World War I

Training at Vernon, British Columbia

During the First World War, it was customary for a unit to decorate the entrance to its training encampment, as these images from Vernon, British Columbia, show. The 158th Battalion was from Vancouver, the 172nd Battalion from Kamloops, and the 131st and 121st Battalions from New Westminster, British Columbia. The card showing the 172nd Battalion camp was mailed in August 1916 by Leonard Adams of Pentiction, who was killed in action at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

The Boys of the 134th Battalion

This postcard was one of a series aimed at the families of Canadian soldiers during the First World War. The 134th Battalion was affiliated with Toronto's 48th Highlanders.

Help for Ontario veterans

After the First World War, the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment's Ontario branches offered employment assistance to veterans.

View PDF: PDF icon Ontario DSCR.pdf

Registration of Andrew Woelfle, Paisley

During the First World War, all adult Canadians were required to carry a certificate confirming that they had been "registered for national purposes."

Veteran's ticket for YMCA

Distributed to demobilized soldiers by the YMCA, this card allowed them to use the Association's facilities for six months after they returned home.

A Birmingham war bride, 1917

The wedding photo of a woman from Handsworth, near Birmingham, and a gunner of the Canadian Field Artillery in December 1917.

Join the 150th Battalion!

"There's lots happening here - join us in the 150th Battalion" - a recruiting postcard drawn by artist Louis Keene and sent from Amherst, Nova Scotia, where the Montreal unit was training.

Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, war memorial

The Royal Canadian Legion branch in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, unveiled its war memorial at this service in 1937.

View PDF: PDF icon Bridgetown.pdf

Soldier poetry

This little booklet was sold by ex-soldiers to raise money - it can be found in various versions, each carrying a different cover and "author."

View PDF: PDF icon Nixon - Verses.pdf

Colours of the 115th Battalion

The last act in the life of a military unit is the laying up of its colours, an honour that is done with great ceremony.

Canada feeds the Allies

This 1918 pamphlet outlined the extent of Canada's agricultural contribution to feeding the Allied nations in the First World War.

Red Triangle Tours of London

The YMCA offered sightseeing tours of London to Canadians in uniform through its Beaver Hut in The Strand.

View PDF: PDF icon YMCA.pdf

Knight of Columbus Catholic Army Huts

The Knights was one of the many aid organizations that provided comforts to Canadian soldiers returning home at the end of the First World War.

Canadian Pacific Railway war memorial

The CPR erected three identical war memorials in its main stations in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. A hand-written note on the back of this postcard reads "Folks who have lost put fresh flowers on in memory."

Canadian gunners in St Lucia

This dance card belonged to a Canadian gunner whose unit spent part of the First World War on garrison duties on the Caribbean island of St Lucia.

Struck off treatment strength, 1920

This document indicated that Edward Robertson, a Vancouver logger who enlisted in the 158th Battalion in May 1916, had completed medical treatment through the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment.

Christmas Greetings from the CEF

These cards were typical of the commercial greeting cards sold to Canadian soldiers in Britain during the First World War.

Welcome Home to Regina

The Returned Soldiers' Welcome and Aid League distributed these cards to soldiers returning to Regina, Saskatchewan, at the end of the First World War.

Welcome Home to Halifax

The Canadian Red Cross Society, the Knights of Columbus, the YMCA, and the Halifax Citizens Committee distributed these cards to soldiers returning to Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the end of the First World War.

War relics at Annapolis Royal

After the First World War, Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, featured an extensive display of wartime artifacts, including a German 105mm field gun that had been captured by Canadian units.