An army of mouths: Feeding the CEF in World War I

An estaminet near Mericourt, France. [no date]. A.S. English Fonds. Collections CCGW/CCGG.

An estaminet near Mericourt, France. [no date]. A.S. English Fonds. Collections CCGW/CCGG.

Most diaries and memoirs from the Great War acknowledge that the food on the Front was not great, if not downright inedible. Soldiers’ marching songs recounted the boring military diet with lines like “ we poor blokes| We only get-| Apple and plum” (When the Bloody War is Over, 84), in reference to the apple and plum jam given to the front line troops, and many men years later remembered receiving maconochie meat stew in tins. Continue reading

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Home fires burning: Civilian fundraising in the First World War

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As the men in small Canadian communities left to fight the war in Europe, those at home looked for ways to contribute to the war effort themselves. The civilian mobilization of the First World War, and after it the Second, was all encompassing and those on the Home Front found themselves collecting scrap materials, knitting socks and making parcels for the Red Cross, all to support the war effort. Continue reading

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“In Flanders fields”: Poppies and the tradition of remembrance

[Canada] "If ye break faith", Frank Lucien Nicolet. [1918]. Courtesy McMaster University Libraries, Identifier: 00001805

[Canada] “If ye break faith”, Frank Lucien Nicolet. [1918]. Courtesy McMaster University Libraries, Identifier: 00001805

We in Canada are used to seeing poppies on lapels this time of year. It’s a immediate signal that Remembrance Day is near, and that the time of commemorative activities has begun. On this Remembrance Day, I  would like to take a moment to write about why the poppy gain significance in the 20th century, and how it has become a symbol of commemoration throughout North American and the Commonwealth.  Continue reading

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Presenting The Dumbells! Troop entertainment during World War I

The original Dumbells, out of their costumes. c1917-1919. Courtesy Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/

The original Dumbells, out of their costumes. c1917-1919. Courtesy Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/

Many of us are familiar with the photographs of Marilyn Monroe entertaining American troops during the Korean War; however the tradition of providing troop entertainment to boost morale has roots in the First World War.

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A small beginning: The Royal Canadian Navy and the HMCS Niobe

Mr. William Gordon Wright, R.C.N.| in command of 1st Division. [c1910-1920] Collections CCGW/CCGG 2016.03.04.06

Mr. William Gordon Wright, R.C.N.| in command of 1st Division. [c1910-1920] Collections CCGW/CCGG 2016.03.04.06

This week, the Canadian War Museum announced the acquisition of the ships wheel belonging to the World War I-era naval cruiser, the HMCS Niobe. The Niobe was scrapped in 1920, but the ships wheel ended up in the Camden Shipyard & Naval Museum. It was repatriated to Canada just this year. Continue reading

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The Boxer: William Elliott at the Battle of Courcelette

In loving memory of William Elliott | 1892-Sept.15 1916. Montreal Gazette, 17 September 2016.

In loving memory of William Elliott | 1892-Sept.15 1916. Montreal Gazette, 17 September 2016.

This clipping was sent to us this week from one of our supporters; it was published in September in the obituary section of the Montreal Gazette by William Elliott’s family to mark the centenary of his death at Courcelette on the Somme. I thought it would make a good post this week because it represents so much of what we at the Centre want to achieve; that is, long-lasting relevance and connection to the memories of those involved in the First World War.  Continue reading

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For “Those who wait and wonder”: The Canadian Memorial Cross

Memorial Cross to the family of R. Elliott 464136.

Pte Robert Elliott, 14th Battalion [Memorial Cross to the family of R. Elliott 464136. Collections CCGW/CCGG]

We featured this silver Memorial Cross, given to the mother of Private Robert Elliot of the 14th Battalion, as part of our Centennial Feature for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Thiepval Ridge. Elliot was killed on 28 September 1916 when the battalion tried to take Kenora Trench. He was listed as missing and his body was never found. Continue reading

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