Remembering

To the people of Maganetawan

The school in Maganetawan, in northern Ontario, dedicated an impressive plaque to townspeople who served during the First World War, and also distributed handsome souvenir portfolios of the memorial.

The grave of a Canadian soldier

Nelson Hodgson of the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, was killed in the fighting around Passchendaele in November 1917. This photograph of his grave near Ypres, Belgium, was sent to his family in Guelph, Ontario.

Veterans of the 18th Battalion

On the back of this card were listed to most important events in the battalion's history - including the first issue of rum to the soldiers.

Remembering in Winnipeg

A Winnipeg tradition was the Armistice Day dinner hosted at the Fort Garry Hotel by the 90th Regiment, Winnipeg Rifles, to honour the battalions it had helped to recruit for service in the First World War.

Poppy Day

In this leaflet, the Canadian Legion's Manitoba Command provided a suggested order of service for Armistice Day and reprinted John McCrae's famous poem "In Flanders Fields" - although the author's name and the date of the poem are given incorrectly.

View PDF: Poppy Day.pdf

An airman's keepsakes

John Bridgman of Roseland, Ontario, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 and qualified as a bomb aimer at #9 Air Observer School in St Johns, Quebec. Amongst his wartime souvenirs are a certificate indicating that he had completed a tour of operations and aerial photographs taken on some of the bombing raids in which he participated.

Decoration Day in rural Manitoba

Ceremonies that involved placing flowers on the graves of ex-soldiers were common across Canada, and usually followed the same pattern as this service in Morden, Manitoba.

Au Service de Son Pays

This colourful scroll was available in both French and English, and could be personalized (following the suggestions on the back) by adding the details of an individual's service career.

A conscript's souvenir

Despite the inscription that suggests he enlisted voluntarily, Percy Norris of Sprague, Manitoba, was actually conscripted in May 1918. The fact that he later ordered this souvenir scroll suggests that he was not a reluctant conscript.

Another war, another Remembrance Day

John Bridgman served with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War, and was wounded and evacuated home to Saskatchewan in 1917. Nearly thirty years later, he spoke at a Remembrance Day assembly in London, Ontario, and told high school students of his experiences during the war.

The Unknown Soldier

This address, read over the network of the Canadian Radio Commission on Remembrance Day 1935, compared the Unknown Soldier to Jesus Christ.

View PDF: Resurrection.pdf

Veterans and their finances

This 1938 financial statement of the Canadian Legion has a curious hand-written notation on it: "Legion cigarettes."

View PDF: Balance sheet.pdf

From Hamilton to war

John “Jack” Smith was born in Scotland in 1906 and came to Canada as a teenager. He enlisted early in the Second World War, serving in the 5th Field Ambulance of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. While he was overseas, he sent snapshots and other souvenirs of his travels to his family in Hamilton, Ontario, to show them the more mundane parts of serving in the army: field exercises, barracks life, an inspection by the King and Queen, and the surroundings in Spitzbergen, Russia, where he was posted for a short time in 1941. Jack Smith returned to Canada after the war and died in 1985.

A Legion celebration

Members of the Canadian Legion's Manitoba Command came together in 1938 to celebrate the wedding anniversary of one of their own. Amongst the speakers was Eli Spencer of Morden.

View PDF: Cairns dinner.pdf

Canadian ex-soldiers in Britain

Veterans of the First World War, including Hamilton Gault, the founder of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, met in London to relive old times. The cartoons suggest that it was a convivial occasion.

View PDF: LACE 1940.pdf

Remembrance Day in Manitoba

These service had all the elements that had become typical by the 1930s: John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields," the hymn "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," addresses by local veterans, and the Canadian and British national anthems. Note, however, the important change penciled on the bottom of the 1934 program.

Ex-soldiers gather in Vancouver

This reunion included everything from the RCMP Musical Ride to an egg-and-spoon race for amputees. The grand prize, of a trip back to the battlefields, must have represented a considerable expense for the organizers, and one wonders if it was actually awarded.

The Great War Veterans' Association

Founded in 1917, the GWVA was Canada's largest and most powerful veterans organization until it merged with other groups in 1925 to create the Canadian Legion.

Decoration Day in Winnipeg

The Manitoba capital first held a Decoration Day parade in 1886. The thirty-eighth such parade, like most others, featured militia units, local dignitaries, veterans organizations, and school cadet corps.

One municipality, forty-four dead

The unveiling ceremony for this rural Manitoba war memorial included scripture readings, a song by local schoolchildren, an address by the provincial premier, and a reading of John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields."

View PDF: Morden WM.pdf

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