From Hamilton to war
John “Jack” Smith was born in Scotland in 1906 and came to Canada as a teenager. He enlisted early in the Second World War, serving in the 5th Field Ambulance of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. While he was overseas, he sent snapshots and other souvenirs of his travels to his family in Hamilton, Ontario, to show them the more mundane parts of serving in the army: field exercises, barracks life, an inspection by the King and Queen, and the surroundings in Spitzbergen, Russia, where he was posted for a short time in 1941.
Veterans and their finances
This 1938 financial statement of the Canadian Legion has a curious hand-written notation on it: "Legion cigarettes."
A Legion celebration
Members of the Canadian Legion's Manitoba Command came together in 1938 to celebrate the wedding anniversary of one of their own. Amongst the speakers was Eli Spencer of Morden.
Ex-soldiers gather in Vancouver
This reunion included everything from the RCMP Musical Ride to an egg-and-spoon race for amputees. The grand prize, of a trip back to the battlefields, must have represented a considerable expense for the organizers, and one wonders if it was actually awarded.
Remembrance Day in Manitoba
These service had all the elements that had become typical by the 1930s: John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields," the hymn "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," addresses by local veterans, and the Canadian and British national anthems. Note, however, the important change penciled on the bottom of the 1934 program.
Canadian ex-soldiers in Britain
Veterans of the First World War, including Hamilton Gault, the founder of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, met in London to relive old times. The cartoons suggest that it was a convivial occasion.
Decoration Day in Winnipeg
The Manitoba capital first held a Decoration Day parade in 1886. The thirty-eighth such parade, like most others, featured militia units, local dignitaries, veterans organizations, and school cadet corps.
The Great War Veterans' Association
Founded in 1917, the GWVA was Canada's largest and most powerful veterans organization until it merged with other groups in 1925 to create the Canadian Legion.
One municipality, forty-four dead
The unveiling ceremony for this rural Manitoba war memorial included scripture readings, a song by local schoolchildren, an address by the provincial premier, and a reading of John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields."
Montreal newspapers look back at the First World War
To mark its first half-century, the Montreal "Star" produced this booklet relating the newspaper's history, but devoting most of its space to the First World War - flags of the Allied nations, awards and decorations, important dates, and photographs of leading Allied generals.