Poetry

Ode to the Grilse

Originally a civilian yacht, HMCS Grilse was purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy and commissioned as a torpedo boat during the First World War. She was easily the fastest ship in the navy.

Stories and Poems of the Great War

Following the close of the greatest conflict the world had ever seen, many Canadians sought to commemorate their experiences. Booklets like this one contained poems and stories reflecting on wartime experiences and contemplating the meaning of what had transpired during the four-year conflict.

In praise of the "Buctouche"

This poem in honour of corvette K179, also known as HMCS Buctouche, was found in the papers of Canadian seaman James Mitchell of Waterdown, Ontario. It is believed to have been written by Leading Seaman Arthur Currie Stewart of Glen William, Prince Edward Island.

"Who are these boys in Navy Blue?"

James Mitchell of Waterdown, Ontario, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, carried around this poem in honour of Canada's seamen. It is believed to have been written by Leading Seaman Arthur Currie Stewart of Glen William, Prince Edward Island.

A poetic voice from the front

This may be the original version of a booklet that ex-soldiers sold after the First World War to raise money - Private Nixon's "Verses Written in the Trenches" is a later version.

Audette.pdf (1.66 MB)

O Valiant Hearts

"O Valiant Hearts" was one of the most popular hymns to emerge from the First World War. This printed copy was distributed to members of the congregation of Wellington Street Methodist Church in London, Ontario, on the occasion of the unveiling of their war memorial.

A soldier-poet looks towards peace

One of the most popular poems of the Second World War, "Prayer for Victory" was read to huge crowds by actors Greer Garson and Raymond Massey, and broadcast to millions of listeners on national radio networks. Diespecker asked that any profits generated by sales of his work go to the Canadian Red Cross Society.

A Canadian's message home

A sentimental verse from early in the First World War, inspired by Robert Burns' famous poem "Auld Lang Syne."

In praise of Canadian manhood

A Canadian soldier sent this postcard, with its verse tribute to soldierly masculinity, home to his mother in 1916.

The Boys of the 134th Battalion

This postcard was one of a series aimed at the families of Canadian soldiers during the First World War. The 134th Battalion was affiliated with Toronto's 48th Highlanders.