The Life of a War Hero

An English-Canadian soldier in the war and post-war years

Private Albert Wright

**This is a fictional character reflecting the feelings of the times.**

Age: 23

Family: an older brother also enlisted, 2 older sisters, 3 younger brothers

Regiment: 3rd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)

The Trial (1914-1918)

The Private's View

"I was overjoyed at showing my patriotism for Canada. We were taken to Britain where we went through a training camp before we were exposed to the battlefield.

The battlefield was unlike what we were trained for. The Willies were cruel. They used poison gas and machine guns. Allied men were dying by the hundreds.

Vimy was when everything turned around. The Allies had hope of winning the Great War.

When the war had ended, the whole battalion was glad. That meant we'd won and we would finally return home."

Events of the War


Machine Guns

  • positioned on a tripod
  • used about 4-6 people per machine gun
  • fired 400-600 bullets per minute
  • jammed frequently
  • Germans used machine guns numerous times during the war
  • weighed around 12 kg

Chlorine Gas

  • Germans experimented with it for use in trench warfare
  • used in the Second Battle of Ypres
  • looks yellow-green and smells like pineapples and peppers
  • destroys lungs
  • urine and gas masks can neutralize the effects of chlorine gas


  • unreliable
  • helped break the stalemate in the trenches
  • sank in mud
  • used in the Battle of the Somme

A Soldier's Day in the Trenches

  • soldiers guarded trenches
  • gathering for inspections, breakfast and perhaps a ration of rum

Daily Routine: (work is done underground)

  • cleaning latrines
  • filling sandbags
  • repairing duckboards
  • free time to read, write postcards or in journals, and gambling


  • soldiers move to no man's land
  • dig new trenches or repair barbed wire
  • look out for enemies, spy or go on raids

Constant in the Everyday Activities:

  • snipers and shells fire regularly
  • about 80 soldiers killed or maimed every month
Canadian Soldier's Uniform


The Armistice Ending the Great War is Signed

Monday, Nov. 11th 1918 at 11am

Compiègne, France

Compiègne, Picardy

Meeting Place: a train carriage near a French railway

People Invited: David Lloyd George, Raymond Poincare and Kaiser Wilhelm II

The Test (1919-1923)

The Private's View

"We didn't arrive home as quickly as we'd thought.

As much of a relief as it was to return, it was no better here than in Belgium. The Spanish Flu started to spread among the Canadians, with deaths reaching the thousands.

It was difficult to find a job. It was a surprise for me to see my sisters working in the factory. It was all new for me. I couldn't have missed so much when I was gone overseas."

Coming Home (1918-1919)

  • impatience to get back to their hometown
  • mutiny and a few deaths caused due to impatience
  • Halifax and railroads can't operate well (Halifax's harbour is recovering from the explosion and railroads are worn down from its constant usage

Spanish Flu (1918-1919)

  • about 50 000 people died
  • no medicine could cure people who had it
  • caused government to pay more attention to healthcare

Reintegration (1919)

  • Soldiers take 6 1/2 months to get reintegrated into society
  • Get taught briefly about a profession they'd like to work in
  • Find job openings and apply for them
  • Proper medical care if needed

Struggles of Reintegration (1919)

  • lack of job opportunities as some women stayed in factories
  • psychological and/or mental disease (shell shock) prevented reintegration
  • lack of money in Canada ($2 billion debt and high inflation)
  • health benefits are limited and there are unpaid veteran pensions
  • many returned to Canada in 1919

The Transformation (1924-1929)

The Private's View

"Things had begun to look better.

I'd finally managed to get a job and I started to feel like a Canadian again, not like the soldier I was during the war.

It turned out to be unlucky, however.

1929 was the worst year for everyone. It was when the Great Depression began. Everyone became poor. I am once again unemployed, and there was nothing I could do about it."

Industrialization (1924)

  • Toronto and Montreal had 33% increase
  • more people moved to cities
  • more people worked in factories
  • economic boom

The Great Depression Begins (1929)

  • also known as Black Tuesday
  • many Canadians bought stocks from the stock market
  • happened internationally
  • thought to be the biggest financial occurrence of the 20th century