“Christmas in Canada as Usual”: Celebrating on the Home Front

Earlier this week, we shared an episode from the Imperial War Museum’s Voices of the First World War series that looked at the various ways Christmas was experienced during conflict. While we are often reminded of how Christmas was celebrated on the Western Front, perhaps most famously through the Christmas truce of 1914, we are […]

Listening to 1918: Popular Songs on Canada’s Home Front

As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War’s final year and attempt to better understand Canadian wartime views and experiences, music offers us a way of ‘hearing’ the past. The lyrics, music, and cover art of popular songs reflected the changing attitudes of Anglo-Canadians on the home front between 1914 and 1918. In […]

Unveiling Women in War: The Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War

When Canadian men rushed to the recruiting stations in 1914, professionally trained nurses could enlist with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC); the first contingent, composed of 101 nursing sisters, sailed for England as early as September 1914. [1]  For women who were not trained nurses, however, there were relatively few opportunities to actively participate […]

Wholesome entertainments: The YMCA in the First World War

The First World War period in Canada, an across the British Empire, saw an unprecedented amount of activity by charitable organisations towards the war effort. Groups like the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE), and the Red Cross raised millions of dollars for medical supplies and for the care of prisoners of […]

“You are needed”: Americans in the Canadian Expeditionary Force

The summer of 2017 marks 100 years since the arrival of the first American troops in France. The American Expeditionary Force landed on 26 June 1917, with 14 000 soldiers, a force which eventually grew to about 2 million. However, before the United States joined the war, there were still thousands of Americans fighting in […]

Forgotten Casualties: Canada’s Spanish Influenza Epidemic

In the spring of 1918 Canada had been at war in Europe for almost four years, and the news from the front was not good. The German Army had broken through the British lines around Saint-Quentin and the British Army was in full retreat. There was little attention paid to the increased activity of a […]