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Home Learning Corner - Second World War


The Second World War was one of the best-known chapters from our country’s military history. Canada played an important role in helping the Allies to victory in this bitter conflict that raged from September 1939 to August 1945.

You can use the age-appropriate resources below to help the young people in your home learn more about Canadians’ many wartime efforts.

Formal lesson plans for these activities are also available and can be found in our classroom page.

Our 2020 Veterans’ Week activity booklets, youth newspapers, postcards, posters and bookmarks can also be engaging learning resources for students of all ages.


The Battle of the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic was the long struggle at sea between the Allied forces that needed to transport supplies from North America to Europe, and the German forces that wanted to break this vital link. Canadian sailors and airmen played an important role in this pivotal campaign.

Ages 12-18
Exploring the Battle of the Atlantic

Learning facts about the Battle of the Atlantic helps us better understand the great courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who took part.

Ages 12-18
Remembering Canadian merchant sailors lost at sea

Thousands of Allied merchant ships were sunk in the Atlantic during the war. Learning about some of the vessels and sailors that were lost can help us understand the great sacrifices that were made.

The Defence of Hong Kong

The Defence of Hong Kong was the first time that Canadian soldiers saw major action in the Second World War. Almost 2,000 of our troops set sail for this British colony in Asia in the fall of 1941 and would suffer terrible losses in the fighting there.

Gander

Ages 5-7
Remembering Sergeant Gander

Sergeant Gander was a brave Newfoundland dog who was the mascot for a Canadian regiment that fought in Hong Kong.

Gander

Ages 8-12
Honouring Sergeant Gander – Battle of Hong Kong

Learn about the sacrifices and achievements made by Canadians in the Battle of Hong Kong, including Sergeant Gander, a brave Newfoundland dog. He received a medal for his bravery helping the soldiers.

Dog Tags

Ages 12-18
Remembrance dog tags – The Defence of Hong Kong

This dog tag activity is designed to help youth at home ”put a face on remembrance.” Canada’s efforts in the Defence of Hong Kong came at a high cost. More than 550 of the 1,975 Canadians who fought there never returned. Taking a few moments to think about a person who died is a way to honour all those who served.

Print out and wear the Hong Kong remembrance dog tags

The Dieppe Raid

Almost 5,000 Canadian soldiers took part in the Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942. This Allied attack on the area around the French port of Dieppe was not a success and more than 900 Canadians lost their lives. It was the bloodiest single day of the entire Second World War for our troops.

Ages 5-7
Beachcomber delivers the news

Beachcomber was a messenger pigeon who received a medal for his courageous actions during the Dieppe Raid.

Ages 8-12
A deadly day – The Dieppe Raid

Learning facts about the Dieppe Raid helps us understand the great courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who fought there.

Ages 13-18
Exploring the Dieppe Raid

Thousands of Canadians took part in the Dieppe Raid and our historical resources can help us make sense of why this operation was launched and what went wrong.


The Italian Campaign

More than 93,000 Canadians served in Italy from 1943 to 1945. The mountainous terrain of this Mediterranean country – which could be blazing hot in the winter and freezing in the winter – and the fierce enemy resistance they faced made it a very challenging place to fight during the Second World War.

Ages 5-7
The Orphaned Filly

Princess Louise was an injured baby horse that Canadian soldiers rescued in Italy and made the mascot of their regiment.

  • Read about Princess Louise and how animals have helped humans in times of war.
  • Colour a picture of Princess Louise the orphaned filly.

Ages 8-12
Flowers of Friendship

The people of Italy remember the brave Canadians who helped restore peace to their country. One pair of sisters in the town of Ortona had a very special way of showing their respect.

  • Read the “Flowers honour liberty” story.
  • Complete the Poppy colouring sheet to learn about this flower that is also a floral symbol of remembrance.
Dog Tags

Ages 13-18
Exploring the Italian Campaign

Learning facts about the Italian Campaign helps us better understand the great courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who fought there.

