World War I

A Letter From the Princess of Wales

This is a letter from the Princess of Wales. The gift is unknown, for only the card has survived.

This certificate shows that Sergeant W. Hardy is officially a Sergeant as of June 23, 1915

Your New Sergeant

This certificate indicates that Sergeant W. Hardy is now officially a Sergeant as of June 23rd 1915

This PASS shows the name and date of when the soldier can enter the exhibition grounds

To the Exhibition Grounds

This is a pass given to a soldier to allow entrance to the exhibition grounds.

Canadian Army Medical Corps Photo Album with Various Scenic Photos and Portraits

This photo album comes from London, Ontario. It features several photos with handwritten captions on photos that depict various elements of life at this time. We see photos of Mr. and Mrs. Dechtro, Miss Frances McCabe as a child, Mr. Frank Lafleur, Mr. Thomas Cat, Mrs. Emma Seven Oaks and sister, Lydia Jahnke, Mrs. Grace Raubolt and son, Miss Agnes Davies, Mr. Nick Poulas, Sergeants McFee and Shaw, “Frenchy and Scotty,” Geo Latimer, Sergeant Major McDonald, Harriet and Isabell Raubolt, Mr. and Mrs. Higgivson, the “Riot Squad” in London, Ontario, Isabell Powell, Sergeant D. G. Powell, Jack Timney, Lance Corporal Borke, and Nellie Bronk. There are also photos in locations such as Dallas, Texas, Cleveland, Ohio, London, Ontario, Niagara, Hyde Park, England and Toronto, Ontario. Along with these photos, there are several shot so the Canadian Army Medical Corps which was founded in London, Ontario in 1916 and these photos depict various men in the CAMC camp in London. There are photos of troops aboard the STR Casandria, the 13th battalion of Canadian Engineers and an unidentified London nurse who was buried at sea. There are also several captioned photos that do not contain names or location, as well as some scenic shots including one of an iceberg taken off the coast of Newfoundland.

Captain Cecil Bruce Ferris

Captain Cecil Bruce Ferris, born in Kingston in 1885, enlisted to become a part of the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers in September, 1914. While fighting in France, he received a G.S.W to the chest, and spent time in Convalescent hospitals in England. While on leave, he married his sweetheart, Clara ‘Rosie’, in Deal, England. Included in the collection is their marriage invitation, and dozens of letters between ‘Bruce’ and Rosie to his mother, Alice, who Bruce kept well informed on his life, both on the front and back in England. For his service he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Croix de Guerre in 1916. Post-war he was heavily involved with his unit, eventually rising to the rank of Commanding officer. Due to this, his collection involves some of his unit’s war diaries, as well as other paperwork that would have come with commanding a company. Captain Ferris died in 1965 in Toronto, Ontario.

"In the interests of recruiting"

The young men of Pictou County, Nova Scotia, could find a wealth of information about enlistment in this weekly pamphlet - whether they were interested in the Royal Flying Corps, the tunnelling corps, the engineers, the transport services, or the 106th Regiment Nova Scotia Rifles.

A Vimy pilgrim's travel arrangements

Ross McIntyre of Komoka, Ontario, served in the Black Watch rather than in the Canadian Corps - but he still made the trip to France in 1936 for the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial.

Bring your friends and enlist

When voluntarism slowed down in late 1915, units resorted to many tactics - including direct mail campaigns like this one - to attract potential recruits.

From steelworker to soldier to farmer

The Soldier Settlement Board aimed to turn ex-soldiers of the First World War into farmers, something it did with only limited success. This record, kept by Joseph Morrison of Launching, Prince Edward Island, details his farming successes and failures in 1922.

Calling Francophones

Selling the First World War to French Canada was a challenge but this booklet, published as a recruiting tool, attempted to make the case in favour of participation.

Patriotism on show

This printed fabric calendar, with a typical patriotic motif and slogan, was displayed in a house in New Brunswick - at least until September 1917.

The Dead of Assiniboia

The memorial, which lists 39 dead from the First World War and 15 dead from the Second, was moved and repaired in 1982. The soldier had to be removed because of damage caused by vandals.

Help an old soldier

To make ends meet, ex-soldiers (and probably con artists impersonating ex-soldiers) sold postcards, booklets, trinkets - and calendars.

Old Boys in Brantford

Toronto's 84th Battalion was broken up in 1916 to provide reinforcements for other units, but its members continued to meet for years after the First World War ended.

Remembering the Sacrifice

A Form of Service from the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice in Rothesay, New Brunswick, remembering "men of the parish who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War".

Field Day

A program for a Field Day held "somewhere in France", containing competitors and events, held on the 30th of June 1917.

Proof of veteran status

The War Service Badge, and this certificate, which verified that the holder had the right to wear it, was intended to combat the problem of the fake veteran after the First World War. Henry Whyte of St George, Ontario, served with the 19th Battalion.

From soldier to veteran

When he was discharged in 1919, Leon Cantelon of Wingham, Ontario, almost immediately joined what was then Canada's largest ex-soldiers' group, the Great War Veterans' Association.

The war in Africa

This kind of exhibition was important in raising awareness of, and support for, military campaigns that drew little attention.

A Christmas menu

This hand-coloured menu may seem modest, but it would have represented a significant departure from a soldier's regular fare.