Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists - AN EXHIBITION

Saskatchewan in Two World Wars

In many instances, young men and women alike volunteered to serve their country during times of war. Some even traveled to the United States, Britain or Europe to enlist, swear an oath of allegiance, and undergo the requisite physical examination. A future Prime Minister of Canada, a young University of Saskatchewan law student named John Diefenbaker, offered his services in the overseas defense of another country which he greatly admired.

Bob Frank and George Morley astride the Harley-Davidson motorcycles they rode from Saskatoon to New York with the intention of enlisting in the British army. Frank served as a dispatch rider and Morley was with the motor transport service, 1915. [18]

A new RCAF recruit is sworn in an the office in Saskatoon, 1942 [19]

Dr. B. McPhail examines recruits in Saskatoon, 1942. [20]

The officers and men of the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles, B Squadron, 1915. [21]

Lt. John G. Diefenbaker, Canada's Officer's Overseas Draft, 1916. [22]

Young J. Thomas Clinkskill, only son of former Saskatoon Mayor James Clinkskill, was the first man in the City to enlist. He was killed in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. Only a brief period of time separated his formal Christmas greeting card and the issuance of certification of his death.

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Those who signed up were assigned a number before their vital statistics were recorded - name, nationality, age, height, weight, complexion, colour of eyes and hair, distinguishing marks, occupation, religion, birth place and date, marital status, and, the address of the next-to-kin. There was also a column for "remarks" - by the enlisting officer! Some families had representatives in several branches of the armed services. Some "messed" while others impatiently awaited transfer overseas. Still others lamented their going.

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Register of Recruits, 96th Battalion, 1914. [26]
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Margaret Cram of Morden, Manitoba with her five sons who were in the army, air force, and navy, c. 1940. [27]

Members of the 2nd Army University Course in the mess hall at the University of Saskatchewan, c. 1944. [28]

A newly trained recruit ready to leave for transport overseas, c. 1944. [29]

"A Co-ed's Lament", 1915. [30]

Others did not wish to participate in the war in any way, shape or form, usually for reasons of religion or pacifism. COs - conscientious objectors - were usually transferred to camps where they performed duties in support of Canada's war effort without ever lifting a rifle.

Conscientious Objectors' Choir singing in a tent, 1941. [31]


Saskatchewan in Two World WarsVirtual Displays

This site has been made possible by financial support from the federal government
through the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.

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