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The Ladies Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Legion

January 29, 2023

Ceremony at the Cenotaph on Fenelon Falls Island, in front of Lyon's Garage

From the Fenelon Falls Tweedsmuir History

Formerly the Ladies Auxiliary to the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League

During the Second World War, 1939-1945, many local men answered the call to service, and mothers and wives became increasingly concerned about their welfare overseas during the time of rehabilitation as they were invalided home, or became ‘non-active.’

All across Canada women were being organized as Auxiliaries to the British Empire Service League. Fenelon Falls women rallied to the call and on June 27th, 1941, ten (10) ladies were initiated by the Provincial President, Mrs. A.E. Norley. The names of the officers were:

Comrade D. Perryman, President (she had 3 sons in the forces)

Comrade Gertrude Moore, 1st Vice President

Comrade Florence Burke, 2nd Vice President

Comrade (?) Sandiland, Secretary

Comrade Olive Ellery, Treasurer

Comrade M. Barnett (Barrett), Standard Bearer

Comrades Ada Pogue and Violet Metcalfe, Executive

Branch 238 of the BESL hosted the new executive and the provincial officers after the installation and they became the vanguard of an enthusiastic group who are still carrying on in this year of recording. (1969)

The fees were 10 cents a month but, like so many other things, have now doubled. Monthly meetings were held in the Legion Hall until October, 1942, when fire destroyed everything. A new charter had to be applied for and meetings were held for a long period of time in members’ homes. This in no way limited the activities.

In 1944, Fenelon Falls Branch hosted the first of three Zone Rallies (the second was held around 1952 and the third in 1968). In earlier years Oshawa, Whitby and larger centres helped make up about 200 guests, but the zones have now been divided, making it easier for each Auxiliary to take their turn as hostesses. We now belong to Zone F.10 Auxiliaries.

The life memberships have been presented in recognition of untiring service: The recipients—Comrade Margaret Simper—1947 and Comrade Ada Pogue—1956. Twenty-five year pins were presented in 1968. Those so honoured were: Comrades D. Perryman, G. Moore, M. Woods, V. Metcalfe, F. Burke and E. Sheehey.

A variety of projects have been well done as occasion called for: food boxes went to Armed Forces Personnel Overseas; donations to Christie Street Hospital for Returned Veterans; to Sunnybrook Hospital 20 thermos jugs were given engraved with Auxiliary name and branch. An HONOUR ROLL for local service men and women, purchased in 1943, was displayed at the post office until 1967, when it was taken to its rightful place of honour in the Legion Hall. Donations were made toward the upkeep of a room for returning and departed service men at the Union Station, Toronto: a veteran in Sunnybrook was ‘adopted’ and gifts sent for years until he answered the final call. A plot in the local cemetery was purchased.

Assistance was given the Men’s Branch in purchasing an ambulance. Donations were made for Scholarship and Bursary Funds to aid Veteran’s children towards higher education. A ‘Welfare Fund’ takes care of local needs of the sick or those who suffer fire loss. In 1968 two beautiful trophies were donated to the Pee Wee division of Minor Hockey.

We travel considerable distances to compete in Sports Events, bowling being a specialty. Five times we have reached the 2nd level of playoffs. We never went below 2nd or 3rd and this year (1969) won 1st Level.

The usual variety of ways to finance activities has been used: fees, raffles, bingos, catering for banquets, etc.

The highest office in a zone was held by Comrade D. Perryman from 1952 to 1960 and we have had representation on the Rehabilitation Board.

For 1969 Officers are:

Comrade Loreene Robertson, President

Comrade Yvonne Jones, 1st Vice President

Comrade Alice Liscombe, 2nd Vice President

Comrade Josephine Northey, Secretary

Comrade Peggy Sheehey, Treasurer

Comrade Grace Staples, Sergeant-at-arms

Comrades F. Bellwood, A. Miller, V. Metcalfe, V. Grigg, F. Burke, K. Smith, Executive

This year, 1969, the Legion Hall is being enlarged and renovated and we are doing our bit financially.

By Viola McIntosh with information submitted by Josephine Northey.

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