WRENS dance card

This keepsake from a member of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (the Wrens) based in Deep Brooke, Nova Scotia, attests to the popular dances and music of the time.

War trophies at Christmas

Mixing images from two wars, Bernie's Christmas card featured spiked German field guns from the First World War and the V for Victory Morse code sign from the Second World War.

An RFC cadet at Christmas

James Meston, training with the Royal Flying Corps in England, sent this card to his family in London, Ontario, from his billet at Jesus College, Oxford.

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.

Songs for Canadians in uniform

Distributed to Canadian serviceman and servicewomen during the Second World War, this song book contained a mixture of patriotic anthems, romantic ballads, hymns, and humorous songs.

How the officers eat ...

George Parker, a barber who enlisted in the CEF in September 1915, writes to his wife about his work procuring food for the officers' mess of his unit.

View PDF: PDF icon Parker.pdf

The British lion triumphs

This postcard, showing the British lion mastering the German eagle, was a generic design - the word "Canadians" could be replaced with the name of another nationality or unit.

Scoring on the Kaiser

During the First World War, it was common to draw the connection between sport and war - as in the postcard featuring a Union Jack soccer ball.

The Imperial family

The relationship between Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as seen by a First World War graphic artist.

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.

The Navy's Here

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

A long training march

A soldier from Nova Scotia describes a brigade training march, involving 6000 men in a formation three miles long.

Army life in 1914

Printed early in the First World War to satirize army life, these cards were mailed by a soldier at Valcartier, Quebec, to his family in Melfort, Saskatchewan.

Fighting for France

A typical sentimental postcard of French manufacture, sent by a Canadian soldier to his sister in Ontario in 1915.

A tender moment ...

This image of a couple kissing, sent by a Canadian soldier to his wife, would have been considered slightly racy at the time of the First World War.

Badge of the 135th Battalion

This postcard was manufactured in England, probably not long before the 135th Battalion, raised in and around London, Ontario, was broken up for reinforcements.

The 1st Contingent at Valcartier

Postcards of Valcartier, where the first units of the CEF concentrated before sailing to England in 1914, were a popular souvenir during the First World War. This image shows units from Montreal.

Victory March in London, 2 May 1919

A message from an unidentified soldier: "Got these cards on July 12th in London. am now in YMCA Portsmouth. it is raining outside. intend taking a trip up in a airplane this afternoon. peace celebration day July 19th 1919."