This uniform is an original, on loan from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 362 (Nutana) (un-numbered) in Saskatoon. It belonged to a cavalryman from Lord Strathcona’s Horse.
The pants worn were called jodhpurs, much like riding pants (narrow at the ankles). Puttees, woolen strips of fabric, were wrapped around the narrow parts of the pants. This is because soldiers were issued boots that were ankle-high, which was inadequate for the trenches as they were muddy, wet, and cold in the winter. The government issued puttees as a cost-saving measure, as it would have been more expensive to provide soldiers taller leather boots.
Life in the trenches was “terror and routine.” Absolute boredom and absolute terror, no in-between.
Due to censorship, cameras were not permitted on the frontlines. Many of the photos in our exhibit would have been taken by the photographers who were commissioned to take photos of the war, and therefore may not present an accurate depiction of what it might have been like to be on the trenches.
Cap badges indicated which battalion the soldier was serving in. This badge is from the 196th (Western Universities) Canadian Overseas Infantry Battalion. On loan from Teresa Carlson.
These medals were awarded to Henry Accleton, a sub-contractor at the U of S that served in the Royal Field Artillery Battalion. He was a painter and glasier at the U of S, he painted the Roll of Honour ribbons. Three of these medals were awarded every soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces - second from left: 1914-15 Star; third from left: British War Medal; Right: Victory Medal. In addition, he received the Meritorious Service Medal (Left) for gallantry. On loan from the Accleton family.
The Sheaf, the University of Saskatchewan student newspaper, covered the war throughout 1914-1918. Coverage was very active at the beginning, but as it progressed less and less was printed, likely due to the growing fatigue of the War, as well as less volunteers and readers. Propaganda was a large component of the newspaper’s war reports – during 1916 and 1917 this was all that was published. The Sheaf was a forum where information and war stories from The Front were shared. On loan from the University of Saskatchewan, Archives and Special Collections.
Some female students harassed males that did not enlist, waving white feathers in their face and taunting them as cowards as they walked by – the “White Feather Movement.” There were also cards such as these, that invited women and family members or friends to tell the recruitment office about a male that had not yet enlisted.
"Trench Art" were art and objects made from shell casings and discarded bullets, bits of brass, buttons, and anything spare lying about. This example is a “Hate belt”, which were made by German, British, and Colonial soldiers from collected badges and bullets. This one is on a German tank belt. On loan from the Western Development Museum (WDM-1973-Y-2382).
This gas mask was designed later in the war, preceded by a cloth "PH Helmet". The filter was made out of asbestos to counteract the mustard gas; at the time, asbestos was not known to be hazardous to health. On loan from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 362 (Nutana).
Some dental instruments have remained largely unchanged. Due to lack of care, many soldiers lost teeth during the war. On loan from the Western Development Museum (WDM-1973-NB-2692.10).