The Maple Leaf in London

The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit shooting a film about the production of the London edition of the Maple Leaf on June 7, 1945.
The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit shooting a film about the production of the London edition of the Maple Leaf on June 7, 1945.

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Continued from The Maple Leaf on the Western Front.

The third edition of The Maple Leaf was established in London in July 1945, with the aim of serving the Canadian soldiers who were constantly passing through the city after the end of the war in Europe.

From the beginning the London paper had a much easier time than either of the other Maple Leaf editions. It had copy supplied by such news agencies as Reuters, British United Press, Press Association, and the Canadian Press; it had its choice of world-class photography from a variety of agencies or from Canada’s Army, Navy, and Air Force sources; it employed staff writers in Canada, Europe, and at the training base in Aldershot, England.

Printing was handled by civilian operators from the London Evening Standard, working with state-of-the-art equipment, and circulation was likewise managed by the Standard with daily distribution. And though the English civilians working for The Maple Leaf were known to despair over the Canadians’ differing layout, copy, and spelling standards, the working relationship was a fond one.

The vast majority of staff who worked on The Maple Leaf were men; Private Dorothy Sage, of the London edition, was one of only three women who made regular contributions to the paper. Having come in as a clerk/typist, she soon also found herself darning socks, making coffee, cooking, cleaning—and providing alibis for certain staff members when women called looking for them. Nevertheless, she found the work thrilling and the atmosphere exciting, and wrote a column relating her experiences for one of the final issues of the London edition.

In February 1946, with much of the Canadian Army making its way home, the London Maple Leaf closed up shop. Only the European edition was left to continue serving those troops still abroad.

Continued in Features and coverage of the wartime Maple Leaf.

Information for this article has been collected from Barry D. Rowland & J. Douglas MacFarlane, The Maple Leaf Forever, Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc. (1987).

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