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 war. Others were more concerned with the welfare of the young men fighting in Europe, particularly the YMCA and the Salvation Army.  Continue reading “Wholesome entertainments: The YMCA in the First World War”

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Waiting behind: Canadian mothers, wives and families during World War I

[Canadian Service Flag], 1917. Collections CCGW/CCGG 2014.01.24.01
[Canadian Service Flag], 1917. Collections CCGW/CCGG 2014.01.24.01
The First World War produced an enormous amount of documentary evidence of the typical soldier’s experience at the front, in the form of letters, diaries, and after the war, the many memoirs that were published. An experience that is harder to pin down was that of the family members left behind, who had to continue their day to day lives with the knowledge that one of their own was in danger far away. Vera Brittain describes the agony of waiting for news and “the long, long weary months ahead, & wonder[ing] how I shall ever bear them…” (Berry and Bostridge, Vera Brittain: A life,74). For those waiting at home, the war would be many long, weary months.  Continue reading “Waiting behind: Canadian mothers, wives and families during World War I”