As many teachers and students once again are working online for the next several weeks at the very least, we have gathered a number of online resources and tools that can be used to engage student learning. This is part 1 of a 2-part series exploring online tools and resources related to War and Remembrance, Peace and Conflict.
Do you have other suggestions for works that could be included on this list? We’d love to hear them! Let us know by tagging @CndHistAssoc on Twitter and using the hashtag #CHATeachingResourcesChat
Library and Archives Canada – Military Heritage
Library and Archives Canada holds an extensive collection of records of the Canadian men and women who have served in the military and in the early years of the North West Mounted Police. There are records relating to Loyalists, the War of 1812, the Rebellions, the South African War, the First World War and the Second World War, many of which are featured in databases, research guides and virtual exhibitions. The records include muster rolls, military service files, unit war diaries, medal registers, photographic collections, documentary art and posters, as well as published sources.
There are more than twenty-online resources related to Canada’s military heritage and extensive databases that students can access. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/Pages/military-heritage.aspx.
Library and Archives Canada Blogs:
Nicole Watier. “Your Ancestor Was a Canadian Volunteer in the Spanish Civil War?” Library and Archives Canada Blog (blog), January 16, 2020. https://thediscoverblog.com/2020/01/16/your-ancestor-was-a-canadian-volunteer-in-the-spanish-civil-war/.
Campbell, Heather. “Inuit Soldiers of the First World War: Lance Corporal John Shiwak.” Library and Archives Canada Blog (blog), November 11, 2019. https://thediscoverblog.com/2019/11/11/inuit-soldiers-of-the-first-world-war-lance-corporal-john-shiwak/.
Kawenaa Montour, Elizabeth. “Tom Cogwagee Longboat’s Life and Legacy.” Library and Archives Canada Blog (blog), December 23, 2019. https://thediscoverblog.com/2019/12/23/tom-cogwagee-longboats-life-and-legacy/.
Horky, David. “Recognition and Remembrance: A Métis Soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1917–1918.” Library and Archives Canada Blog (blog), November 9, 2019. https://thediscoverblog.com/2019/11/09/recognition-and-remembrance-a-metis-soldier-in-the-canadian-expeditionary-force-1917-1918/.
Beginning in 2013 and finished in August 2018 https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/Pages/2018/First-World-War-database-completed.aspx, more than 620 000 records from the First World War were digitized and files range from 20 to 75 pages each, with many thousands of staples and clips removed. Databases relate to soldiers, chaplains and nurses. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/personnel-records.aspx.
See the work of historian Nic Clarke to better understand the context of the database of those recruits who were rejected on medical grounds: https://activehistory.ca/2016/10/unwanted-warriors-an-excerpt/.
Nic Clarke, Unwanted Warriors: The Rejected Volunteers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015.
For assignments and classes that cover the Dominion / Colony of Newfoundland and the experiences of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Forestry Corps, the Newfoundland Regiment and The Great War https://www.therooms.ca/thegreatwar/the-beginning/entering-the-great-war database could be of interest! More information about Newfoundland’s role in the First World War, as well as detailed descriptions of the types of documents included in the files, can be found on the introductory page of the website of the Rooms Provincial Archives https://www.therooms.ca/ in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Sample searches your students can undertake to meet assignment / curriculum objectives:
- Student family names
- Places or communities where students are from or now live
- Looking for the age of those who enlisted
- Occupational searches
- Circumstances of soldier deaths
Nursing Sisters Co-lab Project
Murray, Rebecca. “Women in the War: A Co-Lab Challenge.” Government. Library and Archives Canada Blog (blog), October 21, 2021. https://thediscoverblog.com/.
Co-lab is a project that can be regularly checked to see if there is work that may be of interest to your students and to match activities with your curriculum objectives. See the sample project below. https://co-lab.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Challenges/Details/1011.
The Call to Duty: Canada’s Nursing Sisters
The First World War saw a major mobilization of soldiers, equipment, supplies and medical staff. Between 1914 and 1918, 2,003 women enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and went overseas. The war was perceived as exclusively male, but the presence of nursing sisters near the front and close to the line of fire has shattered this misperception and highlighted the importance of female caregivers during the war. These women looked after almost 540,000 soldiers and worked near the battlefields under difficult conditions.
Check out the letters, diaries and photographs of Canadian nursing sisters who served during the Great War. Follow these nurses as they witness the destruction of war, participate in social events, and help patients, as you transcribe, translate, tag and/or describe their writings and photographs.