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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Home Front

Life on the Home Front in wartime wasn't just hard, it was crushing. While gathering on Remembrance Day to honour the men who fought for freedom, we tend to overlook the painful sacrifices made by the women and children left behind.

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Willa Walker rose rapidly through the ranks in 1941 to become head of the newly-formed Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. Only 28 years old, grieving the recent death of her baby son, her husband locked away in a German prison camp, Willa rose to the challenge with courage and dignity, breaking down barriers for future generations of women […]

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The Star Weekly artists who created these beautiful Toronto Star covers have been mostly forgotten, so it was a delightful surprise to hear from a woman whose great-aunt, Elizabeth Cutler, was a regular contributor to the magazine. Sheree Meyer of Orlando, Florida shared with me her memories of her talented Great-Aunt Betty.   The Inside […]

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When I discovered this photograph online, I was struck with the lovely elegance of RCAF Women’s Division member Dorothy Chapman Garen in her blue uniform. I was even more thrilled to find that Dorothy, now aged 95, is living not far from me in Canmore, Alberta, where I was able to thank her in person for […]

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Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! After seeing this program in Ontario, I pitched the idea of honouring our local veterans by putting their photographs on individual banners. It meant months of hard work by my partner Sandi Jones and me, but the banners are now hanging downtown in our dear little town of Invermere, British Columbia. Read […]

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Four long years ago, reader Emily Tucker of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, asked me to find the owner of this RCAF bracelet. After an exhaustive search, I located the owner’s brother in Cambridge, Ontario! The mystery surfaced way back in 2013 after Emily Tucker of North Battleford, Saskatchewan sent me photographs of a bracelet bearing the […]

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A case of mistaken identity thwarted Jim Milne’s plans to fly against the enemy, so he spent the war in Canada as a navigation instructor instead. When not on duty, he sketched some very amusing cartoons in his flying logbook! Now 97, Jim Milne lives with his wife Betty in the pretty mountain resort of […]

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Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King, also known as Weird Willie, gazed into his crystal ball, communed with his dead dogs, and saw images in his shaving cream. Yet many historians believe that he was our greatest prime minister ever. Mackenzie King proved that you don’t need personal charisma to be an effective leader. In fact, you don’t […]

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A treasure trove of photographs showing members of the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division performing their wartime duties has fallen into my hands. Although women weren’t allowed to fly or to engage in combat during the war, they filled many other valuable roles and these photographs show them hard at work. People often ask […]

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The Christmas season was especially lonely for the homesick men and women serving overseas in wartime, as well as their families on the home front. Here are just a few examples of the many thousands of Christmas cards and letters that winged their way between loved ones in both world wars. When I went searching for images […]

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