World War II

Having a fund-raiser?

During the Second World War, the federal government took control of all fund-raising activities and the organizers of any event were required to secure the appropriate permission from the Department of National War Services.

Sports and dancing for Vimy

Recreation was essential to the smooth running of a military base, so the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, stationed at Vimy Barracks in Kingston, Ontario, organized a sports day and dance every year.

Giving the gift of life

Donating blood was even more important in wartime than peacetime, because of the need for "emergency transfusions to those of His Majesty's Forces or civilians who are war casualties."

A Victory Loan donor

The Second World War ended in August 1945, but the 9th Victory Loan continued to attract support from Canadians in October and November.

Window shopping in wartime

These photographs, possibly taken in Vancouver, show a store window given over to advertising in support of War Savings Stamps.

Carry on, Canada!

The imagery on the postcard might seem more suited to the First World War than the Second, but it indicates the strength of imperial sentiment through the 1940s.

Twenty blood donations

During the Second World War, giving blood was a patriotic act, and twenty donations earned Mark Laversohn a special certificate.

The need for blood

Thanks to advances in blood transfusion practice and technology during the First World War, blood could be stored and shipped more safely during the Second World War - and therefore there was a greater need for blood donors.

Wartime work in Listowel

Founded in December 1941, the Listowel Wartime Men's Association was involved in a variety of charitable causes. In this case, it thanked a local businessman for donating to the war effort a week's receipts from the Capitol Theatre.

Preparing for the "Cease Fire"

In 1940, the Canadian Legion War Services launched a fund-raising drive to support the educational and social work it was doing with men in uniform, to help prepare them for the day when they would return to civilian jobs.

View PDF: Help Plan.pdf

"Propaganda against Propaganda"

Lawrence Hunt was a New York lawyer who emerged as a critic of American isolationism in the Second World War. His writings were published widely in the British Empire and he was a popular speaker on the wartime lecture circuit.

Being a careful shopper

This modest pamphlet, published in Saint John, New Brunswick, was one of many that combined advertising with tips for women on how to cope with wartime shortages.

View PDF: Homemaker.pdf

Helping out on the farm

With so many labourers in uniform during the Second World War, Ontario's farmers desperately needed workers to help bring in the harvest - hence this appeal to "store keepers, professional men, retired folk, industrial workers, housewives and young men at home."

View PDF: Farm Commando.pdf

An Amish Mennonite at war

In December 1941 Earlus Gascho of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, declared himself a conscientious objector on the basis of his membership in the Baden-Wilmot Congregation of the Amish Mennonite Church. This correspondence deals with his arrangements for alternative service.

View PDF: Gascho.pdf

Strategic minerals

The workers of HBM&S processed zinc, copper, and cadmium, and their company magazine not only kept them current on news around the company, but also reminded them that their work was essential to the war effort.

Cross, rifle, and maple leaf

Military, religious, and national symbols mingled in this postcard produced during the Second World War for the Quebec market.

Welcome home to Manitoba

Tokens like this card were common after the First World War, but less so after the Second. It is also unusual in mentioning returning prisoners of war and those who had fallen sick.

Graduating navigators and bomb aimers

The wings ceremony was an important milestone for airmen in training, a public acknowledgement that they had mastered their trade. This course, at a school operated by Canadian Pacific Air Lines, was unusual in having so many Polish airmen.

View PDF: 1AOS.pdf

Fighting the war by feeding the family

Everything was militarized during the Second World War, including the household economy. Women became "housoldiers" whose job was to prepare "appetizing and nourishing meals that protect and preserve the health of their families."

View PDF: Housoldiers.pdf

Preparing for war

Issued at the beginning of the Second World War, this British manual (reprinted for Canada) covered only the most basic elements of training for war, including a series of games that could provide instruction in field-craft.

View PDF: ATM 24 War.pdf

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