On the battlefront, the soldiers faced danger, fear, hatred, and injury such as they had never known possible. Some were taken prisoners of war. Most experienced grievous wounds or watched friends suffer through agonizing pain. They saw cities decimated; farm lands turned to quagmire; lives, destroyed. In that dreadful world, their enemies tried to kill them, and they could only respond with equal savagery.

National Archives of Canada (PA-071198, photo by John Boyd).

Peace Celebration, Toronto, Ontario, November 1918.

 


National Archives of Canada (C-0016934).

Victory Celebrations, Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, 11 November 1918.

 

The war tore families apart. Those who died were fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands, and sweethearts. Those who returned were changed forever. Some suffered from shell shock; others had lost limbs; still others had been irreparably burned during gas attacks. Some drank to forget.

The Fortyniner, No. 19, July 1934.

Fred Whyte, a Member of the 49th Battalion, Shows His Wound, n.d.

Whyte was injured at Sanctuary Wood, 3 June 1916.

And who cared? Initially, Canadians on the home front seemed to. They welcomed the soldiers home with parades, civic receptions, parties, and plans for war memorials. But, with the war over and the weeks passing, before long few really wanted to hear of the soldiers' sacrifice. Canadians wanted to forget the war, to return to "normalcy." Most soldiers also wanted to return to normalcy -- but it was not so easy for them.

DocumentDocument
The Fortyniner, No. 16, January 1933, pp. 5-6, 12.

"The Peaceful Salient," by Sergeant Ernie Sharp.

Former soldier Ernie Sharp describes Ypres as it appeared years after the Great War.

Almost every town and city marked the soldiers' sacrifices with cenotaphs or stained glass windows and commemorative plaques in the churches. But the soldiers and their families marked the sacrifice with their lives.




City of Edmonton Archives (Loyal Edmonton Regiment Collection, A98-96, Box 4).

Final Resting Place of Lieutenant W.H. Burgess, DSO.

 
 

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