World War II

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.

On Leave in London

The soldier on leave could find much to do in London, and the YMCA was there to provide information and assistance with accommodations, meals, and entertainment.

Hockey dominates the news pages

The newspaper of HMCS York, billed as "Canada's No. 1 Navy Weekly", was dominated by sports news, with war bulletins and political news items thrown in for good measure.

View PDF: Yorker.pdf

A smooth transition

These instructions, for military personnel from the Hamilton and Niagara regions, dealt with practical matters such as pay, clothing, and transportation, but also warned returning soldiers, "Don't take V.D. home."

The British Empire comes to Britain

During the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of men and women came to Britain from all parts of the British Empire, necessitating a massive volunteer effort to ensure that they were well taken care of while on leave and had as little opportunity as possible for getting into trouble.

D-Day ... ten years after

On the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, veterans in Gravenhurst, Ontario, organized a church service to mark the occasion.

Music of the New World

Broadcast on the CBC from 17 August to 5 October 1944, this weekly program highlighted the work of Canadian composers such as Healey Willan, J.J. Weinzweig, J.J. Gagnier, and Alexander Brott.

A home away from home in Scotland

The Scottish Rest Home for Serviceman, which this Toronto soldier visited in 1942, was opened by the Rotary Club of Edinburgh in June 1940; two years later, over 30,000 servicemen had already stayed there.

Speed the victory!

This postcard was sent to a soldier, likely by his former co-workers in Wallaceburg, Ontario, to celebrate their success in the 1943 Victory Bond campaign.

To all who served

Part of the Veterans Charter that emerged from the Second World War was low-cost life insurance for veterans and their families - as explained in this short booklet.

View PDF: What's Ahead.pdf

How to have a happy and efficient ship

Managing seamen, who were typically divided into four Divisions (Forecastle, Foretop, Maintop, and Quarterdeck), relied heavily on an officer's unselfishness, humour, and common sense - the main principles underlying this training manual.

"Knitted articles for all branches of the service"

In successive editions of this pamphlet, it is possible to see changing understandings of what men and women in uniform needed in the way of knitted articles.

"Smiles will never be rationed"

The Happy Gang was one of the most popular entertainment groups of the 1940s, and considered its material to be ammunition for the "'second front' at home, the Fun Front."

View PDF: Happy Gang.pdf

The Irish Soldier Poet

Al Pat or "the Irish soldier poet" had served in the infantry in the First World War, and wrote about his experiences in a collection called "Rhymes of an Old War Horse." A sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, he also published this volume of rough doggerel about life on various Canadian airfields.

View PDF: Bang.pdf

What if I lose my job?

The Second World War brought many changes to Canada, including the advent of a program of unemployment insurance. This booklet explained what was, at the time, a revolutionary system of social welfare.

View PDF: Unemp Ins Eng.pdf

"In the interests of Mechanical Maintenance"

CAM was a kind of bible for Canadian military mechanics during the Second World War - but it's equally notable for its fine graphic art covers.

"A fighting navy that holds our foe at bay"

At the end of the Second World War, this amateur poet from Nova Scotia published a verse tribute to the Royal Canadian Navy, and to its political chief, Angus L. Macdonald.

View PDF: Calling Canada.pdf

The war at a glance

This fund-raising map brochure, likely from 1942, offered a compendium of useful information on the nations at war, their weapons, and the territory that was being contested.

Canloan officers

Heavy losses among British infantry officers necessitated the creation of a program to loan trained Canadian officers, of which there was an ample supply, to British units in the field.

The Quebec Conference

In August 1943, Canada played host to US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and a host of important commanders and civil servants from the Allied nations to plan the next phase of the war against Germany and Japan.

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