Travelling Exhibition 2018: Parallels

Women representing the Great War in Canada and Newfoundland Image: Mary Riter Hamilton. Sanctuary Wood, Flanders. 1920. Oil on Plywood, 59.100 x 45.700 cm. Mary Riter Hamilton Fonds, Library and Archives Canada. Acc. No. 1988-180-21.

Gault's Light Infantry: Raising the Patricias in 1914

For over a century, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry has been one of the most celebrated regiments in Canadian history, in part for its earned reputation as “first in the field.” [1] Privately founded and raised by Montreal businessman A. Hamilton Gault, the regiment would bear the name of the Governor-General’s daughter, Princess Patricia. In an […]

A 'White Man's War' No More: Black Volunteers in the CEF

At the outbreak of the Great War, Canadians from Nova Scotia to British Columbia flooded to the recruiting offices as a patriotic fervour swept across the nation. A large number of Black volunteers, however, were turned away from what they were told was a “white man’s war.” [1] As we enter February and make an […]

Beyond the Poet: John McCrae and the Canadian Army Medical Corps

This Sunday, January 28th, will mark the centenary of the death of the well-known Canadian poet- John McCrae. Author of the poem In Flanders Fields, McCrae’s memory is immortalized in the words he wrote during the Second Battle of Ypres. The Canadian soldier, however, was more than just a poet. When the war broke out […]

Bicycles in combat: Cyclists during the First World War

The First World War is often remembered for its static nature and trench warfare. In its opening stages, however, the opposing armies looked towards mobility. Reasonably lightweight, easy to maintain, and relatively quiet, the bicycle earned itself a valuable role during the First World War. 

A Christmas truce on the Western Front

In an otherwise devastatingly violent and inhumane war, the Christmas truce was a series of widespread and spontaneous truces that arose along the Western Front in 1914. Becoming one of the most famous and romanticized events of the First World War, it is said that enemies met in no man’s land, exchanged gifts, took photographs, and […]

The Zeebrugge Raid: Block-ships during WWI

“Ahead of her, as she drove through the water, rolled the smoke-screen, her cloak of invisibility, wrapped about her by the small craft. The north-east wind moved the volume of it shoreward ahead of the ships; beyond it, the distant town and its defenders were unsuspicious; and it was not till Vindictive was close upon […]

The Drill Rifle: Training Recruits in the CEF

When the war broke out in August 1914, Canada only held 16,796 rifles on hand. [1] As Canadians rushed to recruiting stations in staggering numbers to enlist, the Department of Militia and Defence was confronted with the overwhelming challenge of training new recruits without a sufficient amount of rifles. In response, CEF units in Canada […]

The New Pioneer: How Soldiers Kept Their Buttons Polished

Soldiers were expected to carry a lot of equipment with them while on the Front line. From a gas mask to an extra pair of socks, soldiers were prepared for the rapid changes demanded by modern warfare. Lesser-known to many, however, soldiers also carried a brass button polishing guard. Made of a thin sheet of […]

Passchendaele, 100 years already!

On November 11th of each year, the fields surrounding the Menin Gate are covered with poppies to commemorate the sacrifice of the many British and Commonwealth soldiers who died on the field of honour in Flanders, Belgium. It was the Third Battle of Ypres, which took place between July 31st and November 10th, 1917, more […]