Ottawa – Summer Research Part II

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the next phase of my research took me to Ottawa. Fortunately, I was able to spend two weeks going through the holdings of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH), and the Canadian War Museum (CWM). Here’s a quick summary of my time in the archives! Apologies to my twitter followers as some I’ve already posted some of these.

A quiet day at Library and Archives Canada

IMG_5845My research regarding PoWs in Canada began with the camp in Riding Mountain National Park some seven years ago. Having visited LAC in 2012 looking for material related to Riding Mountain, I was not expecting to find much more. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a full set of PoW paylists, some miscellaneous correspondence, and, the pièce de résistance, a map showing the layout of the camp. Having searched eight years for such a map and to find it in a rather unexpected place made this one of my best finds of the summer.

Another unexpected find was a series of pay books documenting POW farm work in Alberta, notably in the Brooks and Strathmore area. Providing me with the name of the PoW, employer, and general location of the farm, hopefully I can get a better idea of the distribution of PoWs working on farms in Southern Alberta.

IMG_5932Not knowing what to expect when I stepped into the comparatively small reading room at the Directorate of History and Heritage, I was delighted to stumble upon a large amount of PoW material. Among my more interesting finds were blueprints to building two different types of guard towers (in case I get bored), escape maps confiscated from PoWs, and recruiting pamphlets for the Veterans’ Guard.

The Riding Mountain finds also continued at the Canadian War Museum. Having known of a few photos of the camp in their collection, I was pleasantly surprised to find more than I expected!

Veterans’ Guard and PoW Display at the Canadian War Museum. Note the PoW-made crossbow in the foreground!

My time in Ottawa wasn’t all work and I managed to find some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. As luck would have it, I arrived in time to see part of the Casino du Lac‑Leamy’s Sound of Light, an international fireworks competition.


All in all, not a bad way to spend two weeks! Now to find the time to go through everything!


Published by Michael O'Hagan

Historian studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

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