We Shall Remember Them: Women who went to war

Helen Mary Smith was born in Shelbourne in 1920. After graduation from high school she had three years of voice training at the Toronto Conservatory of Music.

For larger view, Click on Image

In 1942, she enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. After receiving training as a Transportation Driver, she was assigned to the Canadian Small Arms school in Lakeview, just west of Toronto. Here she served as a driver for visiting dignitaries and military officers. She also participated as a soloist, in camp variety shows.

Her desire had been to serve overseas and after taking administration skills training, she went to England and served at Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) on Cockspur St. in London. That is where she celebrated VE Day on May 8, 1945.

celebration outside of Canadian Military Headquarters at 2-4 Cockspur Street in London on May 8, 1945. Helen is not the lady in the middle of it but she would have been amongst all her fellow solders in the crowd,
Canada House is next door to what was then CMHQ – for larger view click on image

Before leaving for England, she had met Captain Ernest George Hammond from Port Elgin and an officer in the Canadian Army. After war’s end on October 15, 1945, they married in the 500 year old Anglican Church at St. Martin’s in the Fields, across from Trafalgar Square in the heart of London.

Later they returned to Port Elgin where Mr. Hammond worked for the local Hydro Utility and retired from there as its Manager.

They had four children: three sons and one daughter, who now live throughout Ontario.

Helen passed away in 2014 at the age of 94. She and husband George are buried in Sanctuary Park in Port Elgin.

We Shall Remember Them
G. William Streeter