Women & Wartime


In 1941, the first wave of soldiers left North Vancouver and headed overseas to fight in the Second World War. Those that were left behind sprang into action and banded together in volunteer groups to respond to wartime dangers of AIR RAIDS, GAS ATTACKS and SABOTAGE!

The vicinity of the shipyards and its contribution to the war effort placed North Vancouver at risk of enemy attack on domestic soil. As a result, local Air Raid Precaution (ARP) organizations were active in operating air raid shelters, educating citizens and assisting with emergencies. Women were called upon to manage the household during wartime rations and to take an active role in supporting Canada. In addition to nursing duty with the Red Cross, the Canadian government authorized the formation of army, navy and air force units exclusively for women.

“By enlisting now in this army women can fight side by side with their men. It has always been the duty of women to see that men are warmly clad and equipped to fight every day battles. … This is Canada’s call to wife, mother and daughters – Defend that part of your country which is your home.”

War Savings Committee Progress Report No.8, 1940. NVMA, City of North Vancouver Fonds 20

Explore the extraordinary efforts of women and youth to defend North Vancouver and contribute during wartime. Discover unique archival records that reveal the thoughts and feelings of earlier generations of North Vancouver residents during the Second World War. Learn about the events that happened at home and how they shaped the future of our community.