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War Begins - Canada and the Second World War, 1939-1945

Type: Document

The Second World War began at dawn on September 1, 1939, as the German armies swept into Poland. Events quickly unfolded and by June 1940 virtually all of Europe was overrun or isolated by the Axis Powers.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Manning the Ships - In WWII

Type: Document

As the Canadian fleet expanded during the Second World War, ensuring that the merchant ships were fully crewed and sailed without unnecessary delays was a formidable task.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Formation of the Canadian Corps - On The Western Front - Canada and the First World War

Type: Document

Canadian enthusiasm remained high despite growing casualties. The 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions were added to the 1st Division in 1915 and together they formed the Canadian Corps.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Branching Out

Type: Document

As in the First World War, most Natives served in the infantry, primarily because it required the most manpower during World War II. Despite a short-lived regulation to restrict applicants to the Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force to British Descendants, many Aboriginals became known for their sniping and scouting skills. A few Canadian Indians and Métis voluntarily joined and were accepted in both services from the outbreak of war.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Canada Enters the War - Canada and the First World War

Type: Document

Canada was automatically involved in the war when Britain went to war in 1914. An account of Canada's effort to quickly mobilize and deploy troops in Europe is presented here.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Two Decades Later

Type: Document

Canada declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939. Canada's Native communities were quick to come forward with offers of assistance in both men and money. About one hundred Indians had enlisted by March 1940 and others contributed funds amounting to over $1,300.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Return

Type: Document

Canadian Natives volunteered to serve in the Second World War for many of the same reasons as had Natives in the First World War. Many Natives such as Chief Joe Dreaver, John McLoed, and Tom Longboat served both wars.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

The Canadian Contribution

Type: Document

In July 1950, the government organized the recruitment of the Canadian Army Special Force (CASF) for Korean service. The CASF was to be raised by voluntary enlistment and trained as part of the regular army. Late in 1950, agents of the Indian Affairs Branch, in keeping with past practice, were asked to keep track of the number of Indians who enlisted in the CASF. By March 1951, 73 names had been recorded.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada

Alma Boisvenue-Dontigny - My Grandmother's Wartime Diary - Canada and the Second World War

Type: Document

Many of those who enlisted in Canadian military service during the war were not sent overseas but provided supporting functions closer to home. These experiences were often gratifying and even enjoyable, as is the case in this story.

Site: Veterans Affairs Canada