 

D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

Allied forces came ashore in occupied France during the Second World War on 6 June 1944 – a date that would go down in history as D-Day. Canadian soldiers landed on Juno Beach and would spend the next two-and-a-half months fighting in the Battle of Normandy.

Ages 5-7
D-Day Heroes

Animals have often helped our soldiers in times of war. Many humans have received medals for their courage in battle but animals have also been honoured that way, too.  

  • Read about a brave Canadian soldier, dog and pigeon who all received medals for their courageous actions during the Battle of Normandy.
  • Complete a dot-to-dot activity featuring the Victoria Cross.
  • Read about and colour a picture of the Dickin Medal which is awarded to brave animals.

Ages 8-12
Canada House and Juno Beach

One of the first buildings liberated by Canadian troops on D-Day was the a distinctive home in Bernières-sur-Mer, France that has come to be known as “Canada House.”

Ages 13-18
Cracking the Walls of Fortress Europe

Learning facts about the role Canadians played in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy helps us better understand their great courage and sacrifice.


The Battle of the Scheldt

In the fall of 1944, the First Canadian Army was tasked with clearing German forces from the shores of the Scheldt estuary in Belgium and the Netherlands. It was a bitter campaign but our soldiers succeeded. Their victory there was an important step in the liberation of Northwest Europe.

Ages 12-18
“Cinderella on the Left” – video viewing activity

Learn why the Allies had to fight the Battle of the Scheldt and how Canadian soldiers overcame incredible hardships to achieve victory.

Ages 13-17
Battle of the Scheldt fact quest

Learning facts about this campaign helps us better understand the great courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who fought there.

Dog Tags

Ages 12-18
Remembrance dog tags – The Battle of the Scheldt

This dog tag activity is designed to help youth at home ”put a face on remembrance.” Canada’s efforts in the Battle of the Scheldt came at a high cost, with more than 6,300 Canadian soldiers being killed or wounded. Taking a few moments to think about a person who died is a way to honour all those who served.

 

The Liberation of the Netherlands and V-E Day

The Liberation of the Netherlands is one of the best-known chapters from our country’s military history. The Canadians who fought to free the Dutch people in 1944–1945 played an important role in the Allied efforts to bring the Second World War to an end in Europe.

Tulips

Ages 5-7
Flowers of Friendship

Some members of the Dutch royal family lived in the safety of Canada for much of the war. To say thank you, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands gave tens of thousands of tulip bulbs to our country after the conflict ended.

Handmade Coat

Ages 8-12
A Handmade Gift of Love

Canadian soldiers reached out to the Dutch people in many ways, including one heart-warming episode when a little girl named Sussie Cretier was given a special coat because she had none of her own.

Ages 13-17
Liberation of the Netherlands fact quest

Learning facts about this campaign helps us better understand the great courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who fought there.


Valour in the Pacific – Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray, VC

Thousands of Canadian airmen served in Asia and the Pacific during the Second World War. They played a variety of roles, from being radar operators to flying with bomber, transport, reconnaissance and fighter squadrons. Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray was a naval aviator and he would earn the Victoria Cross for his brave actions in the closing days of the Second World War. 

Dot to Dot

Ages 5-7
Robert Hampton Gray dot to dot

Many Canadians received medals for their bravery during the Second World War. The Victoria Cross was the highest award they could receive and 16 of our courageous service members earned one,  including Robert Hampton Gray.

Hammy

Ages 8-12
Hammy the Hero

Robert Hampton “Hammy” Gray was from British Columbia. Learn more about his great bravery and sacrifice in the Second World War and how he earned the Victoria Cross medal.

Ages 12-18
Robert Hampton Gray, VC – Hometown Hero Scavenger Hunt

Robert Hampton Gray was Canada’s last Victoria Cross recipient of the Second World War. He was a true hero.

Second World War Remembrance Dog Tags

When you don't have a family connection to someone in the military, it can be difficult to feel personally involved with remembrance. This dog tag activity is designed to help youth “put a face on remembrance” by letting them learn more about an individual Canadian who died in service.  

Print and cut out the dog tag of your choice (perhaps selecting an individual from your home province or territory). Here are some subjects you can explore:

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