltz.pdf

From returned soldiers to prospective soldiers

This song was intended to be sold by returned soldiers, both as a source of income and to encourage other young men to follow in their footsetps.

View PDF: Rally Boys.pdf

The Empire's bond

Dedicated to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, the piece was privately published before Canadian troops left for the battlefields of Europe.

View PDF: Stand by.pdf

"Hail Country, Flag and King"

Although it was published early in the Second World War, this song would not have been out of place during the First World War.

View PDF: My flag.pdf

"They are gladly dying just to keep the old flag flying"

MacNutt and Kelly were among the more successful song-writing duos of the First World War - this was an attempt to follow up on their hugely popular "We'll Never Let the Old Flag Fall."

View PDF: By order.pdf

March of the Nova Scotia Highlanders

This stirring song used the image of children weeping to bolster support for the war effort.

From bank clerk to soldier

Not long after writing this song, Toronto bank clerk Gordon Dagger enlisted in the 257th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Tipperary Tommy

Inspired by the British song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," this song had little Canadian content - except for the maple leaf on the cover.

March for a hero

This piece of music was composed and dedicated to Lieutenant G.E. Graven of the 22nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

View PDF: MC March.pdf

Song for an infantry battalion

The 201st Battalion (Toronto Light Infantry) had its own tribute song, but music was not enough to encourage recruitment. The unit was disbanded in September 1916 when it failed to reach its authorized strength.

View PDF: I'll Come Back.pdf

A cenotaph Christmas card

Saskatoon's war memorial might seem like a strange image to use on a Christmas card, but it represents the importance of the memory of the First World War to Canada in the 1930s.

For more private communications

All letters written by soldiers were normally censored by their own officers, but they could request green Privilege (or Honour) Envelopes. These were not censored by their officers but by postal authorities in the rear areas, and allowed men to write of sensitive personal matters that they might not want their officers to know about.

Views of Shorncliffe camp

A New Brunswick soldier sent this folder home to his family in 1916, to show them what his temporary home, a tented camp in southern England, looked like.

View PDF: Shorncliffe.pdf

Santa drives a jeep

On this card sent home by a Canadian soldier serving with the occupation forces in Germany, Santa Claus has exchanged his reindeer for a military-issue jeep.


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