THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
"Be adventurous as you were at the day you enlisted. There is still so much to see."
POST OTTAWA REUNION:
Well, Reunion 14 is in the history books, and it was highly successful. The attendees were thrilled by all the messages of praise from guest speakers and well-wishers, for being trailblazers and enabling subsequent generations of airwomen to have the careers they did. We hope that the airwomen of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s realize their valuable contribution to our history.
It all started on Friday morning, June 7. We were setting up our registration room for 9 am Friday morning and the ladies started showing up on time ... that is "military on time". They were early, and not just a couple of people either. Everyone was excited to be there, looking for old friends they hadn't seen in many years.
On Friday night the meet and greet started at 5 pm. The ladies met in the gallery above the ballroom being set up for the buffet. Although it became very warm in the gallery, there were smiles and laughter everywhere.
At 6 pm, everyone was ushered in to the ballroom and found their seats. The festivities were started with our Master of Ceremonies, Leah Mosher, welcoming the members and then offering a prayer for our Reunion and attendees. The missing man table was set up - this was a very moving ceremony for fallen comrades.
Our first “guest speaker” was Lieutenant General Chris Whitecross, Commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, and the senior airwoman in the RCAF today. LGen Whitecross sent a video message in which she thanked all airwomen veterans for their commitment and contributions to the RCAF, and for paving the way for her and others of her generation to enjoy a wonderful career.
After the buffet service, we heard from guest speaker Dr. Andrew Burtch, a historian from the Canadian War Museum. He offered a detailed look at the mass recruiting of women in the 1950s in order to populate the Pine Tree Line. This was followed by "The Miserable Ride".
On Saturday morning, June 8, people went on various outings. Three of our attendees were interviewed by Dahlia Kurtz of CFRA 580 radio. Check out their interview under "Women in the News".
The main excursion was Paul's River Boat Tour. Everyone gathered in the lobby of the hotel then boarded a double decker bus, which took them to the boat. The staff on the boat were full of information to pass on.
Saturday night from 5 - 6 pm the ladies gathered in the lobby in front of the ballroom for drinks. At 6 pm we were piped in to dinner, after which we enjoyed the music of a trio from The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, during and after the meal.
Throughout the dinner, we read messages from Colonel Angela Banville, Commandant of the Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) and various members who couldn’t attend. Our Guest Speaker was Karen McCrimmon, Member of Parliament for Kanata-Carleton, ON. In 1981, Karen was the first woman to become an air navigator the RCAF. Then in 1988, she was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and appointed Commanding Officer of 429 Transport Squadron in Trenton, becoming the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron. Karen McCrimmon echoed the comments of LGen Whitecross and Col Banville, but also stressed the need for women in leadership roles.
MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
From the Executive
We have had a lot of amazing feedback from the people attending the reunion. We are glad that everyone enjoyed themselves. We did not announce the next location, as we want the membership to participate in this decision. First as always, this is a volunteer organization. Currently the four executive members that have worked for the RCAF Airwomen's Reunion for the past two years are willing to stay on. If someone would like to join the executive, or take over the planning of the next reunion please let us know soonest. That being said, we had a huge learning curve and learned many things that will affect the decision of the next Reunion.
To start, we would like to put out a survey at the end of summer addressing things like cost of the reunion, number of attendees and location of future reunions. The number of attendees has been slowly dwindling, even with the inclusion of women from the 1970s-to present, plus the WW2 veterans. Without them our attendance number would have been 134.
Also, the costs of food, beverages and AV equipment are increasing. Plus, there are the costs of entertainment. These all make the $250 fee not go as far as it used to.
So this is our quandary, and we will give you an opportunity to address these issues, add suggestions, etc. in the survey. If you would like to send feedback to a specific committee member please put their name in the subject line, as the Aurora Greenwood account is an account that we all access. Reply here.
Last but not least, we owe a big debt of thanks to all the people that donated their time to making the Reunion the success it was - the Ottawa Committee ladies Barb, Hilda, June, Betty, and Ruth, the non-committee members who volunteered, the photographers LCol (Retired) Greg Leis and Alyssa (Tracey’s Daughter), and our chaplain Maj (Retired) Father Tim Nelligan. Also helping out during registration: Betty Blinn, Vicki Shea and Guylaine Dumulon.
