Role of women in Second World War cannot be forgotten, says veteran
From the moment she donned the uniform, Agnes Elizabeth Ward says she was proud to to wear it.
“I just loved it. I loved the service,” said Ward, who was a Leading Airwoman with the RCAF’s Women’s Division.
She signed up in 1941 — by 1943 she was in London. Her job was to record trainee flights.
It was a different time; women were not allowed in combat, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t in danger.
“We had air raids practically every night. The Doodlebugs would come over,” said Ward, referring to German V-1 Flying Bombs.
She said they grew numb to the sound of the air raid sirens, until the day Ward and a friend let a crowded bus go past — then watched as it was bombed.
“A direct hit. The V hit, just exploded, and there was nothing, there was nothing left,” she said.
Ward never questioned her role though, she was there in support, to free up more men to go into battle.
The women were recruited under the motto: “She Serves that Men May Fly.”
Ward said the risk men were taking hit home the first time she met a group of injured soldiers.
“I saw pilots that had been, some badly burned, shot at, I think,” she said. “Some of those men were, half their face was gone and that stayed with me for the longest time.”
More than 17,000 women served with the RCAF Women’s Division during the Second World War.
Seventy years after it was discontinued, Ward attends Remembrance Day ceremonies religiously.
“I find November the 11th very, very sad, but also very honoured that I had been a part of it,” she said.
“But I remember all those graves in Britain, in Holland, in Germany, in France, all those who didn’t come back.”
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