Veteran Stories:
Fern Wellwood (née Dawson)

Army

  • Fern Wellwood (née Dawson), Canadian Women`s Army Corps (CWAC), 1942. She completed her training and was posted to Nova Scotia in 1944.

    Fern Wellwood
  • Pictured here is an article from a local newspaper announcing that Fern Wellwood (née Dawson) had completed basic training for the Canadian Women`s Army Corps (CWAC) and was being sent to Toronto, Ontario for further training.

    Fern Wellwood
  • Fern Wellwood (née Dawson) on her wedding day, September 1944. She met her husband in Halifax, Nova Scotia in April 1944.

    Fern Wellwood
  • Fern Wellwood`s service medals from left to right: War Medal (1939-45) and Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM).

    Fern Wellwood
  • Fern Wellwood`s dog tags issued while she was part of the Canadian Women`s Army Corps (CWAC), 1944.

    Fern Wellwood
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"So she asked me if I’d like to go out on this blind date. So I said sure. So anyway, she was going with one guy and I was supposed to go with the other guy. Well, as it happened, we got mixed up and I got the wrong guy but... I married him five months later."

Transcript

You know we [Mrs. Wellwood and her friends, who had just enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC)] had to report down to the Cathedral Barracks [in Halifax, Nova Scotia] on July 1st in 1942 and of course, we just had our own clothes. We were wearing our own civilian clothes until I guess two or three weeks after that, before we got our uniforms. And we had, we took our basic training down in the armouries downtown, so we had to walk from Cathedral Barracks way down, we had to march down there every day to take our basic training, march down in the morning and march back in the afternoon. And then the basic training camp [No. 3 CWAC (Basic) Training Centre] in Kitchener [Ontario] was opened in October. We were sent there, there was about 20 of us girls sent there. And it was two camps, two companies of women and two companies of men that were going to be opened there. But there was only 20 of us that went there in October and then we got a real, a good bunch there in the next month or two to take basic training and I was asked to be an instructor, just in some of the basic, in the marching mostly. I got my two stripes [Sergeant’s rank] confirmed, so nobody could take them down except by a court martial or by my own request. So in 1944, I asked to be taken down, to have my stripes taken down, just take me, put me on a clerk’s course. So I wanted to go something else after basic training, you know, to do different than basic training. So they sent me to Toronto [Ontario], to another barracks in Toronto and we went from there to a school, oh, about 20 of us went to a school to take a clerk’s course and a stenographer’s course and that lasted for six months. And they give you a choice where you like to be sent to work. So I had both my choices were in Halifax because my friend that I knew very well from Brantford [Ontario] was there in Halifax and my brother was also in the navy out of Halifax. So I wanted to go down there. So I got my posting in Halifax. This friend of mine that was also in Halifax, we were in the same basic barracks in Halifax, and she had a boyfriend there and she was there before me, she had a boyfriend and he had a friend that wanted a date. So she asked me if I’d like to go out on this blind date. So I said sure. So anyway, she was going with one guy and I was supposed to go with the other guy. Well, as it happened, we got mixed up and I got the wrong guy but it was just …, because I married him five months later. He was in the military. They sent him out to go overseas and they were about 500 miles out and their ship was torpedoed and they sent [him] back to Halifax. And he didn’t get to go out again. I met his family. They lived just outside of Halifax. And his mom was so much like my mom. I just loved her right off the bat. And of course, the wedding was at her house and we were married in the little church in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia. And my brother happened to be in port, so he gave me away. My mom and dad couldn’t get there, so he gave me away. And we had a lovely wedding and just a small reception, just some of my friends and some of his friends from the army and the relatives there and had a small reception at her home. And it was really lovely, yeah. And then we had, we didn’t have a car in those days but down the road, this is in the wartime of course, down the road, there was a lady that had cabins, she had a store and then she had a cabins. So we got a cabin for the night. We had to walk down to the cabin to stay overnight, our first wedding night. And then we walked back home the next day back to her house or his house. And we only had a weekend off to get married. Yeah.
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