Veteran Stories:
Ella Thomson

Navy

  • Ella Thomson (5th from left) and friends Al, Nancy, Bob, Carl, Ken and Barbra, at Topsail Road, St. John's Newfoundland. October 1944.

    Ella Thomson
  • A scene from the play "Up Spirits," put on by the WRCNS in Newfoundland in December, 1944.

    Ella Thomson
  • Ella Thomson at work at the Naval Stores office (left). A view of all of the supplies held at the Naval Stores (right).

    Ella Thomson
  • Ella Thomson and a fellow WREN (right) celebrate and a Naval ship blows its whistle (left) to mark Victory in Europe Day in St. John's, Newfoundland.

    Ella Thomson
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"We were given armbands with ‘WRCNS’ on it, and we were met at the Galt station by officers."

Transcript

My name is Ella Thomson. That is my married name – my maiden name was Montpool. I come from Toronto, and my brother had joined up so I decided, with another friend, that we would join up. She and I went down to where we were signing up in Toronto, and were told that we would be called up later on. I went for my medical around the 6th of June 1944, and was called up to see if I would like to go to Ottawa before basic training, and as I wanted to more or less stay with my friend Audrey, I said no and that I'd wait for her. We finally got our call in July, and were told to report to go for basic training. I think it was about the 13th of July when I left Toronto to go to Galt. We were given armbands with 'WRCNS' on it, and we were met at the Galt station by officers. Taken to barracks and given our new kits – what we would be wearing – and we had to sew our names on all our personal things. Then we took our basic training, which was drill and whatnot. After basic training, Audrey was sent to the west coast, and she left before I did, and during that time, I was sent over to HMCS Preston, and was taken by bus back to HMCS Conestoga in Galt and worked in Captain's office until my draft came through in September. Then we went by train from Galt down to Halifax, where I spent four more days in Halifax getting shots and whatnot. We set sail for St. John's, Newfoundland, around the 13th of September, and it took us about a week to get there because we had to go over by convoy. We were treated like ladies going over. After we got to St. John's, we were shown our bunks and told where we would be working. I was drafted down to base naval stores, which was like a hardware store plus nautical ropes and things that the ships would need. My duty watches working were every other day. One day we would work from nine to five, and the next day we would work from nine to midnight. We had thirty-six to forty-eight hour passes, and during the week you could ask for a late pass to come back, because we had a certain time to be in. In order to leave the barracks, we had to go on what they called a 'Liberty Boat', which was just making sure we were neat and tidy as we came out. We had to leave our passes at the guard house. Ella was honourably discharged 13 May 1946 at HMCS York in Toronto, ON.
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