World War II

Come to Canada Corner

The Knights of Columbus operated a hospitality bureau in Paris for Canadians on leave. Staffed by English-speaking volunteers, "Canada Corner" could arrange sightseeing trips, golf games, theatre nights - one soldier even got to have dinner with a French countess.

The YMCA at war

Using a fictional soldier from Yourtown, Canada, this booklet offered a summary of the breadth of YMCA activities during the Second World War.

View PDF: PDF icon Arthur Jones.pdf

Cash payments for veterans

To address one of the most pressing demands of Great War veterans, the Canadian government during the Second World War passed the War Service Grants Act, which gave all veterans a lump sum cash payment based on their length and place of service, rank, and family size.

View PDF: PDF icon WSG 1944.pdf

Loose lips sink ships

In this mini-poster, a Canadian seaman urges people to keep quiet - inadvertently revealing sensitive military information might lead to the sinking of his ship.

Army, Navy and Air Force

This lettercard, published early in the Second World War, gave users a thumbnail sketch of the three services and described Canada's Battle Flag, shown in the background.

The Red Cross Corps at work

This postcard, sold to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross Society, illustrates the work of the Red Cross Corps on behalf of prisoners of war.

Birthday in the clink

Second World War cartoons poked fun at serious subjects, such as military discipline, equipment problems, and the rules and regulations that governed military life.

Buy Canadian

This decal, probably intended to be affixed in a store window, reminded consumers that buying Canadian goods supported local workers and helped shore up the currency at the same time.

An airman's keepsakes

John Bridgman of Roseland, Ontario, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 and qualified as a bomb aimer at #9 Air Observer School in St Johns, Quebec. Amongst his wartime souvenirs are a certificate indicating that he had completed a tour of operations and aerial photographs taken on some of the bombing raids in which he participated.

Safeguarding your home from fire bombs

Because the German Luftwaffe had used incendiary bombs with such devastating effect on Warsaw, Rotterdam, and London, Canadians were advised to be prepared for such attacks on their homes and businesses.

Save while supporting the war

During the Second World War, even children were asked to support the war effort. A child could buy War Savings Stamps for 25 cents each; after saving $4 worth of stamps and sending this form to the federal government, the child would receive a War Savings Certificate worth $5.

Another war, another Remembrance Day

John Bridgman served with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War, and was wounded and evacuated home to Saskatchewan in 1917. Nearly thirty years later, he spoke at a Remembrance Day assembly in London, Ontario, and told high school students of his experiences during the war.

Infantry Training, Part 1: The Infantry Battalion (1944)

Infantry Training, Part I: The Infantry Battalion

The UK War Office produced and issued a series of short training manuals used by both the British and Canadian armies. Collectively, these manuals established the doctrine, or tactical procedures, for both armies throughout the war. This 1944 manual concerns the operation of the infantry battalion.

Clothes for the fashionable soldier ...

Knitting was an enormously popular activity for volunteers, with books such as this one providing patterns for everything from steel helmet caps to amputation covers.

Coupons for food

During the Second World War, Canadians became accustomed to rationing, which forced them to submit coupons in order to purchase commodities that the government had designated as scarce.

From Hamilton to war

John “Jack” Smith was born in Scotland in 1906 and came to Canada as a teenager. He enlisted early in the Second World War, serving in the 5th Field Ambulance of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. While he was overseas, he sent snapshots and other souvenirs of his travels to his family in Hamilton, Ontario, to show them the more mundane parts of serving in the army: field exercises, barracks life, an inspection by the King and Queen, and the surroundings in Spitzbergen, Russia, where he was posted for a short time in 1941. Jack Smith returned to Canada after the war and died in 1985.

Infantry Training, Part VII, Section and Platoon Tactics

The UK War Office produced and issued a series of short training manuals used by both the British and Canadian armies. Collectively, these manuals established the doctrine, or tactical procedures, for both armies throughout the war. This 1944 manual on the tactics of small units reflected the experience gained in North Africa and Italy.

Driving in a blackout

To achieve an effective blackout, the BC government issued this pamphlet to instruct drivers on modifying their cars, motorcycles, and bicycles by masking the headlights.

View PDF: PDF icon Traffic.pdf

Helping Britain's schools

In response to the German bombing of British cities that began in 1940, teachers in British Columbia established a fund to aid children and teachers whose homes and schools had been destroyed.

View PDF: PDF icon BCTF.pdf

Turning your home into an air raid shelter

While it admitted that the possibility of an enemy air attack on Canadian soil was very remote, the federal government nevertheless advised Canadians to be prepared, by ensuring that their homes offered the maximum protection against bombs.

View PDF: PDF icon Home ARP.pdf