World War I

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

From Montreal to the Western Front

The formal group portrait was a ritual of service during the First World War. This draft of artillerymen, destined to reinforce units at the front, includes a number of men who appear far too young, and perhaps under the height restrictions, for military service.

A community honours its dead

When the Pugwash war memorial was unveiled in 1922, the souvenir booklet listed not only the area's dead, but those people who had donated to the memorial fund, as well the amounts.

The 48th Battalion CEF Association

The 48th Battalion was mobilized in Victoria, British Columbia, in November 1914 and was redesignated the 3rd Pioneer Battalion before reaching the Western Front in the spring of 1916. Veterans of the unit continued to meet for annual events into the 1950s.

Saving for the war

Carrying interest rates of between 5% and 5.5%, Canada's Victory Loans represented a sound investment, and an excellent opportunity to show patriotism by supporting the war effort.

How to listen to a military band

University professor John Daniel Logan offered a critical appraisal of the brass band of the 85th Battalion, surely the only First World War military band to receive such scholarly attention.

View PDF: 85th Bn band.pdf

"Brothers-in-Arms"

Presented to a school in Steinbach, Manitoba, as part of the War Memorial Library of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, this booklet told the story of Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African soldiers during the First World War.

Rebuilding after the Halifax Explosion

The Grove Presbyterian Church and the Kaye Street Methodist Church were destroyed in the Halifax Explosion of December 1917; after the war, parishioners united to build one church to serve both congregations.

View PDF: Common Sorrow.pdf

Another Christmas away from home

The menu was impressive, but the note at the bottom indicated that they might have to resort to tinned rations at the last minute.

"Servant of God, well done!"

Merton Crawford of New Brunswick enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles in March 1915, and went missing in action during the last weeks of the Somme campaign in 1916.

The Canadian Army Medical Corps wants men!

This recruiting card was typical in promising to get the volunteer to the front quickly, but unusual in offering valuable training for a postwar career.

Dominion Day in Ontario

This souvenir postcard included alternate Canadian lyrics to British standards, in honour of Canada's founding day.

Dr Scrimger, VC

This war savings stamp honoured Captain Francis Scrimger of Montreal, who won the Victoria Cross at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915.

"Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!"

For soldiers in training during the First World War, the gas mask was not so much a vital piece of battlefield equipment as an unusual accessory to be modeled in amusing photographs.

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