Susan Munroe - Canada News Expert
Remembering canadians who fought and died in war
On November 11 Canadians wear poppies and gather atwar memorials across Canada to recognize the service of Canadian veterans and to honour those who died for Canada. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the time the Armistice of World War I was signed in 1918, we observe two minutes of silence to remember.
Books of Remembrance
Seven Books of Remembrance are kept in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill to honour those Canadians who died serving Canada in war.
There is one for each of the wars: the South African War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. There is a separate Book of Remembrance for the Merchant Navy, and another one for Newfoundlanders, since Newfoundland did not join Confederation until 1949. The Seventh Book of Remembrance was dedicated in 2005 to honour Canadian Forces men and women who have given their lives for Canada since October 1947. It is ongoing and will honour Canadian Forces members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for generations to come.
The Books of Remembrance provide a beautiful and touching testament to the Canadians who died in military service.
Canada at War
Canada in World War I
For many, the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian John McCrae is a strong symbol of World War I. The evocative poem was written in the trenches at the Battle of Ypres in 1915 when a close friend of McCrae's was one of 6000 Canadian casualties in just 48 hours.
Canadian World War I Posters provide some insight into life in Canada during World War I. These colour posters were used as an affordable means of mass communication by the Canadian government and were put up in just about any public place where people gathered. The Canadian government produced war posters for recruitment drives, for fund raising through Victory Bonds, and to encourage the increase in production required to change the Canadian economy to support a war.
For a good idea of the battle conditions faced by Canadian soldiers, scroll through these World War I photo collections:
- Pictures of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
- Pictures of the Battle of Passchendaele
There is much more information on Canadians in World War I and the battles they fought in
- Canada and World War I
- Canada and World War I Battles
- Canadian Merchant Navy
Canada in World War II
Canada and the Second World War is an excellent way to learn about Canada in World War II. From Veterans Affairs Canada, this document gives a good overview of the major events of World War II. It is easy to read, explains how Canadians participated, and has some good photos.
The Canadian government also used war posters to encourage support for World War II amongst Canadians. Canadian War Posters in World War II were colorful, dramatic, and immediate. These simple advertising vehicles give a quick glimpse of wartime life in Canada during the war.
The Battle of Dieppe in World War II was a test for the full-scale invasion of Western Europe, and it was devastating for the Canadians. See what the Canadians faced in the Battle of Dieppe in Pictures of the Battle of Dieppe.
Almost two years later the Allied invasion of Northwest Europe began on D-Day. Most of the intermediate objectives for D-Day were met and the Allies were back in Europe. About 14,000 Canadians landed in Normandy on D-Day, with over 1000 Canadian casualties, and more than 400 killed. Take a look at the massive preparations involved and the participation of the Canadians in Pictures of D-Day
You can find more information about the role of Canada in World War II in
- Canada and World War II
- Canada and World War II Battles
- The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP)
- Canadian Merchant Navy
Canada in the Korean War
The Korean War is sometimes forgotten when Canadians talk about wars. But approximately 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War, and 516 or them died.
Veterans Affairs Canada has a good synopsis of the participation of Canada in the Korean War in Canadians in Korea.
There are other sites to visit in Canada and the Korean War.
Canada in Afghanistan
More than 40,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014. Between 2002 and 2011, 158 Canadian Armed Forces members lost their lives in service to the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan.
On May 9, 2014, a National Day of Honour was proclaimed to pay tribute to those who died and were wounded and to the burden of their families.
For a summary of Canada's role in Afghanistan, see The Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan from Veterans Affairs Canada.