My Top Ten Favourite Star Weekly Covers

A striking, colourful Star Weekly cover image has appeared here almost every week since Wartime Wednesdays began. To kick off the New Year, here are my top ten favourites so far.

1. The Hitler Dartboard

The very first Star Weekly cover I posted back on November 27, 2013 is still my favourite. I love the woman in uniform, the Hitler dartboard, and the young men applauding her bullseye on Hitler's nose.

To provide a little background: the images you see here don’t appear anywhere else on the internet – or they didn’t until I started posting them. They have now been shared numerous times, especially among collectors of vintage magazines and wartime art.

The only weeks I skipped were when the post was too long, or if the subject matter didn’t lend itself to a light-hearted magazine cover. Otherwise, I’ve tried to choose covers that match the theme of the blog post.

I first became interested in the Star Weekly when I was a child, and used to pore over the scrapbook compiled by my mother (now aged 90) when she was a teenager in Battleford, Saskatchewan. To read the history behind the scrapbook, click: Star Weekly at War. You can also review the entire collection of covers posted so far by scrolling right to the bottom of that original post.

Then I discovered that many of the Star Weekly covers and inside pages had been compiled into a book by RCAF veteran Ian Macdonald. He owns a large collection of Star Weeklies, and he had them printed into a glossy, hard-cover book which he is selling privately for $80 a copy. The title is, of course, Star Weekly at War. You can order it by clicking here: Thistlexpress.

I purchased a copy of the book, and in turn I have been scanning the covers and posting them here. Since they are more than fifty years old, the copyright has expired. (Just to make sure, I doublechecked with the original owner, the Toronto Star. Sadly, the newspaper itself did not keep copies of its own wartime weekly publication).

A friend then lent me a few intact copies of this magazine, and it was a pleasure to read the contents. I subsequently wrote a second post about the contents, and you can read it here: Inside the Star Weekly at War.

Although all the covers are beautiful, some of them are more striking than others. Here are my other nine favourites. I’ll continue to post more covers throughout 2015.

2. R.A.F. Bombs Naples

Many of the covers are works of art rather than simple illustrations. One of the Star Weekly’s top artists was Montague Black. I think this cover demonstrates his artistic skill. (It’s highly doubtful that there would be a volcano erupting during an air raid – but then, he was an artist, not a journalist!)

3. Airwoman Throws Snowball

It’s no secret that I love women in uniform, and especially those who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. This was the only cover I could find that illustrated a woman wearing the snappy blue air force uniform. I think it is particularly fitting for a Canadian woman that she should be throwing a snowball.

4. Defending the West Coast

Canadians didn’t all serve overseas, and since I now live in British Columbia I’m particularly aware of the men and women who defended our West Coast. Besides, what could be more representative of our roots than a totem pole?

5. Fireworks Over Berlin

One of Canada’s most significant contributions to World War Two was by the men who served in Bomber Command. This striking illustration, again by the talented Montague Black, shows a bomber attacking Berlin.

6. Kids Pelt Hitler Snowman

Children everwhere could not be shielded from the reality of war, but they turned the threat into a game. This snowman (again, how Canadian) with Hitler's comical face and a swastika on his sleeve makes me smile.

7. Rosies Heading for the Factory

One million Canadian women worked in factories during World War Two. The term Rosie the Riveter was used to refer to all working women, hence the name on the lunchbox. And I like the fact that they aren’t both pretty young girls, but more representative of all working women.

8. Happy News From Home

This image of a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot speaks to the importance of the mail, and the sadness of families being apart during the most important moments of their lives. 

9. Salute to the Navy's Heroes

The Star Weekly honoured our navy and our army as well as our air force. This is a touching image of a little boy trying on his father’s hat and saluting, with a battleship in the background.

10. London Violet Seller

This is a new image, one that hasn’t been posted before. It shows two Canadians in uniform, posted far away from home in London, England. The flower lady hasn’t let the war get her down. She’s sitting in the midst of a bombed-out building, selling bunches of violets – carrying the eternal hope and promise of spring.

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During my research into Canada’s wartime past, I uncovered some fascinating facts and anecdotes. I’ll share them here and welcome feedback and stories of your own.

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