Stories from the Homefront: Oshawa During the Second World War
Oshawa Community Museum and Archives
Oshawa, Ontario

Industry Before, After and During The Second World War

1

General Motors of Canada female workers
20th Century 1939-1946
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa

2

Introduction to Industry
20th Century, July 12, 2006



Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives

3

Motors on the March 'General Motors of Canada Industry Video'
20th Century, 1938-1945



Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, Oshawa Canada
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa Canada

4

Introduction to General Motors of Canada
20th Century, July 12, 2006



Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives

5

Arial view of General Motors of Canada, and surrounding Oshawa
20th Century 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

6

The last civilian car produced during the war era
20th Century, 1942
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

7

The first post-war Chevrolet rolling off the assembly line
20th Century, October 1945



Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa
Oshawa Community Archives

8

Representatives from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.
20th Century 1939 -1945
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa
Oshawa Community Archives

9

Assembly line at General Motors of Canada
20th Century 1938-1945
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

10

500,000th celebration
20th Century, August 18, 2006



Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives

11

R.S. McLaughlin tightening the final bolt on the 500,000th military vehicle
20th Century, 1943
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, Oshawa Canada

12

P.O. Robert Spencer and Flt. Sgt. John M. Wood
20th Century, June 19, 1943

TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa
Oshawa Community Archives

13

Five army officers at the General Motors of Canada's 500,000th Celebration
20th Century, June 19, 1943
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa
Oshawa Community Archives

14

Visitors checking into the 500,000th military vehicle ceremony
20th Century June 19, 1943

TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
General Motors of Canada collection '500 000 military vehicles

15

Duke of Kent, on a visit to General Motors, accompanied by R.S. McLaughlin
20th Century August 23, 1941
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Thomas Bouckley Collection, Robert McLaughlin Gallery

16

R.S. McLaughlin and Duke of Kent during the latter's visit to General Motors of Canada
20th Century 1940
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

17

18

Poster Hung within General Motors of Canada, showing employees the appreciation of others
20th Century 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

19

Female workers outside of the General Motors of Canada Plant
20th Century, May 1943
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada, War Craftsman, Oshawa, Ontario
Oshawa Community Archives

20







"Dad worked at GM (General Motors). If he wanted to do something else he couldn't take another job unless it was war related too. When he used to work in Ajax at DIL (Defense Industries Limited) they make cordite. That's what flashes the gun powder. Sometimes there would be cordite particles on dad's clothes. There would be some in the cuffs of his pants and he would put it into an ashtray and light it and it would flame up right away. The stuff was very flammable." -Murray Mackay

"I worked at General Motors during the war. We packed nuts and bolts and other items and they were shipped to Europe and assembled there. A few times my girlfriend and I slipped our names and addresses into the package. We received a few letters from the soldiers and wrote to them during the war. I'm sure they enjoy being pen pals." - Phyllis Sprostak

"I worked at GM (General Motors) briefly. I had been working at the Brewers Retail and (I was) told I was able bodied and because it was non essential, then I had to go to a factory that was war production like Duplate." - Charlie Russell

"There were armored carriers and personnel carriers. Big trucks, you'd see them once in a while. You'd see them but didn't know what was in them." - Murray Mackay

"My husband worked on the truck line working on jeeps, gun carriers and trucks. He worked on assembly, putting parts together." - Jeannette Mark Nugent

21

Women working on the line at General Motors of Canada
20th Century 1939-1945
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa

22

Sewing room at General Motors of Canada
20th Century, 1939-1945
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

23







"Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Dunkirk, where they were forced to leave all their transportation and equipment; General Motors in Oshawa, received all patterns and tools from Britain, and immediately started turning out vehicles with right-hand drive to re-supply the British Army." - Terry Giles

"When the war came I decided to apply at General Motors on my own. At first I worked on the panels for cars from 1939-1940; it all went into war work. I worked on army cushions for the trucks. The girls were like me their husbands were away." -Marion Manning

