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Time Traveller: During wartime, kids in North Vancouver prepare for worst-case scenarios

Led by their teachers, the students practiced putting on gas masks and evacuating their classrooms
Time Traveller, July 28 editionWEB

In 1941, the first wave of soldiers left North Vancouver and headed overseas to fight in the Second World War.

Those that were left behind sprang into action and banded together in volunteer groups to respond to possible wartime dangers of air raids, gas attacks and sabotage.

This photo from around 1941 shows a group of students leaving Queen Mary School during a gas mask drill with simulated gas. Schools taught wartime skills by holding their own drills and instructing students on what to do in case of bomb and gas attacks.

Led by their teachers, the students practiced putting on gas masks and evacuating their classrooms. By 1940, five North Vancouver schools had Army Cadet Corps. They were: Queen Mary, Kingsley, North Shore College, North Vancouver High, and Ridgeway. 

Youth also supported the war effort through their contributions to the North Shore’s preparedness against enemy attacks. The North Vancouver branch of the Air Raid Precaution group offered courses on emergency training and conducted practice drills, specifically blackouts due to the community’s close proximity to the shipyards.

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver opening in 2021.

Currently, MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact: archives@monova.ca

Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.