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Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division

On July 2, 1941, the government of Canada granted permission for women to be enlisted into the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In February 1942, in response to the decision, the RCAF created the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division (RCAF WD). Initially, RCAF WD members served as cooks, clerks, assistants, drivers, telephone operators, and textile workers. However, as war demands increased, the duties of the RCAF WD expanded to include policing and technical trades. Members of the RCAFWD served in virtually all stations, schools and units of the RCAF throughout Saskatchewan. The motto of the Women’s Division was “They Serve That Men May Fly.” In 1945, the RCAF WD was demobilized; from 1951 onward, women were recruited directly into the RCAF.

Peter Borch

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Further Reading

Dombrowski, N.A. (ed.). 1999. Women and War in the Twentieth Century: Enlisted With or Without Consent. New York: Garland; Higonnet, M.R. (ed.). 1987. Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars. New Haven: Yale University Press; Klein, Y.M. (ed.). 1997. Beyond the Home Front: Women’s Autobiographical Writing of the Two World Wars. London: Macmillan.
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