Veteran Stories:
Barbara Christabel Wilson

Army

  • Contemporary photo of Barbara Wilson, 2009.

    Barbara Wilson
  • Barbara Wilson's Discharge Certificate, 1946.

    Barbara Wilson
  • Class photo from October 10th 1943. Barbara Wilson is pictured in the 2nd row from the back, 4th from the left.

    Barbara Wilson
  • Photo of Barbara Wilson sitting on a jeep in 1942.

    Barbara Wilson
  • Professional Photo of Barbara in 1943.

    Barbara Wilson
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"Onboard ship, the women ate with the officers, we weren’t allowed below deck and all that stuff."

Transcript

When we first joined, there were no barracks for us and we didn’t have a uniform, so we lived at home and to notify who we were, we wore an arm-band on our civie [civilian] clothes. And we were measured for uniforms, so everybody got one that fitted. For basic training, I didn’t go for basic until October 1943, as you had to have basic on your pay book to go overseas. So in 1944 in March, I went overseas and we were stationed at Kitchener [Ontario] to go. And there were four of us that missed the draft, didn’t go on the draft and we could stay in Kitchener, waiting for the next draft. Two girls from B.C. decided to come home but the other girl and myself, we stuck it out and we drove a vehicle around Kitchener until the next draft. I was a driver.

When I did take my basic, they wanted to send me to Wainwright [Alberta] for a driver’s course and I said, no, I’m going back to an ordinance corps in Victoria, which I did. We went on the [SS] Ile de France from Halifax. Onboard ship, the women ate with the officers, we weren’t allowed below deck and all that stuff. We didn’t fraternize with all the people on the boat. Baths and showers were saltwater.

On VE-Day [Victory in Europe], the driver of the general’s car was not busy that day so quite a number of us were in the car, which was a little bigger than the ordinary vehicle and we were driving down The Mall [London, England] and places like that toward downtown. When we decided maybe that wasn’t such a good idea as people were making a nuisance of themselves climbing onto the car. So we turned around and went back. So we were driving [Chief of Staff at Canadian Military Headquarters, London] General [Percival John] Montague’s car, riding in it I should say. I don’t know if he ever found out.

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