Remembering Dorothy Chambers

I was very saddened to hear that we lost Dorothy Chambers.
Dorothy was a well-known and well-loved resident in Thunder Bay, and was best known as a proud veteran and advocate for men and women serving our country in uniform, past and present.
With this being Remembrance Week in Canada, it seems only appropriate to remember Dorothy in this week’s column–with an excerpt of her own life story via www.thememoryproject.com
“I came home for lunch one day and heard [British] Prime Minister Winston Churchill say on the air, ‘Come on, women, we need you’ (you know his voice). And the next day, I joined the service as a stenographer.
“Nowadays I say steno and the young students do not know what steno means, but I wanted to type and do shorthand and switchboard in office work for the RCAF.
“The enlistment officer in our Royal Edward Hotel in the city of Fort William [Ontario] said to me, ‘I wish you could drive a car.’ And oh, I was thrilled—21 and driving a car. And so I ended up as a military driver; drove ambulance and high-ranking officers (and, by the way, they treated me with 100 percent respect) for close to three years.
“The whole message was, and the motto was, ‘We women join so that men could fly,’ meaning so men could be released to go overseas and continue on with the orders from defeating what was going on during those war years.
“And so that was the message and that’s what they told me in the enlistment office. If I was capable of being a driver, I would release maybe one or two men. And I saw it happen when I landed in Guelph, I saw two men go.
“I just drove the ordinary four-door sedan [but] now and then I had to drive the ambulance to take messages and the padre or someone ill to the hospital. And I often, by the way, drove a padre—that was my main duty usually—to deliver messages to families.
“Just had to wait outside for him. And he came out with a drooped head, I knew then that he had taken sad news to a family. But under confidence, no, he never said boo to me. And it wasn’t too often. But that part touched me.
“I think of that a lot today, taking news to a family that their son had been injured or even lost his life.”
You can read Dorothy’s entire story, and hear some of her audio clips, at www.thememoryproject.com
Thank you, Dorothy, and thank you to all of Canada’s proud men and women in uniform–past, present, and future–for your hard work and sacrifice on behalf of Canada and Canadians.
Lest we forget.

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