WHEN CANADA WENT TO WAR, HER VOLUNTEER SERVICE PUT HER IN HARM’S WAY
The life of Betty Shuter Oland, a long-time member of the Junior League of Halifax, reminds us that service in our nations’ wars comes in many forms. Long before women became actively involved in the combat arms of the military, service often came as a volunteer. So Betty, then living in Montreal, joined the Canadian Red Cross at 20 and arrived in England two years later (a week after D-Day) to work as an ambulance driver with the British Red Cross. There she took cover in air raid shelters as the Blitz raged over London and, later, she and her friends waded with other happy celebrants in the fountain in front of Buckingham Palace on VE Day. And then she went home – marrying, moving to Halifax, and remaining active in community affairs. The example of Betty Oland, now nearly 93, and thousands of other anonymous Canadian woman during WWII is now being recognized by the Halifax Women’s History Society, which is raising funds so that Halifax – a major embarkation point for troop ships and convoys setting out across the Atlantic during that conflict – will finally have a memorial to the women who provided so much support for the war effort, both in Halifax and across Canada.