The Two Fronts of War

The First World War left few Canadians untouched. About 8% of the country’s population served during the war. Of those, about 10% died and almost a quarter were wounded. Citizens at home worked to support those fighting overseas.

image of people at cenotaph

1929 Armistice Day ceremonies. The Cenotaph was erected in 1924. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-2010

Home

Many organizations, societies and companies raised money to help the troops.

Women selling goods at the Seaforth Market stall to raise money for soldiers' comforts overseas, 1917. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P57.

Women selling goods at the Seaforth Market stall to raise money for soldiers’ comforts overseas, 1917. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P57.

This refreshment tent is selling sandwiches and coffee.

South Vancouver Soldiers and Sailors Mothers and Wives Association refreshment tent, 1917. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code  AM54-S4-: Mil P36.

South Vancouver Soldiers and Sailors Mothers and Wives Association refreshment tent, 1917. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code
AM54-S4-: Mil P36.

A lot of home-made clothing was contributed to the war effort. Often, people would knit in groups, encouraged by (or possibly singing) World War I knitting songs. Here’s a sewing group from this era:

The St. Andrews' and Caledonian Society sewing group, 1913. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Ch P94

The St. Andrews’ and Caledonian Society sewing group, 1913. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Ch P94

 

The garments, along with other “comforts” such as underwear, tobacco, books and magazines, were boxed and shipped by the Canadian Field Comforts Commission.

soldier in front of piled boxes

Soldier in front of boxes of Canadian Field Comforts at Mrs. J.Z. Hall’s residence, 2890 Point Grey Road], 1918. Commercial Photo Co., photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Bu P329.

 

 

Abroad

Major Matthews, the first City Archivist, served in the First World War and acquired images of troops overseas.

Soldiers rest on their way to the trenches on the Western Front. ~1916. Official Photograph Issued for Press Bureau by "Topical" . Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P281.17.

Soldiers rest on their way to the trenches on the Western Front. ~1916. Official Photograph Issued for Press Bureau by “Topical” . Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P281.17.

troops marching on snow

Royal Engineers return from the trenches on the Western Front, 1916. Official Photograph issued on behalf of the Press Bureau. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P281.47.

Canadian soldiers on parade at the Western Front, 1916. Official Photograph issued on behalf of the Press Bureau. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P281.50.

Canadian soldiers on parade at the Western Front, 1916. Official Photograph issued on behalf of the Press Bureau. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P281.50.

The arrival of papers & letters from home, some time 1914-1918. E.T. Sampson, Raines and Company, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Gr War P33.

The arrival of papers & letters from home, some time 1914-1918. E.T. Sampson, Raines and Company, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Gr War P33.

Let us honour all their efforts this Remembrance Day.

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