World War I

The Canadian War

This masthead of this First World War magazine told readers everything they needed to know about its editorial position: "Patriotism - Union - Victory ; Written and Edited Without Remuneration ; Devoted Entirely to Propaganda for the War."

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: PDF icon Cairns dinner.pdf

Honouring veterans in Toronto

This concert, which featured something called a Biscuit Tin Solo by Sergeant A.E. Blake, was one of the first events organized in Toronto by the Great War Veterans' Association.

"We are jolly glad to go"

Lorne Mulloy lost his sight in the Boer War, and became famous in Canada as The Blind Trooper. During the First World War, his wife Jean achieved a level of celebrity as a composer of patriotic songs.

View PDF: PDF icon Johnnie Canuck.pdf

Mother Britain and her children

This song offered a version of the Mother Britain theme, envisioning Great Britain as an elderly dowager with "many sons and daughters / Scattered far across the waters" who would come to her aid in time of war.

View PDF: PDF icon Dear Old Lady.pdf

"The Canuck maid who is ne'er afraid"

This privately-published song envisioned the women of Canada in the firing line with their men, because they can "carry a gun good as any mother's son."

Anthems of the Allies

Very early in the First World War, a Canadian publisher released this collection of national anthems of the Allied nations, Great Britain and the Dominions, Belgium, France, Japan, Russia, and Serbia. It included both "O Canada" and "The Maple Leaf Forever."

View PDF: PDF icon National Songs.pdf

Fighting together

This otherwise conventional patriotic song is noteworthy for its reference to the Canadian mosaic, "where nations are all mixed."

A march for Valcartier

Valcartier, Quebec, where the first Canadian units gathered before proceeding overseas in 1914, was well known outside of Canada, as this work by a composer in the United States suggests.

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: PDF icon 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.

Recruiting in Toronto

Before the First World War was twelve months old, citizens' recruiting groups had swung into action to ensure that there were sufficient numbers of volunteers coming forward to reinforce Canadian units at the front.

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.

"In Memory of Those Sons of the Empire"

Veterans in Morden, Manitoba, organized an annual service "In Memory of Those Sons of the Empire Who Gave Their Lives for Their King and Country in Great War and Other Campaigns."

Decoration Day in Manitoba

The Decoration Day service in Manitou, Manitoba, had been started by the local branch of the Great War Veterans Association, and was carried on by its successor, the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League.

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: PDF icon Morden WM.pdf

Helping POWs

Canadians were determined fund-raisers in both world wars, and at any given time energetic groups were trying to raise money for dozens of different causes. This raffle was probably to send food parcels to Canadian prisoners of war in Germany.

Montreal newspapers look back at the First World War

To mark its first half-century, the Montreal "Star" produced this booklet relating the newspaper's history, but devoting most of its space to the First World War - flags of the Allied nations, awards and decorations, important dates, and photographs of leading Allied generals.

View PDF: PDF icon Fifty Years.pdf