An order for Polo’s and Vest is going in mid July. I should receive the order by the end of July. Orders can be put in for women's or men’s sizes.
If you would like to order a polo or vest for this order please send in $35.00 for the polo and $45.00 for the vest with your size by the 15th of July.
If you require the clothing to be mailed to you please include $7.00 per item for postage. Please contact me directly for your order by clicking on this link.
Last night and this morning reflecting on my weekend I feel incredibly blessed to have met some amazing ladies. Mom asked me to help with an event she was planning, as the event was taking place in Ottawa this year. I figured why not! And booked some vacation days so I could be free the help when needed leading up to the event. More so recently in the last few years ... with everything that has been happening in the news in respect to women's rights ... I have started to follow/appreciate and voice my opinion ... because before maybe I took it for granted. More than ever we need to have our voices heard. This weekend and Friday during the event I met and in some cases got to know women who have served in the airforce. All of these women are trailblazers in their own way and in the impact they each had on the RCAF and further. Some were technicians, some WWII veterans, some were even the first women in their roles (aka pilot). These women inspired me this weekend, and I even made a friend. I also asked mom if I could stay involved for the next reunion, I had a blast.
RE: VETERAN ID CARDS:
They are not processing identification for us yet but we are monitoring the updates.
As promised, we are watching the progress of the military identification cards. The following link goes to a page that explains the card and the process. What it says in short is that any one retired before September of 2016, that’s most of us, will be able to apply this summer. We cannot apply just yet. Hopefully, the next time you see information about this topic, it will be to let you know where to apply. https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/benefits-military/transition/service-card.html
Since our last reunion in 2017, I have collected 87,508 postage stamps which have been mailed or hand-delivered to Oxfam. One retiree association and my condo also donate stamps. The total donated by our RCAF Airwomen is 31,738. Thanks to the ladies who brought the stamps to the reunion and those who were unable to attend the reunion and mailed me their stamps.
I would like to give special thanks to Frances Young who donated 3,038 usable stamps and to Nola Brown who drove to Niagara Falls from St. Catharines and picked them up. Nola bought a special pair of paper scissors and then proceeded to trim and count them all. Someone donated an AMA bag with 12,651 stamps which were trimmed and counted. Mona Cashman donated 1,625 stamps. These ladies and others (unknown) who trimmed their stamps sure made my job easier. There were a lot of good stamps which help Oxfam raise their money.
I brought 5,058 stamps back to Calgary to be trimmed and counted and will be mailing them to Oxfam in Ottawa. A reminder that Oxfam will not accept stamps which are torn off envelopes. They must be trimmed leaving ¼ inch around the stamp. Oxfam only takes actual postage stamps and not the prepaid postage return stamps on envelopes. I received quite a lot of these and I appreciate the effort taken by someone who clipped the corners and brought them to the reunion but unfortunately they were unacceptable.
Since we started collecting stamps in 2002, we have now donated 602,393 to Oxfam. Our 2019 total is the largest amount collected to date. Keep up the good work. I had quite a few ladies ask me where the money goes. Go to www.Oxfam.ca/stampoutpoverty as indicated in the newsletter. I now fully appreciate the work done by Glenora Cole in past years.
I would like to congratulate our executive team on the well-run reunion. Lots of hard work went into the preparations and it is appreciated by everyone. Well done!
WOMEN IN THE NEWS:
In Ottawa, we were contacted by a local radio station. They asked if they could interview three of our members. Our volunteers were - Viktoria Spearin 1943 - 1945, Phyllis Gravelle 1953 - 1977, and Bond, Hilda Bond 1957 - 1960. If you would like to listen to the half an hour interview click here and follow the instructions.
