World War II

The King and Queen remain

The decision of the Royal Family to remain in London in spite of the German bombing offensive against Britain was enormously popular throughout the Allied world. This song, introduced to Canada by The Happy Gang, included a poem by Edna Jaques in honour of Queen Elizabeth.

"Sail on to Victory"

This popular song, by the composers of "There'll Always Be An England," put the Second World War Royal Navy in the context of great naval heroes of the past: Drake, Nelson, Beatty, and Fisher.

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Canada's future imagined

Part patriotic anthem, part hymn, Webster's work reflected enormous optimism at a time when Canada had just entered its second world war in a generation.

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Waiting for a soldier sweetheart

Dedicated to "the Brave Boys of our Fighting Forces," Bussell's song was one of many that looked forward to the return of Canada's men in uniform.

View PDF: PDF icon Soldier Boy.pdf

"Thumbs up in true British spirit!"

The lyrics make no direct reference to the Battle of Britain that was fought in the summer and fall of 1940, but the image of the jaunty pilot would have reminded people of The Few, the small group of Allied fighter pilots who defended Britain against German air attacks.

View PDF: PDF icon Thumbs Up.pdf

Manitoba Calling

The monthly magazine of Manitoba's government-run radio network was always full of wartime material: letters from staff members on active service, stories of fund-raising efforts, features on the BBC's reportage from the front, the work of the Canadian Red Cross and other voluntary organizations, and human interest stories covering different aspects of the war effort.

Keeping an eye on prices

To combat inflation during the Second World War, the federal government imposed controls on wages and prices. These booklets were distributed widely to women so they could keep track of prices while shopping; stores that appeared to be charging above the price ceiling were to be reported to one of thirteen Women's Regional Advisory Committees for investigation.

Welcoming the Westies home

British Columbia's Westminster Regiment fought in Italy and north-west Europe during the Second World War. It returned home to New Westminster in January 1946, having lost 134 men to enemy action.

A high school dance

It was only 1942, but high schools students in Arthur, Ontario, decided to begin their evening's dance program with a Victory Dance.

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A Victory Dance

A police unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force celebrated the end of the Second World War in Europe in style - with a dance and buffet.

Knitting socks for soldiers

One only has to read their letters and diaries to see how important socks were to soldiers, and it was just as important to Canadians to be able to supply them. The fact that this knitting instruction sheet, preserved by Charlotte Halls of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is so well worn suggests that it was used frequently, and perhaps passed through many hands during the Second World War.

"There'll Always Be An England"

This patriotic postcard of the Second World War used a line from Vera Lynn's famous song. Other cards in the series offered equally stirring images.

A student supports the Victory Loan

Ontario high school student Ross Densmore was one of tens of thousands of subscribers to the 1944 Victory Loan, the seventh such campaign in Canada during the Second World War.

Carrying the Tools to Britain

This game was designed, probably in 1942, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation "to enable listeners of all ages to better visualize the mobilization of this country's vast resources in the gigantic war effort in which we are now engaged."

Raising funds for a war memorial

After the Second World War, Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia launched a campaign to raise money for scholarships and improvements to the school, to honour former students who had been killed while in uniform.

Recipe ideas from BC Electric

Wartime rationing made it difficult to prepare tasty and varied meals, but in these pamphlets British Columbia Electric had some suggestions for Christmas dinners, entertaining on special occasions, and quick meals for "the business woman and war workers, for housewives who give much of their time to patriotic work."

For Catholics in uniform

Published by the Canadian Forces' Chaplain's Aid, this bilingual magazine featured secular as well as religious content: messages from Catholic clerics, news on the work of chaplains in various theatres of operations, a sports column, and, in this issue, an article on the problem of venereal disease.

Message from a prisoner of war

Elmer McKnight of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was one of three brothers captured by the Japanese in Hong Kong in December 1941. Later, they formed a band in captivity and their rendition of this song was played during a Japanese propaganda radio broadcast. It was heard in Canada, where Gordon Thompson eventually published it, with all proceeds going into a trust fund for the McKnight brothers when they returned to Winnipeg after the war.

Canadian Defence: What We Have to Defend

Interested in adult education, the Kelsey Club in collaboration with the newly formed Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, provided this series of discussions on the subject of Canadian defence. Each discussion is led by a prominent individual; contributors include J.W. Dafoe and J.S. Woodsworth.

The Spirit of Freedom

Sadly, nothing is known about this piece of music or the woman who registered it in Canada for copyright purposes in 1941.