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Military Lecture: Men and Morale – Canadian Army Training in the Second World War

January 19, 2023 @ 7:00 pm

Group of soldiers laying on a field, they are watching one man give a demonstration/lecture on training.

Banner Image: Soldiers attending a field lecture in Vernon, BC, Canada, ca. 1940. (Museum and Archives of
Vernon, #9678)

Watch the recording.

The Canadian Army of the Second World War spent more time preparing and training their citizen soldiers then they did in sustained action. This chiefly took place across Canada and in the United Kingdom. Adequate training functioned as a cradle for collective action, morale, empowerment, self-confidence, and, ultimately, success in battle. Yet, due to a number of factors, a sufficient standard of training was not always achieved by all.

There were limits to the Canadian Army’s ability to control the morale of its men as it created a vast organization from scratch. Training camp experiences varied, influenced by factors such as food, weather, comfort, group cohesion, leadership, skill level, discipline, social activities, and interactions with local civilians. In fact, it required a constant negotiation between camp leadership and the rank and file. Drawing from her research on both the Canadian and wider Commonwealth armies, Megan Hamilton’s presentation will explain why soldiers’ morale in training was a difficult, yet vital, balancing act.

“Men and Morale – Canadian Army Training in the Second World War” takes place Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 7 pm. The lecture premieres both in-person at the Civic Museum, and online via our Facebook livestream. The recorded conversation will be available on Facebook, YouTube, and our Museum Everywhere Portal after the event.

To attend the conversation in-person, registration is required through Eventbrite.

Guelph Museums’ Military Lecture series is presented in partnership with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada.

About Megan Hamilton:

Picture of a woman outside, a bright green tree is behind her. She is smiling and wearing a blue, button-down shirt. She has straight hair.

Originally from Vernon, British Columbia, Megan Hamilton is a social and military historian of the 20th century. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo. Her federally-funded master’s research focused on the Canadian experience of the Second World War, specifically the Vernon Military Camp. Megan’s work has been published by a number of platforms and in 2022 she won the Tri-University History Program’s top essay prize for master’s students.

She is currently located in London, England, where she has begun a fully-funded PhD at King’s College London and the Imperial War Museum, supervised by Dr. Jonathan Fennell. Her dissertation is a study of Second World War army training across the Commonwealth.

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January 19, 2023
7:00 pm
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Guelph Museums


Guelph Civic Museum
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