World War II

The YMCA at War

Postcards produced by the YMCA, such as this one showing members of the RCAF going into a YMCA hut at an airfield in England, were distributed free of charge to Canadians overseas.

Canadians in uniform

In this series from the Second World War, an Ottawa printer presented archetypes of young Canadian soldiers and airmen.

Knitting socks for soldiers

The label confirmed that "There is sufficient yarn in this ball to knit one pair of service socks."

Retour à la vie civile: le côté rationnel du rétablissement

With thousands of men returning from active service, guides like this aimed to smooth the transition back to peacetime. The information helped servicemen to understand what they might receive from the government upon demobilization, and what to do to reestablish themselves successfully in civilian life.

We Are Not Alone

This collection contains testimonies by dignitaries and officials of Allied countries that had suffered major defeats early in the war, including Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, Greece, and the Netherlands. The goal of such publications was to recount the struggles of these countries, and to remind citizens that these Allies were still fighting and supporting the war effort, albeit in different ways.

View PDF: PDF icon We Are Not Alone

Map Using

This coursebook prepared instructors in the Canadian Army to teach recruits how to use maps strategically in battle.

View PDF: PDF icon Map Using.pdf

"Ma's got a job making munitions"

The demands of the war required many women to take jobs in munitions and aircraft factories. This postcard reflects humorously on their transition from the home to the workplace.

View PDF: PDF icon Postcard Cake.pdf

A dance for the memorial

In 1949, students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, held a Valentine's Day dance to raise funds for the institution's Second World War memorial.

View PDF: PDF icon Sweetheart.pdf

Uniforms made easy

This identification booklet, intended for use by both civilians and service personnel, describes through drawings the uniforms of the three arms of the Canadian military.

Pusser Post

The "Pusser Post" was the provisional newspaper of HMCS Peregrine - "pusser" is navy slang for a ship's purser, or supply officer. The paper was compiled from contributions by the ship's personnel.

View PDF: PDF icon Pusser Post.pdf

Make the most of your meat ration

This pamphlet emphasizes preparation and preservation methods to extend one's meat ration.

View PDF: PDF icon Meat Ration.pdf

"The Lunch Box is on the march"

This pamphlet offers ideas for healthy lunches based on Canada's official food rules and food groups.

View PDF: PDF icon Lunch Box.pdf

Memorial Gates presentation at RCAF Trenton

The Memorial Gates at Trenton, Ontario, commemorating Canada's participation in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, were presented on 30 September 1949.

View PDF: PDF icon BCATP.pdf

Temporary ration card

During the Second World War, Canadians became accustomed to carrying coupons for most commodities, such as this temporary ration card.

A letter from captivity

Prisoners of war in Germany were permitted to send just two letter forms like this per month. This South African airmen used one of his to write to a friend who worked with the Canadian Red Cross Society.

Selling flowers for the war effort

In 1940, the Canadian Red Cross Society sold flowers at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, to raise money for its war work.

A cartoonist goes to war

Arthur LeMay was better known for his comic strip "Aventures de Timothée," but during the Second World War he turned his hand to propaganda cartoons to support the war effort.

View PDF: PDF icon LeMay.pdf

Eat like the RCAF

Inspired by a Royal Canadian Air Force film entitled "Training Tables," this booklet was aimed at improving nutritional standards by encouraging Canadian civilians to eat as well as the men and women in uniform.

View PDF: PDF icon What They Eat.pdf

Remembrance Day in Halifax

Although the Second World War had been in progress for over a year, the 1940 ceremony in the Nova Scotia capital was still focussed on the First World War.

View PDF: PDF icon Halifax 1940.pdf

Remembrance Day 1946

The 1946 ceremony in Ottawa was the first under Canada's new governor-general, Viscount Alexander of Tunis, who had been a senior Allied commander during the Second World War.