World War II

War Savings Stamps at Christmas

This Christmas card, produced by the federal government during the Second World War, was intended to make it easy for Canadians to support the war effort through War Savings Stamps.

View PDF: PDF icon xmascardstamps.pdf

Salvation Army Hotel for Soldiers, London

During the Second World War, the Salvation Army operated dozens of rest facilities for Canadians in uniform, like this one in London's former West Central Hotel.

Fighting on all fronts

These postcards of Canadians in uniform during the Second World War used official government photographs provided by the Department of Public Information.

Satirizing military life

An Ottawa printer released this series of humorous postcards that poked fun at military life during the Second World War.

Canadians Awake! Our Land's At Stake!

Franked in 1941 with the distinctive "V for Victory" postmark, this commemorative cover was auctioned to raise money for British war victims.

News of the Fighting French

This magazine, printed in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, provided news of the war work of the Free French movement, led by Charles de Gaulle.

Permission to marry, 1939

Private Harold Drake, like all soldiers, was required to seek the permission of his Commanding Officer to marry, and had to provide supporting documents as well.

Messages to the troops before the Normandy invasion

These messages were conveyed to all Canadian units on the eve of the D-Day landings in 1944.

Chips and airplanes

Distributed with potato chips as a product premium during the Second World War, these cards depicted famous Allied aircraft: Hawker Hurricane: Supermarine Spitfire; Bristol Blenheim IV; Blackburn Skua; Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk; Bell Airacobra; Lockheed B-14 Hudson; North American NA-73; Bristol Beaufort; Sunderland Flying Boat; Avro Anson; Fairey Swordfish; Blackburn Roc; Consolidated B-24; Douglas DB-7 Boston; Vickers-Armstrong Wellington; Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley IV; North American Harvard; Westland Lysander; Vickers-Armstrong Stranraer; Lockheed P-38; Fairey Battle; Boeing B-17E; Brewster Buffalo; Grumann XF4F-1; Consolidated model 28; Martin 167; Fleet model 60; Miles Master.

Decorations and ranks

These Second World War collector cards, distributed by Toronto candy maker Robertson Brothers, showed military honours and rank insignia: Order of St Michael and St George; Royal Red Cross; South African Medal; Conspicuous Gallantry Medal; Naval General Service Medal; Order of the British Empire; Distinguished Flying Cross; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal; Croix de Guerre; British Victory Medal; Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field; Distinguished Flying Medal; Order of Merit; Air Force Cross; Distinguished Service Medal.

Buy starch, get airplanes

These illustrations of Allied aircraft were distributed by the Canada Starch Company as a product premium during the Second World War.

Marine Bubble Gum series

This Second World War bubble gum card series showing Allied naval vessels was distributed before May 1941, when HMS Hood was sunk in the Atlantic Ocean: HMS Warspite; HMS Jersey; HMIS Hindustan; HMS Illustrious; HMS Aurora; HMS Erebus; HMS Wolfhound; HMS Barham; HMS Belfast; HMS Hood; HMS Penelope; HMAS Adelaide; HMCS St Laurent; HMS Hawkins; HMCS Saguenay; HMS Faulknor; HMS Emerald; HMS Witch.

Empire Defenders series

This Second World War cigarette card shows soldiers digging in under enemy fire.

Give to the Hitler War Fund

This card is typical of the irreverent humour favoured by soldiers during the Second World War.

Badges of Canadian units

William Scully Ltd., a Montreal manufacturer of military badges, issued this series of regimental postcards early in the Second World War: Royal Canadian Artillery; Canadian Grenadier Guards; 6th Duke of Connaught's Royal Canadian Hussars; Royal Canadian Corps of Signals; Royal Montreal Regiment; Loyola College Contingent, Canadian Officers' Training Corps; McGill University Contingent, Canadian Officers' Training Corps; Les Fusiliers Mont Royal; Royal Canadian Air Force; Royal Canadian Army Service Corps; Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers; Regiment de Maisonneuve; Le Contingent de l'Université de Montréal Corps École d’officiers Canadiens.

Field Service Postcard

The Field Service Postcard came into use during the First World War, as a way to speed mail delivery by reducing the time needed for censorship.

Hitler’s Christmas Present

This card, saved by a Canadian soldier serving in the campaign in north-west Europe in 1944-45, is typical of the irreverent humour favoured by soldiers during the Second World War.

View PDF: PDF icon xmascardhitler.pdf

Cameras and Photography

Photography was subject to government controls during the Second World War, for tourists and locals alike.

View PDF: PDF icon canadacameras.pdf

Camp Borden Military Theatre

Soldiers training at Camp Borden, Ontario, during the Second World War had a wide range of entertainment options available.

Buy Victory Bonds

This ink blotter was distributed during one of the Victory Loan campaigns of the Second World War.