Boys to the Farm. Bring Your Chum and Do Your Bit


In World War I, Canada established a Soldiers of the Soil corps under which boys aged 15 to 19 were asked to volunteer their summers to work on farms, replacing farmhands who had enlisted for military service. In all, 22,385 boys signed up as farm “soldiers.” This poster, issued by the Canada Food Board, is an appeal for farm labor. It shows a boy wearing a Soldiers of the Soil uniform blowing a bugle to summon others to the corps. In the background, other boys wearing the uniform of the organization head for the fields. The text indicates that the bugler is wearing the official Soldiers of the Soil uniform, authorized by the Canada Food Board and manufactured by Montreal Shirt & Overall Co., Ltd. In exchange for their labor, the soldiers received room and board, spending money, and, in the case of high school students, exemption from classes and final exams. On completion of their term and "honorable discharge," they also received a badge acknowledging their service, often at a community ceremony. The province of Ontario established a parallel program, the Farm Service Corps, under which girls (known as “Farmerettes”) could volunteer to work on farms

Last updated: October 25, 2013