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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The Canadian Women’s Army Corps In Vermilion

During the Second World War, thousands of women enlisted to serve during the Second World War. They joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and provided an invaluable service to Canada’s war effort.

On Aug. 29, 1942, the first graduating class from the Canadian Women’s Army Corps basic training camp in Vermilion was honoured by Lt. Governor J.C. Bowen.

Addressing the group of 325 graduating students, he said, “This civilization of ours is worth fighting for and your presence here is proof that you realize it.”

The Lt. Governor commended the students for their many high-ranking civilian and military officials from the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, and the Military District No. 13, were on hand for the graduation.

The recruits took part in a four-week training course and women from the four western provinces were represented within the graduating class.

Captain Rence Haweis, the commandant of the Vermilion training centre, supervised the parade of students. The students also conducted several demonstrations of their training. This included an anti-gas precaution demonstration that was given, as well as map reading and first aid work.

A number of cups and medals were presented by Brigadier Harvey. These items were donated by the citizens of Vermilion. The award for neatest, smartest girl on parade was given to Private Helen Machnee.

To honour the recruits, they were treated to a special dinner at the Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton on Aug. 30.

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