Canadian Women’s Army Corps

The 42nd Company, Canadian Women’s Army Corps, Canadian Army Overseas, 1940s.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B12169

The Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) was created on August 13, 1941, as a women’s auxiliary to the Canadian army in order to free trained male soldiers for active military duty. On August 26, 1941, a CWAC unit was organized in Saskatchewan; this Military District 12 unit, of platoon strength, was designated as “O” Company, CWAC, and headquartered in Regina. On March 1, 1942, the CWAC became a corps of the Active Militia and was placed on active duty. Throughout World War II, the CWAC were employed in more than fifty trades and served throughout Canada and overseas. By the end of the war, there were 636 officers and 13,326 women of other ranks in the Canadian Women’s Service. The CWAC was demobilized at the end of World War II, but was re-activated in 1951 as a corps of the Canadian Army Reserve Force. The CWAC was again disbanded when in later years women were recruited directly into the Canadian Armed Forces and the need for a separate corps disappeared.

Peter Borch


Further Reading

Bruce, J. 1985. Back the Attack! Canadian Women During the Second World War—At Home and Abroad. Toronto; Macmillan; Conrod, W.H. 1984. Athene, Goddess of War: The Canadian Women’s Army Corps—Their Story. Dartmouth: Writing and Editorial Services; Pearson, R.R. 1986. “They’re Still Women After All”: The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.