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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Women in Wartime

Dear Friends: After five years and more than 100 wartime stories, this will be my FINAL Wartime Wednesdays blog post. But since I’m so eager to stay in touch with all you lovely people, I have an entirely new blog titled Letters From Windermere. My monthly letter will be just that — a chatty update across the digital […]

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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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Jean Brims Hubbard, now aged 92, joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps on her day she turned eighteen. Wearing her red and white polka-dotted dress, she is likely the only recruit ever welcomed into the armed forces with a birthday cake! In all my years of interviewing veterans, both male and female, I have never […]

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The artists who created these beautiful Toronto Star Weekly 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 Story The old Star Weekly covers are works […]

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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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After a bullet from a Japanese machine gun tore through her body, Australian nurse Vivian Bullwinkel floated face down in the sea and feigned death. She was the sole survivor of the 1942 Bangka Island Massacre, in which 22 nurses were forced to wade into the ocean at gunpoint and then shot in the back. It’s […]

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Plucky Iris Porter of the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force slept in a tent for two long years, swam in the Mediterranean Sea, rode camels, and visited the pyramids – all while serving her country in the burning Egyptian desert during World War Two.   Chatting With Iris It was an absolute pleasure to chat with Iris Porter […]

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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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Sixty-eight years ago this month, a German submarine torpedoed the SS Caribou, a ferry travelling from Canada to Newfoundland. Within five minutes, the ferry sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. Margaret Brooke valiantly tried to save her friend Agnes Wilkie, who became the only Canadian nursing sister to die from enemy action in World War Two. […]

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When this Manitoba farm girl joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, she proved to be such a whiz at Morse Code that she was assigned to instruct the air crews. Now almost ninety-three, Merle Taylor still practices her dots and dashes every day, claiming that Morse Code keeps her mind sharp. Merle Taylor of Lochaber, […]

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