The Second World War – 1939 to 1945
The brief peace after the First World War was quickly erased by the rise of Nazi Germany. Conflict in Europe pulled most of the globe back into another world war fought between 1939 and 1945. Approximately 10% of Canada’s small population of 11 million served in the military.
Canadian soldiers were trained in Lambton at Camp Ipperwash on Lake Huron. Land appropriated from the Stoney Point First Nation was used by the Department of Defence to establish a military training centre in 1942. Basic training of troops from across Southwestern Ontario occurred in the complex designed to house 2,000 personnel. Although the appropriation agreement was to return the land to the First Nations after it was no longer needed for military purposes, the camp would not close until 1995.
In addition to raising funds and supplies for the war through organzations such as the Inwood Red Cross, Lambton’s women also entered the work force to fill jobs vacated by men on duty overseas. Sarnia’s Chemical Valley came to prominence when the Polymer Corporation built a factory on the banks of the St. Clair in 1942 to produce synthetic rubber for the war effort. The 5000 tonnes of rubber produced every month supplied tires and airplane parts for the Allies.
The Second World War strengthened Canada’s economy and the necessities of war production pulled Canada out of the great depression. The role of Polymer in supplying rubber for the war effort was honoured on the Canadian $10 bill of 1971. Lambton’s military contributions, along with those of Canadians across the country, helped to establish Canada’s status as a middle power on the world stage.