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Veterans Come Together

Adapting to civilian life after the wars was often very difficult for returning servicemen. In many cases, the government programs put in place to help them were inadequate. Since Verdun was home to so many veterans from First World War, veterans’ associations, like the Verdun branch of the Great War Veterans Association, the Canadian Corps Association (Verdun Section 1) and the Army & Navy Veterans in Canada (Ypres Unit 266, Verdun) were created to advocate for veterans’ interests.

They sought better disability and spousal pensions and fought to preserve the memory of the sacrifice the soldiers had made during the war. They also brought veterans a lot of comfort and created a space for them to meet, talk and enjoy themselves.

Black and white photograph of a building whose façade features the inscription “The Great War Memorial Hall” and “Lest We Forget.” A man is standing in front of the main door and cars are parked close to the building.

The Great War Memorial Hall, by Montreal architect Frank R. Foster

Some associations decided to join forces. In 1925, they began a merger process to create the Canadian Legion. This became the main veterans’ organization in Verdun (Legion branch 4). Its activities were held in a dedicated space for veterans: the impressive Great War Memorial Hall unveiled in 1929 on Verdun Avenue (now rue de Verdun.).

Black and white photograph of five seated men and nine men standing behind them. The portraits of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are hanging on the wall in the background. A clock indicates 8:18 a.m.

Photograph of the officers of Branch 4 Verdun of the Canadian Legion

In the early 1930s, the Verdun Legion’s actions were no longer limited to servicemen. The association helped the entire community and organized fundraisers for various causes, including children’s welfare, assistance for the unemployed and support for widows. In 1947, the Canadian Legion founded a branch (202) in Crawford-Park, in Maison Nivard-                      De Saint-Dizier, located in the western section of Verdun where so many veterans lived.

Colour photograph of an old Breton-style house with an entrance door at the centre, two windows on the ground floor and two dormers in the attic. The Canadian Legion emblem is featured above the door. A Québec flag flies to the right of the house. The St. Lawrence River is visible in the background.

Maison Nivard-De Saint-Dizier

Black and white newspaper article titled “Ladies’ Auxiliary Aids In Program Of The Branch” and a 50-word text that describes the photograph, featuring 10 women, five of whom are seated in the front row and five others standing behind them (their names are indicated below the photograph).

Verdun Ladies Auxiliary of Branch 4 Verdun

Women’s contributions were also vital to the veterans’ associations.          They offered food assistance to many people in need and brought comfort to sick and injured soldiers.

These women gained the recognition of the Canadian Legion and, in December 1945, it announced the possibility of creating women’s sections. The Verdun section was founded in April 1946 under the name 104 Dunver. This was the second women’s section created in the province, and had 25 members.