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 the beginning, composers focused on martial songs with patriotic lyrics that encouraged enlistment and support for ‘king and country.’ Later in the war, sentimental songs were more common because there was an increasing need to comfort sad or grieving women and children on the home front. This post examines popular songs composed in 1918, providing a sense of the messages and melodies heard by Canadians one hundred years ago.
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.  For women who were not trained nurses, however, there were relatively few opportunities to actively participate in the war, much less overseas. One such opportunity was the Voluntary Aid Detachment.