More than postcards
Margaret Johnson’s service to her country during WWII
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.
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