YOUR STORIES, COMMENTS, AND REQUESTS:
There was a flight Sergeant who called me Clarkie and after I was married I said to him my name isn't Clark anymore- he responded you will always be Clarkie to me!! Amelia Clark Pelletier
How I got my Nickname: Three of us roommates in lineup for lunch and a bunch of men assessing us as we went by. Of one girl they said about her height, I was next and they commented on me being short and thin and the one in the best shape, they couldn't think of a comment until they came up with "Chunky". We all laughed and teased her about it so she gave us names that stuck. I was known as Skinny Minnie which became just Minnie. Edith Fraser
While on my basic training course, 6112, in St. Jeans, PQ, the course was held back after graduation to perform as a drill team at various locations for Airforce Day. I know this performance was recorded and shown on local TV, June 24, 1961 from RCAF Stn. Rockcliffe, for the Airwomen's 20th anniversary, as one member's future husband watched it. I have tried several avenues/departments, etc. to find out anything about this or if a copy of the recording still exists, but to no avail. If anyone knows how to find out anything about this event or where to locate the recording would appreciate any input. Thanks and enjoy the reunion, which, unfortunately, I couldn't attend this year, but will be there in future ones. HR (Robbie) Haggerty.
I joined the RCAF in Victoria BC in 1951, trained at St Johns PQ, as Course 21, on to Clinton as an FCO trainee, course 66, then posted to the new Dew line station Lac St Denis PQ where we were the cream de la cream as the only women there! I met my NZ husband there and we married that October. W/C Jackson gave me away and also gave us a lovely wedding reception as the first marriage on the base - it was an enchanted place, one we will never forget .Our son John was born in Ste Agathe de Monts and then we began over 40 moves in our marriage, now of 67 years in four countries, and four children, now with two Great granddaughters!
I was called Red (hair), and remember much fun with the other airwomen, like on Grad night where a very plump good friend of mine lost her balance and fell backwards into an empty garbage can as she tried to recover another friend's false teeth therein! We could not get her out! Lots of fun and a beautiful location- yes, it WAS the best time of my life, my new husband played Trumpet in a dance band there, and we have been married 67 years this October! It was an enchanted time and place, and I am so glad I had these years! Thank you for all your good work keeping us informed, at 91, I still love the RCAF! Dorothy M Watson Wilson
Hi, The day of our high school graduation from Abbotsford's Philip Sheffield High and even before my legitimate we walked into the recruiting office downtown Abbotsford to join the navy, and were escorted out, (women must be 19, said the sour recruiter) so we crossed the street to the airforce recruiting but while Rose, my friend, signed in forms I had to wait till July my 18th, and did so impatiently. I signed up in Vancouver office. In first week of Sept 54 we literally jumped on the CN train at the stop station of Matsqui, B.C to head off across Canada for St Jean, PQ. There was a trainload of young men. In uniform and civvies.
Both of us stood out like sore thumbs among the uniforms returning from their official leaves. What a trip! Our first "away from home" adventure. The Porter made sure there were NO shenanigans until we arrived at our destination. CORPORAL??? met the train then we were bussed to St Jean. We were instantly ROYAL CANADIAN AIR WOMEN in course # 5436.
I cannot remember when our official life time RCAF numbers were assigned. After basic of 6 weeks we were allowed a day leave to the city. I was to be training as a radio operator and sent to Clinton, Ont where I did the ditditditdah course for a month until by govt decree there were to be no more WDs in the course so I was arbitrarily remustered as teletype op.
Now, as an addendum. I was in Clinton from Nov 54 to May 55 with a dorm roommate (I think) Darquise Brissett,
"ducky", tall, slim, dark haired, beautiful French girl. Then to Winnipeg message centre op till June 57. Roommate..Audrey??
I de-enlisted to take Nurses training in Victoria (I still remember my official airforce number).
