World War II

"Who are these boys in Navy Blue?"

James Mitchell of Waterdown, Ontario, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, carried around this poem in honour of Canada's seamen. It is believed to have been written by Leading Seaman Arthur Currie Stewart of Glen William, Prince Edward Island.

In praise of the "Buctouche"

This poem in honour of corvette K179, also known as HMCS Buctouche, was found in the papers of Canadian seaman James Mitchell of Waterdown, Ontario. It is believed to have been written by Leading Seaman Arthur Currie Stewart of Glen William, Prince Edward Island.

A financial dagger pointed at the heart of Berlin

Canada's third Victory Loan campaign - symbolized by a Commando dagger - aimed to raise $750 million; ultimately, $991 million was subscribed, thanks to some of the innovative measures suggested in this brochure.

Splendid Aircraft

This book, which combined full-colour artwork and detailed technical drawings, must have been a delight to children raised in an era when aviation occupied such a prominent place in popular culture.

Instructions for conscripts

Men who were called up for military service during the Second World War received explicit instructions on how to report and secure a medical examination.

"The first line of defense lies in the kitchen"

Originally intended to commemorate the Royal Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada in 1939, the book was not published until after the Second World War began. Among the contributors were Lady Tweedsmuir and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Turning ration stamps into healthy meals

Dedicated to "the Canadian Homemaker Whose Time is so Generously Devoted to the War Effort," this book offered hints on keeping the family fit, how to stretch the meat ration, wartime ingredient substitutions, "colourful salads in wartime menus," and desserts under rationing.

Missing home at Christmas

This unidentified gunner could have been spending his fourth Christmas away from his family, and might have had another three Christmases apart still to endure.

Radio security

Periodic amendments were made to the Field Service Pocket Book, a kind of military manual typically carried by officers. This one concerned the proper use of radios in the field.

View PDF: PDF icon FSP Signals.pdf

Stretching your rations with oats

This small recipe book provided suggestions for reducing the consumption of meat, butter, and sugar by using rolled oats in food preparation.

View PDF: PDF icon Robin Hood.pdf

An air letter from overseas

Air letters such as this one were distributed to servicemen and women in Britain, and were given priority in cargo space. Each person was allowed to send four air letters per month.

Buying alcohol in Quebec

Quebec regulations allowed adults over the age of twenty to purchase up to forty ounces of alcohol each fortnight; coupons became void once the date on them passed.

View PDF: PDF icon QC permit.pdf

The supply of toilets in wartime

Military needs took precedence during the Second World War, and this manufacturer of sinks, toilets, and bathroom fittings informed customers that they might not have their orders filled because of wartime demands.

A Christmas wish from Italy

This Christmas greeting, sent by a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons serving in Italy, was sent by V-Mail, a system of microfilming letters so they took up less shipping space.

Buying alcohol in Saskatchewan

William Hart was stationed in Winnipeg with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1944; when one flight took him to Saskatchewan, he was required to secure a provincial permit book for a single purchase of alcohol.

Permit for purchasing alcohol

The sale of liquor had been subject to controls long before the Second World War - the need for servicemen and women to carry a purchase permit merely added another layer of complexity.

Graduation dance, Edmonton

Number 4 ITS of the British Commonwealth Training Pan was located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

View PDF: PDF icon Course 81.pdf

News from the Salvation Army

This monthly newsletter detailed the extensive war work of the Salvation Army, from providing welcome centres for Canadians in uniform around the world to raising money for the Canadian War Services Fund.

View PDF: PDF icon Red Shield.pdf

Defending factories and businesses

Pamphlets like this one educated factory and business owners on their wartime responsibilities - both in terms of production and security. It was important that wartime production in Canada maintain an efficient pace and follow the proper security measures to prevent disaster should any industries be threatened by air raids or other domestic threats.

Victory Bond parade

The theme of the 7th Victory Loan campaign, which opened in October 1944, was "Invest in Victory." There were nine campaigns in total, and together they raised roughly $12 billion.