Skip to main content
Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Women in Wartime

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. Note: Merle Taylor passed […]

Read More

Ruth Owen Whitelegg of Brantford, Ontario, trained as a photographer for the Royal Canadian Air Force and served at RCAF Centralia, Ontario, during World War Two. Her photo album gives us a fascinating glimpse into wartime history, crammed with snapshots of life on a Canadian air training base. Ruth was born on March 12, 1925 to parents […]

Read More

Because my focus is on women’s lives during World War Two, I’m always delighted to unearth little-known stories about their adventures. Here are four of the best.   MARGARET HERMESTON This petite photographer achieved monumental significance by becoming the first female photographer in the Canadian Army. Her name was Sgt. Karen Margaret Hermeston of the Canadian Women’s Army […]

Read More

Violet Milstead of Toronto was a ferry pilot, one of the elite few Canadian women who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary in Great Britain during the Second World War. She flew forty-seven different types of aircraft, including fighters and bombers, from factories to airfields. My guest post about Vi Milstead was prepared by the official historian […]

Read More

A wartime scrapbook kept by Alice Spackman of Okotoks, Alberta, stuffed with letters, photographs and clippings, is the foundation for a new book titled She Made Them Family. It’s a fascinating glimpse of life in a small prairie town during World War Two. I became acquainted with Anne Gafiuk of Calgary through our mutual love of […]

Read More

There’s a reason why it’s called The Greatest Generation – and Yvonne Valleau Wildman of Kindersley, Saskatchewan, aged 92, is a shining example. She had a hardscrabble childhood, served her country with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War Two, farmed for six decades, and raised seven children. I was first contacted by Yvonne’s […]

Read More

Eugenie Francoeur Turner served at a bomber base in Yorkshire, where she witnessed horrific crashes, dodged bombs, and worked around the clock on D-Day. It was the most exciting time of her life. Note: Eugenie Turner passed away on November 4, 2022 just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. Rest in Peace, Eugenie […]

Read More

My admiration is boundless when it comes to the Canadian nurses who bravely carried out their grim duties in wartime – so it was an honour to interview Jessie Middleton of Abbotsford, British Columbia. I was especially keen to meet Jessie because my column has not paid enough attention to nurses – our Canadian women in uniform who were the […]

Read More

Of all the work performed by women in uniform, packing parachutes — those complicated contraptions of silk and leather — meant the difference between life and death for a man plunging from the sky. Here’s a photo of some very smart-looking Canadian women carefully laying out a parachute on a long table, checking that every fold is in place. […]

Read More

Georgina Harvey was a young woman from a well-known family in Kelowna, British Columbia, when she joined the air force in 1943 and trained as a photographer. Her photo album reveals a fascinating slice of life in uniform. Georgina Harvey was born in Kelowna to the distinguished Harvey family, still a well-known name in that community. The stately brick house where […]

Read More