22 March 2020

Canadian WW2 Servicewomen Deaths

Almost 50,000 Canadian women enlisted during the Second World War; 20,497 in the Canadian Women's Army Corps; 16,221 in the Women’s Division of the RCAF; and 6,665 in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service. An additional 4,439 served in the Nursing Services of the three Forces.  That's according to Canadian Women in the Second World War by Ruth R Pierson.

The servicewomen were age 16 to 45. Now, 75 years later, their ages would be 91 to 120.

Deaths of some of them were reported in Legion Magazine starting in 1928. An online database draws on the magazine listings back to the early 1980s. For each, it includes, where available, last and first names, rank, war, unit, location, death date and publication date.

As of March 2020, the database records deaths of a total of 3,537 former servicewomen. It includes 10% of those who served with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, 5% of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service and 3.7% of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women’s Division). While the majority served with these three units the database also includes Canadians who served with British forces
The largest number of deaths is recorded in 2008. There is also a hint of a bimodal distribution with another peak of deaths in the years around 1990. Could this reflect women whose children no longer needed care whereas the later deaths were younger, likely unmarried women with no responsibilities for child care? Pierson's book notes that military recruitment emphasized unmarried women and married women without children.

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