"When I was working on the army cushion, they switched me over to the aircraft engine cowling. It was a wooden fuselage. All this beautiful cotton material was put over it. It was a wood frame and then the fine cotton material that was manufactured for the plane was glued on. The other women would take scraps of the material home and make beautiful blouses out of it." - Marion Manning

"It was common to see Army trucks on the street of Oshawa; for we were all proud of our war effort and the trucks that General Motors produced." - Jeannette Mark Nugent

I worked at Rods and Tubing [North End] making tubing for gas lines for army vehicles. One man had gotten drunk, fell, and work continued because they couldn't afford to stop production. Mike worked on the "boy's line" -Resident of Sunnycrest

"I remember when my husband was called to duty and GM (General Motors) refused to let him go because he was a tool and die maker." -Resident of Sunnycrest Retirement Home



24

Women war workers at General Motors of Canada
20th Century, 1944
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada, War Craftsman, Oshawa, Ontario
Oshawa Community Archives

25

Mosquito Bomber
20th Century, August 18, 2006



Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives

26

The De Havilland Mosquito IV
20th Century, October 1943
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, General Motors of Canada War- Craftsman volume 2 page 12

27

Mosquito Bombers
20th Century, 1939-1945

TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

28







"My Aunt got work with GM (General Motors) making Mosquito Bombers. She was in her 20s. I remember going downtown and seeing the Mosquito bodies coming out of the factory and they would send them to De Havilland." - Murray Mackay

"My father was chief inspector of aircraft when GM (General Motors) was building fuselages for the Mosquito." -Bill Wells

"Isabel Bryant's mother had a job spray painting inside the tail of planes because she was small and could fit into the space." - Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre

"I worked in the final assembly area plugging up the holes (drilling holes) of the Mosquito Bomber." - Yvonne Cory

"I worked on the aircraft at GM (General Motors). We wore overalls rolled up at the pant leg. I used to paint the bolts for the aircraft with yellow primer and green paint in 1944." - Clara Lucier

"I also worked in the aircraft stock room when they were building the Mosquito Bomber." Phyllis Sprostak

29

Men working on a Mosquito Bomber Fuselage
20th Century, May 1943
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa

30



There were many different models of trucks produced by General Motors of Canada during the war. The following photos showcase vehicles produced by General Motors throughout Canada during the Second World War.

General Motors artillery and army vehicles were a dominate factor within the war effort. More than one third of all transportation in North Africa and the Middle East were of Canadian origin and many of these units were built right here in Oshawa. Armies of all ranks have described their appreciation for the quality of General Motors army trucks.

31

General Motors of Canada War Truck
20th Century 1930-1945
General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa

32

General Motors of Canada Aircraft Gassing Truck
20th Century 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, Oshawa Canada, General Motors of Canada War Album

33

The Sexton, self propelled artillery vehicle
20th Century 1939-1942

TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Public Library, R.S. McLaughlin Branch

34

General Motors of Canada General Service Truck
20th Century, 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, General Motors of Canada Warcraftsmen Poster

35

General Motors of Canada Heavy Utility Ambulance
20th Century, 1939 - 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

36

General Motors of Canada Early Model Ambulance
20th Century 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Parkwood, National Historic Site, Archives, General Motors of Canada Warcraftsmen Poster

37

General Motors of Canada Six Pound Gun Carriers
20th Century, 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

38

General Motors of Canada Anti- Aircraft
20th Century 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

39

General Motors of Canada Three Ton General Service
20th Century, 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

40

General Motors of Canada Heavy Utility Personnel
20th Century 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

41

General Motors of Canada Light Reconnaissance Armoured
20th Century 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album

42

General Motors of Canada Heavy Armoured Car
20th Century, 1939- 1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

43

General Motors of Canada Armoured Personal Carrier
20th Century, 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
General Motors of Canada War Album
Oshawa Community Archives

