World War I

Voting in Ontario

Wartime elections meant a new class of voters: those in uniform. In Ontario, the franchise was extended to men who were not normally allowed to vote, including those under the age of twenty-one and members of the First Nations, provided they were serving in the military.

"You have in explosives a good servant"

In this book, Sergeant Coleman of the Royal Canadian Regiment sought to augment the short time given to grenade training by providing practical hints on handling, arming, throwing, and making various kinds of bombs for use in trench warfare.

View PDF: Bombs.pdf

Are you physically fit?

According to these regulations, medical requirements for volunteers to the CEF were fairly stringent. In practice, the need for manpower meant that many serious medical conditions were "overlooked".

The good old 18th

In 1919, the members of London's Women's Canadian Club held a dinner for the returning 18th Battalion, just as they had done when the unit left London in 1914. Among the celebrities on hand were Sir Adam Beck and Hume Cronyn, MP.

How to survive in the trenches

This booklet, written with the benefit of three years of experience with trench warfare, covered everything from gas discipline to rum rations.

Killing at close quarters

This training manual stressed that effective bayonet fighting required "Good Direction, Strength and Quickness, during a state of wild excitement and probably physical exhaustion."

"Are my men full of keenness?"

Just a few months before the attack on Vimy Ridge, Canadian Corps commander Lord Byng showed as much interest in the comfort of his soldiers as he did in tactics - and encouraged his officers to do the same.

Another Victory Loan

To prepare people to support the last Victory Loan, organizers in Nova Scotia outlined how their previous investments had been spent.

A soldier's paybook

Harry Catling, a thirteen-year veteran of the British Army, left Canada for England as a reservist as soon as the First World War began, returned to Canada when his term of service expired in 1916, and promptly enlisted in the Canadian Army Service Corps in Toronto.

To our heroes, the boys in khaki

This concert, typical of wartime patriotic events, featured musical selections from local artists and one of the city's military bands and a lecture entitled "On land and sea, with our veterans."

America's Answer to "In Flanders Fields"

John McCrae's famous poem inspired countless responses, including this one by R.W. Lillard, reprinted in a leaflet distributed at an exhibition of captured war trophies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A tailor looks for work

To assist ex-soldiers in finding work, the federal government provided introduction cards to be given to prospective employers. Henry Royle of Vancouver was interested in resuming his prewar trade: tailoring.

Missing at Regina Trench

Frank Elvin of Guelph, Ontario, was not yet twenty years old when he went missing in action in the last stages of the Battle of the Somme in October 1916. The date on the card likely refers to the date that official notification reached his family.

View PDF: Elvin card.pdf

Machine gunners in Winnipeg

In this amusing souvenir program, officer of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps used their wartime experiences as a source of humour.

The democracy of death

Established in 1922, the Regina Soldiers Cemetery held the remains of over 300 men and women - guarded by two German field guns captured in battle.

Mobilizing the charitable sector

This handy booklet contained instructions on how to make items for Canadians uniform, but also how to mail them and which charitable organizations were responsible for various activities.

The 1917 Victory Loan campaign

This booklet stressed that money generated in the 1917 Victory Loan campaign would only be spent for war purposes, and would only be spent in Canada.

A returned soldier - poet

Already nearly fifty years of age when he enlisted in the 193rd Battalion, Stanley Fullerton of Amherst, Nova Scotia, was plagued by ill health while in uniform and never got closer to the front than England.

A little known war poet

Nova Scotian John Bradford served as a conducting officer during the First World War, but his poetry turned to more unusual subjects, such as Armenian refugees and the story of a horse that was killed in action at the front.

View PDF: Blind Soldier.pdf

Returning to Vimy Ridge

This bilingual booklet was available for battlefield tourists four years before the Vimy Memorial was unveiled, and remained in distribution until invading Nazi armies in 1940 confiscated the remaining stock of copies.

View PDF: Vimy.pdf

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