Looking Back


From the Soldier's Kit

The annual Remembrance Day services recognize the roles played by thousands of Canadians who served in the armed forces over the last century and more. Onoway Museum is fortunate to have in its collection military artifacts and many archival documents that give us just a hint of what these servicemen and women experienced. Some items in the museum's collection are not what would come to mind when you think of the military. Here's a look at the "unimportant" parts of a soldier's time in service.


You wouldn't think that soldiers had "textbooks" about every aspect of army training. Ted Looker's compact 5"x7" handbook, published in 1940, was one of many addressing different aspects of training of the infantry. This volume covers everything from how to march and salute to detailed illustrations of the different rifles; from protection against gases to how to dig a weapon pit; from hand-to-hand fighting to what to carry in your haversack (backpack). [The "housewife", a small case for needles and thread, is to be kept in the pack which is usually carried on the platoon truck.] The importance of sanitation and personal hygiene is stressed in this manual; statistics are cited from previous wars showing the huge numbers of soldiers who suffered from disease rather than injuries.


Canadian Army Training Manual
Gospel According to John

The Canadian Army Training Pamphlet, A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier
used by M15 C. E. Looker

Well worn shaving kit in canvas pack

Churches gave soldiers a small Bible
or book of readings.

Canteens were standard equipment but this one is unique. Private Robert J. Russell scratched dates and names of Japanese prison camps all over the sides of his tin water canteen. His time as an American prisoner of war in the Philippines shows moves to several camps during 1941 and 1942 - Bataan, Corregidor, Cabanatuan.


Then, upon returning home, how elated they must have been! Ted Looker even saved the bag filled with lunch given to him when he returned home after serving five years overseas.

Philippine Prinsn Camp
                            Home Lunch Bag

Canteen etched with names of prison camps in the Philippines.

The Good Luck bag usually contained sweets, food, discount coupons, information about job placements.

Let us remember all those who served in the forces to enable Canadians to live the comfortable life we have today.

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Last updated: February 2, 2019