Intelligence Roundup – Cake, a Flower Pot, and “The Last Wood-Cutter”

Stumbling across this in my search for intelligence reports regarding the VE-Day announcement in Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge, I wanted to share. Unsure of how PoWs would react to news of the German surrender, intelligence personnel at Medicine Hat’s Camp 132 asked a group of PoWs their thoughts as they were being transferred to aContinue reading “Intelligence Roundup – Cake, a Flower Pot, and “The Last Wood-Cutter””

VE Day – May 8, 1945

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. At Camp 133 in Lethbridge, Alberta, the Camp Spokesman, Assistant Spokesman, and Interpreter were paraded in the Commandant’s office to inform them of the news. Shortly after, the PoWs were assembled in the camp and read the proclamation. The CommandantContinue reading “VE Day – May 8, 1945”

“Men of Vimy”

  “They were the men of the Canadian Veterans’ Guards. Old soldiers who had not faded away but who have returned to serve with their sons.” An appropriate video considering the 98th anniversary of Vimy Ridge on April 9. The Canadian Army Newsreels series was produced by the Canadian Army Film Unit during the warContinue reading ““Men of Vimy””

Mapping PoWs in Canada

Few Canadians realize just how close the Second World War came to home, that from 1939 to 1947, Canada held over 34,000 prisoners of war. While many spent their days in one of twenty-eight internment camps, almost half of them were employed on a labour project by the end of the war. With some freeContinue reading “Mapping PoWs in Canada”

“German POW’s Buried in Bleak Northern Bush”

The following newspaper article appeared in the April 12, 1950 issue of the Globe and Mail. Having first come across this a few years ago, it remains one of my favourite articles and I thought I would share. While these graves were relocated to Kitchener, Ontario in the 1970s, the article provides an interesting perspectiveContinue reading ““German POW’s Buried in Bleak Northern Bush””

Mapping Canada’s Internment Camps

From 1939 to 1947, German Prisoners of War, Enemy Merchant Seamen, and Civilian Internees were held in twenty-eight different locations in Canada. While thousands were eventually employed in small, low-security labour projects, these twenty-eight camps formed the backbone of Canadian internment operations. As part of my research for my PhD, I am attempting to mapContinue reading “Mapping Canada’s Internment Camps”

A Secret Message

In the summer, I ran the first of a series of posts about prisoner of war mail (see here) and I briefly mentioned the censorship of PoW mail. Incoming and outgoing mail was censored by Canadian military and civilian officials to prevent PoWs from leaking sensitive information about Canadian wartime operations, their locations, and informationContinue reading “A Secret Message”

Exploring and Sharing the Past with iGIS

This post is long overdue but better late than never! About a year-and-a-half ago, I started using iGIS, an iOS app that allows you to visualize geospatial data on your mobile device. My Professor, Josh MacFadyen, had demonstrated the possibilities of this app in our digital history class and I was eager to find waysContinue reading “Exploring and Sharing the Past with iGIS”

Camp 30 – Bowmanville: Then and Now

Following the popularity of my Fort Henry post, I thought I would share a brief look at another important internment camp in Canada – Camp 30 near Bowmanville, Ontario. Approximately seventy-five kilometers east of Toronto, Camp 30 was built around a former boys training school on the outskirts of the town. Camp 30 opened inContinue reading “Camp 30 – Bowmanville: Then and Now”

Camp 31 – Fort Henry: Then and Now

Of all twenty-eight-or-so internment camps in Canada during the Second World War, I can only think of five that have either changed relatively little or haven’t been completely destroyed (at least from the external appearance) in the last seventy years. Among these few is Camp 31 (originally Camp F) at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario.Continue reading “Camp 31 – Fort Henry: Then and Now”