World War II

The grandest war song ever written

The fortunes of Britain's war effort were low when this song was published in 1941, and they would get lower the following year - no matter how proud the world was of England.

"They fly, they sing, as they rise on the wing"

This song probably reached Canadian stores during the Battle of Britain in 1940, when the defence of the British Isles from German bombing attacks fell to fighter pilots from Britain and the Empire.

V for Victory

"Dot dot dot dash" became one of the most recognizable identifiers of the Allied war effort, and could be found on countless kinds of consumer goods - including sheet music.

National registration comes to Canada

According to the 1940 legislation, everyone over the age of 16 was compelled to register with the federal government, giving their personal information and employment history, to provide an inventory of the available skills that might be mobilized for the war effort.

Officer-like Qualities

The object of this manual was to give the inexperienced Temporary Officer a sense of the qualities - knowledge, loyalty, firmness, fairness - at which he should aim.

View PDF: OLQ.pdf

From a mother to her son

In its sentiment and language, this sheet music could easily have come from the First World War - only the faint image of the tank on the cover places it in the Second World War.

VE Day in Edmonton

The Alberta capital celebrated victory in the war against Nazi Germany with a public service of thanksgiving in May 1945.

"Hitler - you'll feel much littler"

This song version of the famous military march "Colonel Bogey" was recorded by the Happy Gang, one of the most popular entertainment acts in Second World War Canada.

View PDF: Good Luck.pdf

The application of infantry fire-power

This mid-Second World War manual reminded soldiers of the requirements for effective infantry fire, including accuracy, fire discipline, and the ability to judge distance.

Dad's Army in Canada

In 1939, men who were too old for combatant service could enlist in one of a number of auxiliary formations, such as the Volunteer Civil Guard, which performed ceremonial and security duties in Thorold, Ontario, when necessary.

View PDF: Thorold VCG.pdf

"We're off to finish Hitler"

Although it was probably written in 1939, this song, with its professed joy at the coming of war, sounds more like 1914.

View PDF: For Freedom.pdf

News for the Canadian forces overseas

Distributed free to Canadians in uniform, this digest included snippets of news from across the country, with a healthy dose of sports.

"'Foreign' Canadians in the Present War"

This general-interest magazine, created by Polish-Canadian journalists in Toronto, was directed at Canadians whose ethnic heritage was neither English nor French.

"I is for Incendiary"

Poetry was put to many uses during the Second World War - including recruiting volunteers to be Air Raid Wardens.

Preparing for aerial attack

The response to an air raid on Thorold, Ontario, was planned with military precision, but the plans never had to be put into action.

View PDF: Thorold ARP.pdf

Enforcing the blackout

Although the danger of an air raid on Canada seemed slight, the Defence of Canada Regulations gave the authorities special powers to enforce a blackout during air raid drills.

Air raid on Toronto !

Filled out as part of a 1942 air raid drill, these reports revealed that imaginary bombs had been dropped at Castlewood and Roselawn, Glengrove and Duplex, and Roehampton and Banff - and that 534 Roselawn Avenue was on fire.

Alphamin - for the fighting man

"The health of a nation is one of its armaments" - and in the absence of a balanced diet because of wartime shortages, vitamin supplements were a way to keep the Allied war effort healthy.

View PDF: Alphamin.pdf

"Poems tragic, poems nostalgic"

The Second World War was a less poetic war than the First had been, but there were enough amateur poets in the Canadian army in Italy to fill this collection of poems, all of which had originally been published in the military newspaper "The Maple Leaf."

View PDF: Rhyme & Reason.pdf

The Allies at war

Published in England, this magazine highlighted the breadth of the Allied war effort, and particularly the wealth in natural resources of the British Empire, for French-speaking readers.

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