Archive for December 11th, 2008

Story Seventy-Six: Private’s Progress

The day to day memories of veterans, commonly found in  diaries, letters or journals  speak to us in  the first person  and are invaluable resources, providing insights into the the day to day grind and experiences of the Canadian soldier.

Sample Pages of the diary of Sgt.  Hugh McVicar



Hugh McVicar was born in Guelph, Ontario in 1914 and moved to Toronto with his family in 1927.  Beginning in 1942, he worked as an accountant and office manager for Swift Canadian Company in Toronto, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Fort William before being transferred back to Toronto in 1967, where he retired in 1978. He was called up into the army in 1944 where he served as a private with the 2nd Division, 4th Brigade, Essex Scottish Regiment, C Company.  He saw action in Germany and Holland in 1945.

With a natural gift for writing, Hugh’s wartime letters home were always interesting and newsy.  The “Private’s Progress” section of this book is a compilation of those letters.

Hugh’s writing abilities were polished when his interest in family history began in the 1950s.  Hours of research and hundreds of letters resulted in a very comprehensive family history spanning 16 generations.

To order the book

Eleanor Burch

Box 269

Carberry, MB  R0K 0H0

Email eburch@westman.wave.ca


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During World War production in Oshawa  expanded their  production crews to include woman, many for the first  time.

This is a link to Internet Archives of Industrial production in Ohio filming women on the production lines http://www.archive.org/details/VictoryI19      42  Also a WW 2  training video,   http://www.archive.org/details/TrainingWome

With World War II came the dire need for employees in the workplace, without women to step in the economy would have collapsed. “By autumn 1944 the number of women working full-time in Canada’s paid labour force was twice what it had been in 1939, and that figure of between 1,000,000 and 1,200,000 did not include part-time workers or women working on farms.” Women had to take on this intensive labour and while they did this they still had to find time to make jams, clothes and other such acts of volunteering to aid the men overseas.

Most women who rose to their national duty were obliged to give up their jobs  when the men returned from either the European or Japanese theatres.


Listen to Audio Soundslide



To download the zipped file,  click on the index.html  file to play the SWF file



  • Buch, Mary and Carolyn Gossage. (1997). Props on Her Sleeve: The Wartime Letters of a Canadian Airwoman. Toronto: Dundurn Press.
  • Granatstein, J. L., and Desmond Morton. A Nation Forged in Fire: Canadians and the Second World War, 1939-1945 1989.
  • Keshen, Jeffrey A. Saints, Sinners, and Soldiers: Canada’s Second World War (2004)
  • Latta, Ruth. (1992). The Memory of All That: Canadian Women Remember World War II. Burnstown, Ontario: The General Store Publishing House Inc..
  • Pierson, Ruth Roach. They’re Still Women After All: The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.

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