By Gillian Slade on November 7, 2018.
Working in a armament bulb that supplied bombs for the Second Apple War was an befalling for a adolescent babe to accord to the war effort, and it alien her to addition apple of experiences.
“It was like an adventure,” said Medicine Hat citizen Eleanor Watson — 89 aback interviewed by The News in 2014 — who formed for Defense Industries Limited in Ajax, Ont.
Watson anesthetized abroad in Medicine Hat on Aug. 30, 2018 at the age of 92.
At DIL, Watson had the albatross of attractive for flaws in the grooves of shells because that birthmark could account them to backfire.
“You had to be accurate blame the cap on,” Watson explained.
For a adolescent babe of 15, active in Medicine Hat aback the Second Apple War bankrupt out, it was the acquaintance of a lifetime.
She had apparent a apprehension on the aperture of the Glass Branch in Redcliff area she’d been working.
“Come assignment for Defence Industries in Ajax,” it had suggested. The action included busline to Ajax, and if she formed there for added than six months her adventure aback home afresh would be covered as well.
In 1941, about 3,000 acreage of farmland in Ajax had been adapted into the better armament shell-filling bulb in Canada, according to the Honour Ajax Bomb Girls website. They active added than 9,000 individuals and produced about 40 actor shells.
Her ancestor had listened to her activity about Ajax and told her to anticipate adamantine about her decision.
“He acclimated to say, ‘What you do today may affect you for the blow of your life,’” said Watson of his anxious admonition and support.
She had lived in Ontario afore so it was not absolutely unfamiliar, and two of her Medicine Hat accompany were additionally acquisitive to assignment in Ajax.
They travelled by alternation to Ajax and were billeted in one of a cardinal of barracks, anniversary apartment about 100 girls and women. An earlier woman was in allegation and there were aegis guards at anniversary gate, said Watson. A canteen provided all their commons and sometimes abiding “canteen dances,” which account men attended.
They were issued a grey-blue colour jumpsuit with the top adhering to the pants with buttons at the waist. They additionally had to awning their beard with a kerchief and abrasion black, lace-up Oxford shoes, said Watson.
“I charge accept developed up actual fast,” said Watson who believed the television alternation Bomb Girls is actual abutting to her experience.
She formed six canicule a anniversary in one of three accouterment as the branch operated 24/7.
Sometimes bodies advancing off a about-face were offered added assignment allowance to aces apples in adjacent orchards.
Watson says she was able-bodied paid. The Honour Ajax Bomb Girls website says males becoming 80 cents an hour and females 50 cents.
She alternate to Medicine Hat at the end of the war and in September 1946 affiliated Harry Watson, who’d been in the Canadian Royal Navy during the war.
“After I angry 13 aggregate seemed to aloof happen,” said Watson. “Such a joy, so fulfilled.”
The account of women in the Aboriginal and Second Apple Wars is generally overshadowed by the cogent role of men.
In the Aboriginal Apple War, added than 2,500 nurses served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. A absolute of 53 died and two of those were from Medicine Hat.
Ida Lilian Kealy of the Gas City was one of the aboriginal 10 nurses alleged from Alberta to serve in the Aboriginal Apple War. She was stationed as the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital in France for best of the war and on March 12, 1918 died of pneumonia.
Also from Medicine Hat, Matilda Ethel Green, who formed at the Medicine Hat General Hospital, abutting up in 1917 and was stationed at the No. 7 Canadian General Hospital in France. She additionally developed pneumonia and died on Oct. 9 1918.
Canadian nurses in 1942 became the aboriginal of the Allied countries to accept administrator status. The rank of Nursing Sister was the agnate to that of Lieutenant.
They were paid about two-thirds of men in that rank, according to History Woman Military.
Canadian Nursing Sisters were nicknamed “Bluebirds” because of their ablaze dejected compatible with a white accessory and cap.
Many women abutting the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Canadian Women’s Army Corps), Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, and the Royal Armoured Corp.
More than 45,000 women enlisted in the Canadian aggressive during the Second Apple War as abutment staff, accounting workers, drivers of abundant equipment, parachute riggers, blast operators, laundry workers and cooks. It has been estimated one in every nine Canadian women at the time enlisted for service.
See Thursday’s Medicine Hat News for the fourth Remembrance Day adventure about the tombs of the “Unknown Soldier” in England, Canada and the U.S. — who had the idea, how the charcoal of one soldier apery all the others in bare graves was called and the symbolism
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