© Stephen H Garrity (2014)
THE HOME FRONT
Reeny's sister, Betty, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force - Women’s Division (RCAF-WD) which 17,000 members served. They were initially trained for clerical, administrative and support roles but progressed to parachute riggers and laboratory assistants, and electrical and mechanical trades. Many were sent to Great Britain.
NOTE FROM STEPHEN: The Québec conferences were two in a series of high-level strategic meetings held by Allied leaders during World War II. The first took place from 10 to 24 August 1943, and the second from 11 to 16 September 1944. At one of those visit, I'm not certain which, my mother (Reeny) told me that she went to see Churchill as he paraded through the streets. When he passed her, she called his name at the top of her lungs. Churchill turned and faced her, looking at her right in the eye, and lifted his hat to her. She said that was one of her life's great thrills.
Incomprehensible in any generation other than those who lived through the two world wars, this was a total war. The entire economy’s resources was committed to the war effort. It wasn’t just fought by the military, but everyone at home had a part.
My dad had joined the Veteran Guard and was posted in Ottawa. In Quebec City, Reeny and her parents billeted both air and sea trainees. Her uncle Bill was lost at sea. Classmates were being reported as missing, wounded or dead. The war touched everyone. Everyone.
Dad reads the papers, while behind him, was the radio. Before the advent of television or the Internet, the only other means of keeping one's self informed were the news reels at the movie houses, but that was very controlled information that was being released.
Dad, in his Veteran Guard uniform, and Mom, taken in 1942
Randal, Esther and Betty
Uncle Bill and Reeny's kid sister, Pat. Uncle Bill served in the merchant marine and was later lost at sea.
Betty and Reeny
Everyone was doing their part in the war effort. Here, Reeny is with two Air Trainees who were boarding at her parents'. She would often go and give blood and lied so she could give more before the allowed interval.
A lovely shot like this gave me even greater motivation to make it back home.
Reeny's parents, Ted and Esther