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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Women in Wartime

This week marks the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, so I’m updating a post that I wrote last year. The Scheffer family hid a Jewish couple for two years in their home in a small town in Holland, saving them from certain death. The Scheffers had six children of their own. If […]

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Today we call them cruise missiles, but back then they were called V-weapons. In German, the V stood for Revenge. Hitler promised that his revenge weapons would punish the Allies for their bombing of German cities. And these jet-propelled missiles almost won the war. Even before the war, the Nazis realized that the land, sea and air defences […]

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When I began to research my wartime novel about an aerial photo interpreter in the Second World War, the woman who made the most impact – not only on my book, but on the world we live in today – was the brilliant, beautiful Constance Babington Smith. (My wartime novel Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction, the story of […]

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Danesfield House is now a luxury hotel, but during the war it was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force, renamed RAF Medmenham, and served as the headquarters for aerial photographic interpretation. It has personal meaning for me, too. My wartime novel Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction, the story of a Canadian woman who works at RAF Medmenham as a photo […]

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My mother-in-law Gerda Drews was a teenager living in Berlin during World War Two. In this interview, she describes her family’s tragic experiences after the battle of Berlin, when her city fell to the Soviet Army in May 1945. Note from Elinor: My husband was born in Berlin after the war and emigrated to Canada as a young […]

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By Elinor Florence My family members, on both my mother’s and my father’s sides, served in the Canadian forces in both world wars. But I also have another connection with wartime: my husband’s family. He was born in Berlin after the war and emigrated to Canada as a young man. His father Kurt Drews flew with the […]

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The Russians were the only women in the world who engaged in aerial combat during World War Two. These daring young women, some of them just teenagers, flew lightweight aircraft that dodged and darted and dropped bombs on the enemy under cover of darkness. So feared were they that the Germans called them The Night Witches. Regular readers will […]

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Lou Marr called herself “the original turnip who fell off the back of the truck” when she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division and became a photographer. The job demanded hard work, but it also allowed her to fly right along with the men in training. For this farm girl, it was the thrill […]

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Rosie the Riveter, the bomb girl with the bulging biceps, is an iconic image. But Canada led the way with our own glamourpuss: Ronnie, the Bren Gun Girl. She was one in one million Canadian women who worked in factories during the war. When World War Two began, British women trooped into factories in full force. They were desperately […]

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Wartime knitting was more than a hobby – it was an act of patriotism. Literally millions of women, children and even men in Allied countries used their knitting needles as weapons of war. If you weren’t a knitter, you might as well have been a Nazi! Countless knitted items were created and sent to the […]

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