Boer War Discovery Page 92h

Rare Boer War Discoveries

Below are some of the items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Great Boer War Discoveries ( July 2005)

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Canadian World War I Recruiting Poster, 1916
Orig. poster - Size - 27" x 44"
Found - Waterloo, ON
A Golden Chance for the Artisan & Mechanic
Quite possibly the finest Canadian World War I poster ever produced, is this marvellous example we found in pristine condition at an antique dealer's booth.

This gigantic poster was part of the estate of a Canadian World War I soldier who survived, moved to Pennsylvania, after the war, and kept it as a personal souvenir. It was found, among his effects, lovingly preserved, after he passed on.

Was there ever a more glorious recruiting "come on," more cleverly designed to whet the adventurous appetite of young men, than this live action leggo set of comrades in action, promising high excitement as they are offered a "golden chance" to build, in real life, the toy bridges they used to build at home as boys.

But this time it is for real; dozens of other chums are already there, stacking, carrying, tying, chopping logs as part of a "pioneer" construction brigade, building a bridge so that the Canadian cavalry can gallop across a river and ride to engage the enemy in the rear.

Overhead the odd looking planes dart about the sky, dropping an ineffectual bomb here and there, among the warring forces. Shells explode harmlessly in the sky. Clearly there is action and excitement aplenty - but relatively little danger. Reminiscent of the cover for a child's toy game box, this is a scene with no bloodshed or death anywhere. "Oh, What a Lovely War" is certainly the promise of this poster.

Men with bare heads and in shirt sleeves, obeying the directions of an officer standing completely unafraid, out in the open, bespeak more of the Boy Scout camp, than the deadliest war in history...

Probably aimed at anxious mothers, as much as hesitant youths, the poster challenges young men "To build anything; to fight anything" and not to miss "A Golden Chance for the Artisan and Mechanic."

The sky is blue and the fields are clean and green; quite the opposite of the real life Western Front which at this time was already - as far as the eye could see - a charnel house of churned up mud and bodies of countless thousands of men and horses.

But then advertising has always been about lying rather than telling the truth. Especially during times of war.

Here the false advertising cost millions of young men their lives.

Because life on the Front Lines turned out to be as different as night from day, when compared to the bucolic scene on this poster.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000