World War I

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.

Souvenir of an overseas voyage

Early in the war, soldiers going overseas might be given a souvenir like this. As the war dragged on and sailings became increasingly more frequent, they disappeared from the scene.

For Victory Loan donors

The Victory Loan drive was a staple in wartime Canada, as were the receipts given to people who pledged support.

Payments from a soldier-settler

British immigrant Percy Thomas enlisted in Toronto in 1916 and, after he was demobilized, received land from the government's Soldier Settlement Board. Receipts show him repaying the debt into the early 1930s.

Conscription comes to Canada, 1917

This handbill, intended to be widely distributed and posted in public buildings, provided instructions for unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 34 to report for service or lodge a claim for exemption.

Six Bits

The 75th Battalion drew from the Toronto area, and its association newspaper celebrated its war exploits and the postwar achievements of its members.

View PDF: Six Bits.pdf

Militia Orders 1917

Promulgated in Ottawa, the Militia Orders covered a wide range of subjects, including appointments and postings, stores and clothing, certificates gained by militia officers, administrative staffs, and cadet services.

Militia Orders 1914

Promulgated in Ottawa, the Militia Orders covered a wide range of subjects, including appointments and postings, stores and clothing, certificates gained by militia officers, administrative staffs, and cadet services.

"Overseas in 1914"

This reunion was organized by the Originals Club, founded in 1918 to bring together men who had gone overseas with the original 1st Division. There is an unmistakeable note of nostalgia in its description of the war years and the legacies of service.

Dedicated to fellow stretcher-bearers

Albert Drummond was a nurse in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when he joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps in December 1916. He eventually served overseas with the 15th Canadian Field Ambulance. Judging by the titles of the poems, this volume was probably published in 1917.

"Tonight is the Canada night"

The Canadian 1st Division had its baptism of fire at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915, and its stout defense against the German gas attacks drew praise throughout the Allied world, including in a special memorial service in St Paul's Cathedral, with a sermon delivered by Arthur Winnington-Ingram, the Bishop of London.

View PDF: Life for Ever.pdf

Getting them back to work

The First World War left in its wake an unprecedented number of disabled ex-soldiers, and the Canadian government struggled to provide meaningful job training for them. Later renamed the Invalided Soldiers Commission, the Vocational Branch published a circular with book reviews, reports on training initiatives in different cities, and lists of jobs that might be suitable for a retrained veteran.

The Canadian Corps in Port Colborne

The Canadian Corps Association was founded after the Corps reunion in Toronto in 1934, and a few branches still exist in Canada, the membership rolls bolstered by descendants of originals of the Canadian Corps and veterans of later wars.

Lost in the mail

Everything had to be accounted for in wartime - even chamois vests bought by Canadian soldiers that were lost in transit.

A camera at the front

One of the many publications of Lord Beaverbrook's Canadian War Records Office, this magazine featured the work of Canada's official photographers, and was billed as both propaganda and history.

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