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Canadiana, Ephemera, WW1

I’m Jake!

For my first post I’ve chosen this tiny piece of ephemera from the First World War.  It’s a small stamp used to encourage Canadians to aid the war effort by purchasing Victory Bonds and I’ve used a slightly modified version of it as my avatar on several websites.  It was originally featured on a poster and is similar in design to the famous Lord Kitchener and Uncle Sam posters of the era.

I use the name Jakealoo or Jake_a_loo on many sites and on Twitter.  In the First World War Jake was slang for alright or ok, as in “I’m Jake” or “it’s all Jake”.  Jakealoo or Jakerloo is a variant but its origins are unclear.  One theory is it might have come about as it rhymed with “Bakerloo”, a line on the London Underground.  I once read that Belgian and French children shouted Jake and Jakealoo to Commonwealth soldiers as they marched past.  I’m not sure if the story is true but it’s a nice one and it stuck in my memory.  No one’s sure who introduced the term “Jake” but it is usually attributed to Australian or Canadian soldiers.  Although I have letters written by Canadian soldiers who use the term “Jake”, I can’t say I’ve seen the word used in Canada before the war.


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December 2011

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