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Laura Secord discovered by British Amerindian allies, 22 June 1813

Type: Image

Laura Secord (1775-1868) walked into a camp of Amerindians towards the end of her famous 30 kilometre trek on 22 June 1813. The group were allies of the British, and they led Secord to a detachment of British troops stationed at the DeCew house, on the Niagara Escarpment near present-day St. Catherines, Ontario. There, she was able to pass on her warning of an impending American attack. This print gives a rather romanticized view of the heroine. At the time of her exploit, Secord was 38, rather older than suggested here. Nevertheless, a contemporary eyewitness account describes her 'slender frame and delicate appearance'.

Site: National Defence

Madeleine

Type: Image

A worthy representative of 17th-century women in New France, who were neither fragile nor passive, Marie-Madeleine Jarret de Verchères (1678-1747) conducted an exemplary defence of Fort Verchères against an Iroquois attack in 1692, just as her mother had done two years earlier. Her sober account of 1699, often romanticized in late-19th century versions, made her a heroine of our history of everyday life. Like most women in the colony, she knew how to handle arms by the time she was 14 years old. Her contemporary, Bacqueville de la Potherie, said of her that no 'Canadian or officer [could] shoot more accurately'.

Site: National Defence

Ordinary Rating, Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, 1942-1946

Type: Image

This is a member of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, which was formed in 1942 and attracted some 4,300 volunteers. The elegant sky-blue summer uniform shown here distinguished the women's service of the Canadian navy from its British and American equivalents. Their members wore white in summer. The WRCNS navy-blue winter uniform was identical to that worn by its British counterpart, the Women's Royal Naval Service. The women of the WRCNS also adopted the British nickname (the 'Wrens') of the WRNS. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Private, Canadian Women's Army Corps, Italy, 1944

Type: Image

More than 2,000 servicewomen served overseas. Members of the Canadian Women's Army Corps (formed in 1942) were first sent overseas to replace men at Canadian Military Headquarters in Britain. Men who were put in danger of front line service by the women's arrival were sometimes cool to the new arrivals. Nevertheless, the plan worked out well enough that several hundred Canadian women were soon in Britain. Eventually, permission was given to send some CWACs into rear areas of the war zone, mainly to act as clerks with headquarters units. The very first members of the Corps to enter a theatre of war, however, were the four women who were part of the Canadian Army Show which landed in Italy on 16 May 1944. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Mme Françoise-Marie Jacquelin de La Tour (1602-1645)

Type: Image

In the 1640s, the French settlements in Acadia were subject to a bitter feudal conflict between Charles Menou d’Aulnay and Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour, the two noblemen who claimed sole authority over the colony. While de La Tour was absent in April 1645, Menou d’Aulnay attacked his fort on the St. John River (now at St. John, NB) with 200 men and artillery. Mme. Françoise-Marie Jacquelin de La Tour (1602-1645) rose to the occasion and led the fort’s small garrison of about 45 men for three days. The fourth day, the fort finally fell by treason. Mme de La Tour was spared the massacre that followed, but died three weeks later of unknown but probably natural causes. This brave and determined woman was one of Canada’s first heroines as well as the first European woman to raise a family in present-day New Brunswick. There is no known portrait of her. This idealised illustration is from a Second World War recruiting poster by Adam Sherriff-Scott. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Leading Aircraftwoman, Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division, 1942-1946

Type: Image

The Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division was formed in 1941 and eventually recruited more than 16,000 volunteers. Beginning in September 1942, many of these women served in Britain; by 1945 more than 1,300 of them were serving there. The Leading Aircraftwoman (her rank is shown by the propeller badge on her sleeve) shown here is assigned as a plotter for Royal Air Force Fighter Command at a Sector Control Room in the south of England. Canadian women serving outside Canada wore the 'CANADA' badge on the upper sleeve. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Head nurse in winter uniform, Canadian Nursing Service, circa 1908

Type: Image

The Nursing Service was formed in 1901, and Canadian military nurses served in South Africa. Initially dressed in khaki clothing appropriate for service in the field, the nurses were given more formal uniforms in 1907. This reconstruction by Ron Volstad shows a nurse's winter uniform. The painting is based on a photo of Georgina Fane Pope, a woman of exceptional talents who was the Service's first head. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Captured German Tank, 1945

Type: Image

This scene of a German Panther tank surrounded by liberated civilians is one of the works painted by Canada's first official female war artist: Molly Lamb Bobak (1920- ). (Oil on canvas, 45.2 cm x 60 cm) (Canadian War Museum 12018)

Site: National Defence

Nursing Sister Blanche Lavallée, Canadian Army Medical Corps, 26 June 1916

Type: Image

This chalk drawing is of Nursing Sister Blanche Lavallée (1891- ?) at the Canadian Military Hospital at St Cloud, Paris, 16 June 1916. Nicknamed the 'Bluebirds' by the wounded because of their sky-blue uniforms, more than 2,500 Canadian nurses served overseas. As early as 1899, Canadian nurses were given officer rank to confirm their professional standing. This was not the case with American military nurses, and the energetic Blanche Lavallée campaigned with them until they made their point in 1920. She also demanded pay equity with men of the same rank, which was finally granted during the Second World War. (Canadian Department of National Defence, PMR-C-86-419)

Site: National Defence

French field hospital, 1914

Type: Image

When the war began, the French army was still wearing blue uniforms with red trousers. Deployed in this fashion on the plains of Champagne and Flanders, these soldiers suffered terrible losses from quick-firing artillery, machine guns and bolt-action rifles. Since then, all armies have worn drab colours. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence