Fighting

The Canadian Daily Record

Distributed free of charge through all Canadian military units in Europe, the "Record" contained a mix of international and domestic news, to keep soldiers informed of what was going on in the wider world. It was printed on thin newsprint, so many of the surviving copies are in poor condition.

Winners of the Victoria Cross

To assist people who were called upon to give public addresses about the war, the federal government provided this digest of Victoria Cross-winning deeds, which could be used to add interest to any speech.

View PDF: PDF icon For Valor.pdf

The Navy League in Alberta

Founded in 1895, the Navy League of Canada was created to instill in youngsters the importance of maritime defence.

Mennonites and conscription

Under Canadian law, exemption from conscription during the First World War depended on membership in a faith group that had been recognized as pacifist. These cards verified that Jacob and Johann Wiebe were baptized members of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in Manitoba and were therefore not subject to conscription.

An African-American in the CEF

Thousands of Americans enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War - Harrison Webster was one of the few African-Americans. A native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, he enlisted in #2 Construction Battalion in Saskatoon in October 1916.

News for the Nova Scotia Highlanders

"The Thistle," published by Nova Scotia's 85th Battalion, provided a mixture of battalion news, humour, and advertisements directed at soldiers.

View PDF: PDF icon Thistle.pdf

"Put down the saw for the sword"

In a song that captured the essence of the citizen-soldier ideal, men were asked to "Close up the ledger and put down the pen, Hark to the trumpet call."

View PDF: PDF icon Canada fall in.pdf

Are you doing your bit?

This song was dedicated to Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes, and suggested that Canadian men ask themselves a pointed question: "Is the bit I'm doing just the biggest bit I can?"

View PDF: PDF icon Do your bit.pdf

Volunteer now - or face conscription

In this plea for volunteers, popular singer Will J. White issued a warning to the young men of Canada: "it's Voluntary Service Keeps Conscription from the door."

Conscripts from Quebec

A conscripted soldier was not necessarily a reluctant soldier. The fact that these French-Canadian men were willing to have portrait photographs taken in uniform suggests that they were not reluctant to celebrate serving under the Maple Leaf.

Saving the situation at Ypres

Part historical account, part recruiting pamphlet, this folder described in glowing terms the Canadian defence of Ypres, to encourage other young men to follow in the footsteps of those who had already joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

View PDF: PDF icon Ypres folder.pdf

Battalion mascots

Winnie the Pooh was only the most famous of the black bears to be adopted by Canadian units as mascots during the First World War.

Boys in uniform

Regulations permitted the Canadian Expeditionary Force to enlist fourteen-year-old boys (and in some cases those even younger) to enlist as bandsmen, buglers, trumpeters, and drummers. They were not allowed to proceed to the front, but doubtless some wangled their way into fighting units.

A munitions worker's exemption

This certificate affirmed that New Brunswick munitions worker Alvery Babineau was exempt from conscription, at least until men with a lower medical category were called up.

Call to Arms - the French-Canadian response

This booklet analyzes the French-Canadian response to the issue of enlistment, particularly in the wake of the Military Service Act of 1917. The author focuses specifically on the different responses between French- and English-speaking Canadians.

View PDF: PDF icon Call to Arms

"In good standing under the Military Service Act"

This certificate was carried by Canadian men as proof that they had not evaded or avoided their obligations under the Military Service Act.

Why I am enlisting

Presenting a speech advocating enlistment, this booklet also contains three letters on the issue written by Prime Minister Robert Borden, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Sam Hughes.

The Senate debates conscription

Part of a series covering the conscription debate in the Canadian Senate, this booklet presents the opinions of the Right Honourable Napoléon Belcourt, a Toronto-born lawyer who had represented the city of Ottawa as a member of parliament.

French-Canadian volunteers

Including a speech given by Major Olivar Asselin at a dinner meeting of the Comité France-Amérique in June 1915, this booklet addresses Asselin's work in recruiting French Canadians for the war effort.

Join the Canadian Engineers!

This card, featuring a quote from British prime minister David Lloyd George and a famous illustration from "Punch" magazine marking the 2nd Battle of Ypres, could be used to encourage enlistment in any unit. Hopkins eventually joined the 86th Battalion rather than the 1st Field Troop, Canadian Engineers.

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