Relaxing

Military bands

During the First World War, most units had brass or pipe bands, which played for the troops or gave concerts for the townspeople near their encampments. These are the bands of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Canadian Convalescent Depot, 23rd (Reserve) Battalion, 37th Battalion, 43rd Battalion, 83rd Battalion, 85th Battalion, 92nd Battalion, 131st Battalion, 161st Battalion, and other units that cannot be identified.

A bout for the soldiers

A large crowd was on hand to watch two Canadian soldiers contest the boxing championship at Seaford, a military camp in southern England, in April 1919.

Like a medieval knight ...

This Christmas message draws a direct connection between a medieval knight on horseback and the lowly soldier of the Second World War.

Books behind barbed wire

Canadians could send books to their loved ones in enemy prison camps, but only through companies that had a postal censorship permit to handle such shipments.

Parcels for prisoners of war

To reduce delays in shipment, all parcels destined for Canadian POWs in camps in Germany had to be accompanied by a declaration of their contents.

Getting parcels to the troops

To ensure efficient delivery of mail to units overseas, Canadians were encouraged to use standard address labels, and to ensure that packages were within the weight limit of eleven pounds.

"All well and safe"

A common method of wireless trans-Atlantic correspondence was radio telegraphy. Canadian servicemen sent messages home via the Canadian Marconi Company through Canadian Pacific telegram.

A Canadian frigate at Christmas

The Beacon Hill, a frigate built in Esquimalt, British Columbia, went into service in May 1944. She served on convoy and escort work in the North Atlantic for the rest of the war, and was eventually paid off in 1967.

Christmas wishes from a sailor

This card used by a sailor in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve gives a jaunty impression of life at sea.

View PDF: xmascardrcnv.pdf

A Highlander's Christmas Greetings

The 134th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was raised by Toronto's 48th Highlanders. It never saw action as a unit but was broken up to provide reinforcements to other battalions.

View PDF: xmascard48h.pdf

Training flight instructors

The school for flight instructors at Arnprior, in operation from August 1942 to January 1944, was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

View PDF: 3 FIS dance.pdf

Highland Light Infantry Christmas cards

Captain George Hipel of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada sent two very different Christmas cards home: a hurriedly printed black and white card in 1944, when the unit was still fighting; and an impressive colour card in 1945, when the unit was back in England.

High Flight

John Gillespie Magee's beloved poem was used for the 1942 Christmas card of the RCAF's overseas headquarters in London.

Sappers' holiday wishes

These are typical examples of crested Christmas cards that were sold to Canadian servicemen and women both abroad and in Canada during the Second World War.

RCAF Christmas cards

Stylish Christmas cards with embossed crests and photographs, like these made for members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, were widely available during the Second World War.

A send-off in Kingston

Before leaving for overseas, the 21st Battalion organized a week-long public celebration, with parades, sports, and games, for the people of Kingston and area.

Military badges as postcard art

Battalion badges were an important element of a unit's identity during the First World War, and proved to be a lucrative product for enterprising printers.

A poetic voice from the front

This may be the original version of a booklet that ex-soldiers sold after the First World War to raise money - Private Nixon's "Verses Written in the Trenches" is a later version.

View PDF: Audette.pdf

Brantford faces the enemy

This postcard, which uses a version of the First World War French slogan "Ils ne passeront pas", was printed for the city of Brantford, Ontario, probably in the summer of 1940, when the German armies posed a very real threat of crossing the English Channel.

Canadians in uniform

In this series from the Second World War, an Ottawa printer presented archetypes of young Canadian soldiers and airmen.

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