Veteran Stories:
Kathleen Power Powell

Army

  • Kathleen Power in her uniform of the Canadian Women's Army Corps.

  • Kathleen Power (back row, 5th from left) and other trainees at the Canadian Women's Army Corps Training Centre in Kitchener, Ontario. 1943

  • Kathleen Power had to wear this Identitfication Badge for her work at the Longue Pointe Ordnance Depot, Montreal, Quebec. She wanted to keep it as a souvenir of her war experience so she told her supervisor that she lost it

  • The Insignia of the Canadian Women's Army Corps. This pin was worn on the uniform hat

  • Canada and Canadian Women's Army Corps badge and pins worn on Kathleen Power's uniform

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"I worked in that department for nearly a year, and then I worked in final inspection, where I inspected materials that made the bullets."

Transcript

I'm Kay Powell, and in 1942 I was living in New Brunswick, doing odd jobs and babysitting, when a representative from Canadian Industries Ltd. was recruiting girls to work in an ammunition plant in Brownsburg, Quebec. I signed on, passed the medical, and was sent to a tech school in Ottawa for six weeks training. When I first got to Brownsburg, I worked on a turret lathe – a machine that cuts and shapes metal for building bullets. I worked in that department for nearly a year, and then I worked in final inspection, where I inspected materials that made the bullets. After a year and a half in Brownsburg, I saw an Army Show, and I was very impressed by it. I decided to join the Canadian Women's Army Corps. I went to Kitchener for six weeks of basic training. It was very strict, but I enjoyed being there, the meals were very good, and I made lots of friends. After basic training I was sent to Long Point Ordnance Depot in Montreal. My first year there I worked in Clothing Group, packing uniforms to be sent overseas. The clothing was packed into furloughs, flattened by a press, and we sewed them by hand into bails. At first two or three a day. After a few months we were up to ninety a day. Our supervisor, Sergeant Cohen, was very persuasive. After about a year there I was transferred to Gun Group and worked as a stock taker, keeping record of everything from nails and screws to guns. In the spring we did stock taking outside on trucks, jeeps, tires and tanks. While we were stock taking, everything was frozen. It was not supposed to be moved, but it seems that people don't always follow the rules, and we could not account for one tank. It had been taken to have work done on it. We joked about how we had lost a tank. Years later, when my husband and I, and a fellow CWAC [Canadian Women's Army Corps] member Eleanor Dalby, went back to see the camp. There was a tank right at the front gate. We all laughed and said that that was the tank we had lost. I was discharged in November 1945 and married two weeks later to Morris Powell, who was a paratrooper in the First Special Service Force, and we had eight children.
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