World War II

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

Legitimate veterans

Because of problem of unscrupulous individuals claiming veteran status, anyone wearing a War Service Badge after the Second World War also had to carry proof that they were entitled to wear it.

An air force birthday card

To take advantage of a sales opportunity, this enterprising manufacturer may have simply taken a prewar birthday card and embossed on it the crest of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

A card for Mother

This hospital unit was established in Dundurn, Saskatchewan, in September 1940, and went overseas early in 1942. Glen's card to his mother was written a few days before the Canadian raid on Dieppe.

Christmas greetings from a veteran

A Manitoba veterans' organization printed this card for its members to use at Christmas, and chose an appropriate quotation from Sir Arthur Currie for the occasion.

Christmas in uniform

Jim Taunton of Verdun, Quebec, was spending Christmas 1940 in uniform, after enlisting in the Black Watch in Montreal.

A gift from home

This Canadian soldier spent Christmas 1943 in North Africa, but even there he was able to enjoy Canadian cigarettes sent by the Ingersoll Cream Cheese Company.

Remembering the Merchant Marine

Merchant seamen were often forgotten in wartime, but this Christmas card drew attention to the vital role they played in supporting the war effort.

Learning a trade for peacetime

Part of the federal government's demobilization strategy was to make available to men and women in uniform job-training courses to prepare them for the postwar world. Corporal Nelson, of RCAF (Women's Division) Headquarters in Vancouver, opted to learn dressmaking.

What to wear in an air raid

Reminding women that the enemy "has no consideration for the safety of civilians," this booklet (sponsored by Orient Beauti-Skin Hosiery) provided instruction on how to keep the family and home safe against enemy air attack - including advice on what to wear when dealing with bomb damage in the neighbourhood.

Calisthenics for soldiers

The Second World War revealed an unexpectedly low level of physical fitness in Canadian men, leading military authorities to devote considerable effort to remedial action. Training brochures like this one were among the results of that effort.

View PDF: PT Tables.pdf

Living on a soldier's pay

Through menu suggestions, nutrition tips, and budget advice, this booklet aimed to help a soldier's wife make the best use of her husband's assigned pay and dependents' allowance.

View PDF: Budgetting.pdf

Civil defence in Toronto

Although Canada was in little danger of enemy air raids, there was a fully functional civil defence apparatus during the Second World War, with civilians deputized to perform various services in the event of an attack.

Notes on Military Law

First World War veteran and later cabinet minister Brooke Claxton originally prepared these notes in the form of lectures for the McGill University Contingent of the Canadian Officers' Training Corps. They cover everything from courts martial to morale and efficiency.

News from around the war

An Edmonton radio station compiled this almanac of events of the Second World War, beginning with British leaders attending talks in Rome on 11 January 1939 and ending with changes to the butter ration on 14 December 1946.

View PDF: CJCA War Diary.pdf

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