To commemorate Remembrance Day this year, we are featuring a month long exploration of the World War I and World War II aspect of our collection. Artifacts and archives will be featured and will highlight the reality of life during the World Wars.

Each week we will post these objects on social media and update the blog with additions.

Here is an American Army dress cap from WWI. Made from wool, with a black leather brim and band across the front, with brass buttons. The buttons have an American bald eagle and shield on them. It was donated by a member of the 98th Lincoln and Welland Regiment.

Today we’re showcasing rations for citizens during WWII. The booklet features coupons for individual beer rations from the LCBO. The tokens are Canada Meat Rations. Keeping a close eye on supply levels was necessary during wartime.

Check out this eight piece army ammunition belt. Each piece is stamped with an arrow, a British symbol, and information on their manufacturing. All pieces on this belt range from 1915-1918.

Here is an image of the Lake Lemando, a cargo ship navigated through the Welland Canal in 1918. The ship was launched that year by the American Shipbuilding Company, from Cleveland, Ohio. It was sold to the Ford Motor Company in 1927 and scrapped.

Pictured here is a “Silver Cross Women of Canada Welland Chapter” flag. The Silver Cross started in 1919 as a tribute to the personal loss and sacrifice observed by widows and mothers of Canadian soldiers, aviators, and sailors who died for their country.

Check out this 1944/45 Canadian ration coupon book for gasoline. During the war, civilian cars were allotted certain amounts of gas. This helped ensure there would be enough steady supply to sustain manufacturing and the war effort.

Today we are featuring a white canvas duffel bag from Corporal Ken Sykes. The bag has a flap on top and a drawstring closure. Duffel bags were designed to be crumpled small when not in use. They were mobile and could be used as a pillow to lay on.

Here is a field service post card from June 15, 1916, sent back home to Welland. These post cards had lines that could be crossed out to update those back home, ensuring no key information could fall into enemy hands. Extra writing on the post card would mean it was destroyed.

Here is a “Steel Pot” M1 helmet from WWII. This helmet has lining on the inside which is leather and black canvas with mesh. There is also a leather chin strap. This style helmet was given approval for use on June 6, 1941 in the United States and became widely used.

Today’s archive feature is of the British American Shipbuilding Company’s first hull built in Welland, the ‘War Weasel’, in dry dock. It was listed as built in May, 1918 and was a cargo ship built for Britain. The War Badger and War Racoon were also built in Welland

Check out one of our newer acquisitions, a trophy from the Welland Canal Force, 1916. It was awarded for “general proficiency” by Lt. Col. Burleigh, who was in charge of the Northern Division. The Canal Force protected the Niagara area during WWI.

Look at this fantastic photograph from our collection of the Welland Legion Branch 4 at its first location on East Main St. The Legion moved to its current location on Morningstar Avenue in 1967. The old building was purchased and demolished for a new YMCA.

Pictured here is a long, army green roll of wool puttee. These are also known as leg wraps or bindings, and consist of strips of cloth wound around the leg from the knee down for support and protection. These were used during WWI as part of Canadian military uniforms and phased out during WWII as they were slow to put on and caused hygiene issues.

Here is a WWII air force canteen. The canteen is metal, covered in padded wool insulation with a stopper cork. The cork has a string so it could be tied off and would not be lost. The canteen also has a buckled strap to fasten it to a belt. Although fresh water was delivered to soldiers, personal canteens were necessary during long marches, and in times where supply was unreliable.

Today we are featuring a painted wooden statue of a soldier from WWI. The soldier is unknown, and is holding their rifle in a victory type of salute.

Check out this WWI army field first aid medical bag, carried by a nurse. This bag was used in the field to carry medical tools and supplies. Often the bag contained little more than cotton, tension bandages, and some sterilizing alcohol.