McLaughlin family Christmas cards from the 1940s tell of a challenging time in history, and a test of mettle as Oshawa and Canada rallied in home front support during WWII.

Bing Crosby recorded his Top Ten Hit I’ll be Home for Christmas to honour soldiers overseas. Closer to home, entertainer Gracie Fields joined forces with Sam McLaughlin to produce a promotional film for the Canadian Red Cross – the very poignant There Too Go I Click to watch There Too Go I

Miss Fields also joined Sam and Adelaide McLaughlin at their 1942 Chrysanthemum Tea, to help raise money for the Sailors’ Christmas Fund ( Ontario Navy League)

The McLaughlin’s philanthropic work on the war effort and homefront activities did not end with the Navy League and their annual tea.

They held a variety of campaigns for a variety of worthy causes, both large and small, including garden parties, penny drives, war bond campaigns, and knitting bees.

Mrs. McLaughlin would host the airmen training at the Oshawa airport to social evenings, involving frivolity and song. As their thank you to the McLaughlin’s a propeller was gifted by the airmen to their hosts and this gift continues to hang in the bowling alley today.

The McLaughlin’s generosity was not only expressed at Christmas, but throughout the year – a great example for us all

Recently, some of this story was shared with CBC as real-life background to the television series X-Company, in advance of its second season launch in mid-January 2016.

X Company storylines are fictional, but they are based on the real Camp X, Canada’s spy camp on the Oshawa/Whitby border. The series website has fascinating content about many of the historic underpinnings of the area’s war efforts .

Check out Dispatches (Heritage Minutes about Camp X)