Veteran Stories:
Catherine Norma Schaff

Army

  • Catherine Schaff upon qualifying for the CWAC, 1945.

    Catherine Schaff
  • Catherine Schaff at Legion Royal Canadian Branch 44, February 24, 2010.

    Catherine Schaff
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"When you were filling these little shells, sometimes you were behind glass, sometimes they’d blow up when you were punching the powder into them."

Transcript

Well, there was a war on and you just went. To begin with, I worked in war plants in Ontario. I lied [about] my age to work in the war plants. I was 17 and I worked in the Ajax shell-filling plant first and then got to know a family really well and they were moving into Scarborough, so I went along with my friend and then we worked in a shell-filling plant there. And actually, the shells we were making were the same ones my husband was using in the war. And as soon as I was 18, I joined the army [Canadian Women’s Army Corps] in Toronto. When you were filling these little shells, sometimes you were behind glass, sometimes they’d blow up when you were punching the powder into them. Another girl had a bomb drop on her foot and it was very painful. I don’t know, it was just a great life. And for the younger people, it was quite different but there were a lot of older people working there too. It was just fun to be away from home and do your own thing. And we hitchhiked all over. When I was stationed in Halifax, being a driver, we would meet the boats coming back from Europe with all the soldiers and when it came to Vancouver, it was similar. But they’d be so happy coming in on those boats and all standing around the ship and yelling. And they were throwing money at you; just of course most of it all went in the water. It was all European money. I cannot see young people today, at the age of 17, being mature enough to do what I did.
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