Women Go to War
During the Second World War, women in Verdun contributed to the war effort in their own way.
The Verdun branch of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps was founded in July 1940 and, one month later, numbered 161 members. This group took part in the war effort by training women in first aid and mechanics, offering basic training to become a military auxiliary, and running fundraising campaigns. Founded and led by social activist and feminist R.B. Joan Adams, the Verdun branch was one of the largest in the Montréal area. Joan Adams left her position at the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps in 1943 to teach secretarial and clerical work to recruits in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.
Listen to the audio clip in English with the transcription of Joan Adams and the patriotic women in the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps
Listen to the audio clip in English with the transcription of Joan Adams and the work of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps
In 1941, the Armed Forces began recruiting women. The next year, the Canadian Women’s Army Corps opened a recruiting office in Verdun. Women were trained as cooks, seamstresses, medical assistants, truck drivers and mechanics, among other trades. At least 154 women of Verdun served in the Armed Forces during the war.
Verdun’s women were also involved with the Red Cross. Their main activities involved shipping food parcels to Allied prisoners of war, fundraising, preparing clothes and medical supplies and organizing blood drives.
Verdun associations organized many events in Verdun with proceeds going to the Red Cross. For example, a concert by The Montreal Ladies Symphony Orchestra at the Verdun Auditorium in October 1940 sold tickets for 55¢, 85¢ and $1.15. And the Crawford Park Association organized a dance on March 17, 1945, at Maison Nivard-De Saint-Dizier to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.