44

45

The exterior of Pedlar People
20th Cenutry 1920-1981
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
The Pedlar People Limited (No 55, August 1942) page 16

46

A woman working on the line at Pedlar People Ltd. checking shells
20th Century 1939-1945
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Credits:
Pedlar People Ltd. "Metal Built Products in Wartime"
Oshawa Community Archives

47

Women from Pedlar inspecting 40mm anti- aircraft cartridge cases
20th Century, 1939- 1946
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario


Credits:
Pedlar People Ltd. "Metal Built Products in Wartime"
General Motors of Canada Head Office, Oshawa

48

Female welder at Pedlar People with an army truck grill
20th Century 1939-1942
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario


Credits:
The Pedlar People Limited (No 55, August 1942) page 13

49







"Shell casing were here and sent to Ajax to be filled [at Defense Industries Limited.]" - Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre

"I worked on the shells with a reamer and also with a light to look in the shell to see if there were any deep scratches or grooves. My boss was Mrs. Moss." - Clara Lucier

"I worked at Pedlar People during the war. We inspected 40mm shell casings with long wand with a light on the end of it. We were to look for flaws in the metal. It was explained to us that a flaw could make the shell explode in the gun and possibly kill the soldier. We were to be very careful and reject any shell casings that were not perfectly made." - Jeannette Mark Nugent

"When I was overseas I saw these empty brass shells and wanted them to make a tobacco case. When I got the shell home, my wife saw it and [said] she had inspected the same shell before it went overseas. Her cancellation mark was on the shell!" - Earl Hann

"I worked at Pedlars reaming shells. This involved taking an instrument and cleaning out the burrs from the brass shells. The brass would get on the instep of my feet and itched terribly at the time and for several years later. The shells were 35 mm and about 6 inches long. The men were separated from the women. My sister also worked here and my sister-in-law worked in the government part." -Yvonne Cory



50

Four women from Pedlar inspecting 40mm anti- aircraft cartridge cases
20th Century 1939-1946
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario


Credits:
Pedlar People Ltd. "Metal Built Products in Wartime"
Oshawa Community Archives

51

Normalizing furnace; used in the production of shell cases
20th Century 1939-1945
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario


Credits:
The Pedlar People Limited (No 55, August 1942) page 30

52

Women and men working together at Pedlar's People
20th Century 1939-1946
Pedlar, Oshawa, Ontario


Credits:
Pedlar People Ltd. "Metal Built Products in Wartime"
Oshawa Community Archives

53

Introduction Robson Leather Company
20th Century, July 12, 2006



Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives

54

Robson Tannery
20th Century 1900
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
TEXT ATTACHMENT


Credits:
Oshawa Community Archives, Post card collection

55

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"I worked at Duplate for the first part of the war. We worked 10 hours a day and it was a 58 hour week. But we got two hours off on Saturday so we finished at 4:00pm" - Elmer Lewis

"My wife worked at Duplate during the war and cut out round pieces of glass for gas masks and prisms for tanks. I laminated the glass for gas masks." - Elmer Lewis

"Duplate made periscopes for submarines." - Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre

"My wife continued to work at Duplate, then the policy after the war was 'no jobs for married women'." - Elmer Lewis

"I worked in Duplate then went to Pedlar and then to GM(General Motors). Pedlar made casings for shells." -Elmer Lewis

"During the war I worked for DIL - Defense Industries Limited. DIL was a shell filling plant. In February 1940 the surveyors went in. They bought the farms by February 1941 and then we met with the contractors. We were in operation before the end of 1941. The plant went form 0-7000 employees in 6 months. The majority of the employees were women. Because they were working with explosives there were no cigarettes or matches allowed. Trainloads of girls came in to work from the East Coast. We had residences for both men and women set up. There were 17 residences for women with 100 in each residence." - Syd Hopkins
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