World War II
The injuries which Nicholas Morant received from his grizzly bear encounter in 1939 meant that he was no longer fit for active duty in the War. Instead, Morant was loaned by Canadian Pacific to the Department of Information in Ottawa as a wartime photographer for the Canadian government. Morant filled this role for four years between 1940 and 1944, during which time he photographed a diverse range of individuals and scenes related to the war effort in Canada.
Many of Morant's images at this time were of munitions workers and factories where war materials (tanks, shells, warship components, etc.) were being produced. These images were often included in Canadian newspapers, magazines and posters during this period to encourage Canadians to fill jobs in factories or to otherwise help with the war effort.
Click images to zoom:
"Typical Newfie village" photograph by Nicholas Morant (front and back), 1943. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/II/C/5/PA-635).
Click images to zoom:
"Baptism of Fire", ca. 1940 - ca. 1944. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/120/PA-1).
Nicholas Morant (third left) dodging a tank after taking a photograph (ca. 1940 - ca. 1944). Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/II/C/5/PA-615).
Wartime factory workers (ca. 1940 - ca. 1944). Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/1/PA-24).
Coastal view of war plane (ca. 1940 - ca. 1944). Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/83/PA-8).
Some of Nick's wartime images also depicted "action shots" of soldiers which were taken in a military training camp. This location provided the Canadian government with controlled promotional and educational images of the war without the risk which could arise when taking photographs on the real war front in Europe.
Morant spent some of his time living in Ottawa and Montreal during this period, although he also travelled along the eastern coast of Canada for many of his wartime photographs. After reaching the end of his contract in 1944, Nick returned to his role as Canadian Pacific's Special Photographer, which he would fill for the following 37 years.
Read more about Nicholas Morant in the digital exhibit, Nicholas Morant: Canadian Pacific's Special Photographer.