Arlene Richards (was Evanoff)
I wonder if someone out there might remember a great time had in Cold Lake, AB when the American servicemen (USAF Squadron) were located there off and on during the summer/fall of 1962? Recently, I found a memorable note (dated 12 July, 1962) from Staff Sergeant Roy Wolfe that was placed behind a framed photo of myself for my beloved nephew to which I was having framed by Roy at the time. Roy and I were square-dance partners and enjoyed get-togethers with other USAF guys and the gals at Cold Lake. Bob Yarborough was a good friend of his as they came to Cold Lake with the same squadron. I've tried to locate Roy's whereabouts but cannot remember what unit he was with, which US airbase, nor what state he came from although the "South" seems to ring a bell! I'm not sure what US department I could contact to see if he is still with us without more personal information. I am thinking that Roy would be about 83 years of age at this time. Any help out there would be greatly appreciated. With thanks, Olga Schutz, Course #W6112, 1961-1964
Bunny Goossen writes:
Does anyone know where Wendy Wilson is these days? Wendy Wilson (maiden name) was an air hostess in Trenton around the years 1969 to 1974. She later left for the OPP. Please respond to Bunny at email@example.com
On the Friday night meet & greet I omitted to transfer $$ from my larger purse to a smaller evening one & couldn’t buy a glass of wine. Someone I knew kindly gave me the money that I wish to return. Unfortunately I can’t seem to recall which one of the 2 women in line who offered (I knew both of them very well and here I thought my memory was still very much intact). If this sounds familiar, please email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
GREETINGS SENT TO THE REUNION:
To all those gals I knew in St. Jean, Clinton, St. Margaret's, Mont Apica and then Ottawa as a police officer:
Wishing you a wonderful gathering. Would love to be there, but flying is out of the question for me these days. I have so many fond memories or all the sports we participated in and all those parties. lol
FCO law Marg Sharp aka Mugs. 😇
Dear Ladies and fellow Veterans; Wishing all of you a marvellous reunion of friendship and sister-hood as you embrace the days of laughter and fun which have been so carefully planned for all of you by an amazing events committee!! My name is Olga Schutz (nee Czajkowski) and I began my service in March, 1961 under Course W6112 at St. Jean, PQ, then to Camp Borden as Clerk Admin, and onto Cold Lake, AB, and finally completing my service in St. Hubert, PQ in March, 1964 as military secretary to Air Vice Marshall Hendricks at that time. I will always treasure my time in the RCAF as an extraordinary time for me! I trust that at the end you will have a new or renewed friendship, and memories, to take back home to reflect on in the coming months ahead. Safe journey to all of you and ENJOY!!!
I want to send greetings to all those attending the reunion. You are a very special group of precious ladies. Thank you for you continued friendship and your service to our country. Kathi (Winram) Brown
Greetings from beautiful PEI.
I joined Air Reserve Augmentation Flight in CFB Summerside as an Administrative Clerk, did my Junior Leaders Course then transferred into the Regular Force and wore the uniform proudly for 23 years. Later the trade was called Resource Management Support Clerk.
Currently I am and have been the President of RCAFA 201 (Confederation) Wing Charlottetown for many years, a position that I enjoy very much.
I hope you all enjoy the reunion and I hope, and many memories talked about. Enjoy meeting up with old acquaintances and here's to making new ones.
Wishing you all a successful and enjoyable reunion.
Debbie Reid, CD
UPCOMING LOCAL LUNCHEONS EVENTS FOR MEMBERS:
Ladies, luncheons are done for the summer, they will return in September.
THE NEXT FAAAR REUNION WILL BE HELD IN NORTH BAY ON SEPTEMBER 10, 11, 12 AND 13, 2020 FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/FAAAR2020
Excerpt from Facebook: Hey we have had to make a change in dates for the next Reunion, Hope that September 10, 11, 12 and 13 2020 works for everyone! Registration Forms will be ready soon, the cost should be no more than $200 per person and the rooms will be $129.99 plus applicable taxes. We do need some committee members if anyone is interested please pm us!
As the members of the committee update the nominal roll, we are discovering that some of our members have been with the angels for several years. They are included in our monthly newsletters as we find them.
|| Date of Death
||23 Jun 2019
||Grace L "Mikie"
||12 Jun 2019
||7 Jun 2019
||Patricia Gail "Pat"
||3 Jun 2019
||Margaret Bernice Victoria " Vicky"
||2 Jun 2019
||24 May 2019
||Florence E "Faye"
||16 Jun 2019
||Mary Irene "Terri"
||9 Apr 2019
If you have a notification of a member who has died, please let us know here so that we can add their name to our Last Post. Thank you.
A “Very Happy Birthday” to our July Birthday ladies. Click here for the listing.
Tracey Everett- Chair
Leah Mosher- Vice-Chair
Claire Williams- Treasurer
Jackie Sparrow- Webmaster and Data Base Coordinator