World War II

Training in barbed wire

Given the importance of barbed wire during the First World War, it came as no surprise that in the Second World War there would be considerable emphasis on instructing soldiers in its use.

Notes for new military instructors

With the rapid expansion of the military early in the Second World War, there was a need for a manual such as this, with basic guidelines for officers and NCOs who had never before been involved in instructional duties.

The Kangaroos in battle

The 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, nicknamed the Kangaroos because its vehicles were intended to carry infantrymen, published this history of its participation in the campaign in north-west Europe after the Second World War, when the unit was stationed in the Netherlands.

View PDF: PDF icon Kangaroos.pdf

Canada At War: A Summary of Canada's Part in the War, October 1st, 1941

The "Canada at War" series was intended to serve as up-to-date source material for speakers and for citizens desiring information about Canada's participation in the war. It was revised and issued monthly, containing the most recent available facts and figures.

Bingo for soldiers

Bingo was just one of the many means used to raise money to supply soldiers overseas with cigarettes.

Canada's War Effort

One of the many commemorative covers honouring the Canadian effort during the Second World War.

Can We Return to Freedom?

In June 1942 J.M. MacDonnell, a decorated veteran of the First World War, addressed a business group on the implications of wartime economic controls.

The Navy's Here

This patriotic cover, with the warship and crossed ensigns, honoured the Royal Canadian navy.

Canada's flags in wartime

These images, distributed in boxes of cereal, showed some of the flags of the Commonwealth's war effort.

Inspecting mail for cash

To prevent the drain of US currency from Canada, the government had the power to open mail to ensure that money was not being exported without permission.

Making the Ram tank

This stamp honoured the manufacture of Ram tanks in Canada, and used a First World War phrase to do so.

A shipment of cigarettes

Cigarettes could be ordered direct from the manufacturer in Canada and shipped to a soldier overseas for just $1 per 300 cigarettes, or $2.50 per thousand.

Bombers for Victory

Another of the many special covers sold in wartime, this one with a V-shaped bomber formation and a V for Victory Morse code cancellation.

Churchill's V for Victory

When this cover was mailed in July 1942, the tide of the war had not actually turned yet - but at least the Allies had come to, as Winston Churchill would say, "the end of the beginning."

Three strikes against the enemy

Victory was a constant theme in Second World War advertising.

Shipping pulp to Minnesota

The shipment of industrial materials was carefully regulated during the Second World War, especially when they were crossing an international border. Unbleached sulphite pulp is an ingredient used to make paper.

Full speed ahead

The stamp and cachet on this first day cover honoured Canadian-made corvettes, which were vital as convoy escorts during the Second World War.

Flying for Freedom

This first day cover for a Canadian airmail stamp featured the ensign of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Buy British goods

To ease the strain on Canada's currency, Canadians during the Second World War were urged to buy British goods, rather than American, whenever possible.

Speed the Victory!

Every imaginable device, such as this ink blotter, was used to promote the sale of Victory Bonds during the Second World War.