The section on World War Two at the War Museum opens with displays putting into context the global situation in the 1930s with the rise of what would become the Axis- Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan, and the measures they were taking in their own ambitions in the years leading to war. Canada joined the war from the beginning, and it is covered extensively and chronologically in this area. This first shot, featuring a German torpedo at the base of a series of panels about U-Boats off the Canadian east coast. A map of the area is at the right, littered with dots indicating ship sinkings, shelling of shore positions, and insertions of enemy agents.
Canada also found itself at war with Japan in December 1941. In the span of the same few hours in which Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japanese struck at targets in Asia, including Hong Kong, where Canadians were among the garrisons stationed. The Battle of Hong Kong ended in defeat and POW camps for the Allied troops stationed there.
The home front was affected by the war, of course, and there are a series of propaganda posters of the era placed on a wall here. This is one of them.
This painting depicts another aspect of life at the home front. Massey Ferguson During World War II was painted by A.J. Casson (another member of The Group Of Seven). The Massey Ferguson plant in Brantford, Ontario, is the subject of this painting and captures men and women working on building naval guns.
Women served in various capacities in the military branches during the war, and there are displays on their role, including a uniform and panels on the Canadian Women's Army Corps.
Life at home also included rationing at grocery stores. This display features wartime products.
Fragments of a Lancaster are found here, with a panel on Andrew Mynarski, a bomber air gunner with the Royal Canadian Air Force, one of the crew members of the Lancaster in question. He posthumously won the Victoria Cross for his actions in a June 1944 raid over France in which the Lancaster had been attacked by a Luftwaffe fighter and set ablaze. Mynarski went through the flames to try to save one of his fellow crewmen, and died of burns afterwards.
The Spitfire was heavily used by the RCAF throughout the war.
Canadian troops were part of the Italian campaign, and that is examined here in the WW II section. William Ogilvie painted Entry Into Assoro, Sicily, depicting the entry of Canadian soldiers into the town on July 22nd, 1943 after fighting their way up the mountainous terrain.
Casa Berardi is a painting by Charles Fraser Comfort, an officer who by 1943 was commissioned as a war artist. He depicts the Royal 22nd Regiment in the midst of battle against Germans. Their victory would open the way to Ortona.
Today I finish with another example of the panels one finds on individuals throughout the Museum- in this case a general and a private. General Burns and Private Smith both served in the Italian campaign.