More than post­cards

Mar­garet John­son’s ser­vice to her coun­try dur­ing WWII

The Goderich Signal-Star - - NEWS - KATH­LEEN SMITH Goderich Sig­nal Star

Mar­garet John­son saw a brother go off to war and wanted to also serve her coun­try in a time of need.

Watch­ing her brother join the Air Force and leave home to fight in WWII, Mar­garet wanted to get in­volved to sup­port the cause and she chose the Navy.

Mar­garet ex­plains, “I was 18 years old in Ed­mon­ton and I had to getmy mother’s ap­proval. I didn’t know any­body in the Navy, but I was sure and I never re­gret­ted it.”

Once she had signed up for ser­vice, Mar­garet trav­elled across coun­try to Galt for ini­tial train­ing. It was in Galt where Mar­garet and other women com­pleted ini­tial train­ing, learn­ing how to march and salute.

As soon as ini­tial train­ing was com­pleted, Mar­garet was sta­tioned in Corn­wal­lis, Nova Sco­tia at a train­ing base for men head­ing over­seas to the front lines.

“My po­si­tion was in the Cap­tain’s Of­fice with two other girls, and we had to de­liv­er­mail and cor­re­spon­dence from his of­fice, right around the whole base to all the other of­fices,” addsMar­garet.

The work these women com­pleted at the mil­i­tary train­ing base was an in­te­gral and im­por­tant as­pect to the in­ner work­ings of the Cana­dian Navy.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, when peo- ple think of the ser­vice done dur­ing WWII, the dif­fi­cult work done by many women is of­ten over­looked.

These women served their coun­try in jobs such as the one Mar­garet car­ried out or picked up the fac­tory jobs that were left ne­glected due to an in­flux of men go­ing away to war

What is ser­vice to a coun­try? Is it only val­i­dated if some­one has seen the front lines or at worst, lost their life?

Mil­i­tary ser­vice to a coun­try de­pends on many jobs and po­si­tions be­ing served with courage and done earnestly.

Peo­ple who choose to serve their coun­try are ac­tively get­ting in­volved in the at­tempt to keep peace, fight off evil move­ments and ha­tred and try to make the world a bet­ter place.

Mar­garet knew a few peo­ple who went over­seas to fur­ther sup­port the cause dur­ing WWII, in­clud­ing her brother in the Air Force and a girl in her unit who was old enough to be sent over; she wrote a few let­ters back to the girls in Corn­wal­lis to ex­plain what life was like closer to the front.

Not only did Mar­garet as­sist her coun­try and the al­lies in their ef­forts to de­feat the Nazis dur­ing WWII, but, it was at the base in Corn­wal­lis that she met her fu­ture hus­band.

She mar­ried Frank John­son, who was a phys­i­cal train­ing in­struc­tor for the Cana­dian Navy and they mar­ried in 1944. The pair was­mar­ried for 64 years and had two chil­dren andMar­garet re­sides in Goderich.

For Mar­garet, Re­mem­brance Day isn’t just a day to wear a poppy and at­tend a cer­e­mony. It is­much more mean­ing­ful and is an op­por­tu­nity to not al­low the sac­ri­fice of the men and women who died serv­ing their coun­try to be for­got­ten.

“I joined the ser­vice­mainly be­cause of my brother. He lost his life; he is buried over in Hol­land. [Re­mem­brance Day] means a re­mem­brance of him, as well as many oth­ers who passed away over­seas; to not for­get that sac­ri­fice,” Mar­garet ex­plains.

Re­mem­brance Day for Mar­garet is also a chance to re­flect on how blessed we are to live in a coun­try such as Canada who lives in rel­a­tive peace and free­dom, pri­mar­ily due to the ef­forts of the men and women who fought and died on for­eign soil to never re­turn home.

Due to s e r v i c e and un­timely death of men like Mar­garet’s brother, and the ser­vice from women in jobs like Mar­garet had dur­ing WWII, we are able to live in a pros­per­ous, free, peace­ful coun­try. A coun­try where many younger gen­er­a­tions have never known and may never see war in their life time.

On Re­mem­brance Day, Mar­garet plans to at­tend a cer­e­mony in or­der to pay her re­spects to those col­leagues, fel­low coun­try­men, women and loved ones that were lost

Mar­garet adds, “I sit back and re­flect on Re­mem­brance Day, and I think about my brother; [ I think about] all the oth­ers who have given up their lives; they are cer­tainly re­mem­bered.”

Thank you, Mar­garet, for your ser­vice.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Mar­garet John­son joined ser­vice to her coun­try dur­ing WWII and left home in Al­berta, trav­elled across Canada, where she was based in Corn­wal­lis, Nova Sco­tia

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