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Remembering the First World War – Archives Blog

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At Home and Away: Remembering the First World War through records at the Archives of Manitoba

Visit this blog for regular posts about records at the Archives of Manitoba that date from the time of the First World War. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

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27 October 2014

Place your order here

On October 20, 1914, the Hudson’s Bay Company received its first purchasing order from the Director-General of Victualling of the Armies and Towns, on behalf of the French government’s Ministry of War. Orders like this resulted from the agreement signed between the HBC and the French government in the early months of the First World War.

Excerpted pages from Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
French government contracts, #1-20, with index (HBCA RG22/2/1)

Search Tip: To learn more about this contract, search Keystone with the keywords “French contracts.”

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20 October 2014

More Battershill letters donated to the Archives

This summer, we were surprised to be contacted by a member of the Battershill family wanting to donate a collection of letters written during the First World War. These letters are an excellent addition to the collection of Battershill family records already held at the Archives (see our post from May 20, 2014). This donation includes letters to and from Amelia Simmons, sister to George and Charles Battershill. Some letters are from the two brothers and there are also letters from other members of the family. Several letters were written after George's death at Vimy Ridge.

This new set of letters is currently being processed and will be available for consultation in the near future. What an exciting acquisition!

open box containing letters

Collection of Battershill family records recently donated to the Archives of Manitoba.

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Search Tip: Search “Battershill family fonds” in Keystone for more information about the Battershill family and their records.

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14 October 2014

Wartime Cookery

One of the most significant day-to-day effects on life at home during the First World War was the impact of rations. Food rationing essentially meant that only fixed amounts of foods like butter, sugar and eggs were available to individuals at home so that the remainder could be used to help men fighting overseas.  The Archives has just one file of records from Gertrude Code, a member of the Local Council of Women, and they reflect her involvement in the war effort. Included in her records is a cookbook, “Wartime Cookery” created by the Recipe Committee of the Local Council of Women. If you want to eat like they did 100 years ago, have a look at some of the recipes. Featured here are “soups that nourish” including Peanut Butter Tomato Soup, Oatmeal Soup, and more!

Archives of Manitoba, Gertrude C. Code fonds, Wartime Cookery booklet, 1918.

Archives of Manitoba, Gertrude C. Code fonds, Wartime Cookery booklet, 1918.

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Search Tip: Search the “Gertrude C. Code fonds” in Keystone to find out more and to see digitized images of her records at the Archives, including the complete Wartime Cookery cookbook.

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6 October 2014

Supply and Demand

During the First World War, commerce and industry across Europe were completely disrupted, as was its transportation infrastructure, leaving allied nations dependent on foreign shipping for their wartime supplies. At the same time, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) suffered marked declines in its fur and land sales as spending ground to a halt in Europe and North America. Because of this, HBC entered into a new business venture.

The following is an agreement dated October 9, 1914 that is signed between the HBC and the Government of France, written in both French and English. In it, the HBC was appointed the French government’s purchasing agent for food stuffs, raw materials and manufactured goods. The HBC was also charged with organizing the transportation of goods and produce to designated French ports. Similar agreements were later signed with the Belgian, Russian and Romanian governments. During the course of the war, the HBC organized a merchant fleet of several hundred ships, which transported over 13 million tons of goods, as well as soldiers, refugees and escaped prisoners of war.

Excerpted pages from Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
French government contracts, #1-20, with index (HBCA RG22/2/1)

Search Tip: To learn more about this contract, search Keystone with the keywords “French contracts.”

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