The Canadian Red Cross
From the outset, the Canadian Red Cross was involved in the Second World War both overseas and on the homefront. The number of Alberta branches grew from 46 to 325 during the first six months of the conflict. The organization consisted of a trained, uniformed volunteer corps and of “Junior” clubs for youths. The agency provided medical aid to all who needed it and distributed comforts (food, clothing, books, and so forth) to soldiers. It sent thousands of parcels containing knitted clothing and quilts, cigarettes, cakes, and books to soldiers overseas—particularly those held as prisoners of war.
Overseas, the Canadian Red Cross Corps worked in military hospitals and with voluntary aid detachments, providing relief to soldiers and civilian victims. Members of the Corps also worked in military hospitals in Canada. To make up for a staffing shortages at home, members helped out by driving ambulances, assisting nurses, and running blood donor clinics. On Canadian military bases, Red Cross volunteers trained individuals in first aid and provided medical aid as needed.
Red Cross and Junior Red Cross members held quilting parties to make quilts for soldiers. They also held dances, concerts, picnics, and other socials to raise money to purchase goods for soldiers and civilians in need. Throughout the course of the war, the agency managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in Alberta. Nationally, the Canadian Red Cross oversaw a campaign to collect scrap aluminium; this was used to build bombers and fighter aircraft.
Canadian Red Cross. “Module 2: The Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS).” (accessed September, 2007).
Canadian Red Cross Society, Alberta Division, Ganton and Watson Auxiliary. We Thy Servants, 1939–1967. Tolland, Alberta: The Auxiliary, 1967.