Head, Martha

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Head, Martha

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  • Martha Jensen

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When the Royal Canadian Air Force went into action in WW II, there were many Canadian women pilots who were qualified and eager to assist. In Britain and the United States, women pilots ferried military aircraft within their own countries. In Canada, however, there was no such provision, and frustration mounted among the women who felt that their skills and experiences were being left untapped. When the shortage of manpower became acute, however, in June 1941 the Government announced its decision to enlist women in the armed services in order to release more men for combatant duty. Over 17,000 women enlisted in the RCAF, Women's Division to serve at RCAF Headquarters in Canada and on stations of the Canadian Bomber Group overseas, in airframe, aero-engine, radar, wireless and motor transport groups as well as being clerks, records officers, secretaries, teleprinters, telegraphers, nurses, waitresses and cleaning staff. Martha Jensen enlisted in southern Alberta. Without her parents permission, she "borrowed" her father's naturalization papers to prove they were Canadian citizens. When her father needed his papers she had to confess what she had done. Martha was sent overseas as a wireless operator to Linton Air Base near York, England where two Canadian squadrons (Goose and Thunderbird) were stationed. When she arrived, there was so much work to be done that they worked 8 hours on, 8 hours off, seven days a week. During her time there, a very special event was the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their daughter, the young Princess Elizabeth. After the war, Martha stayed an additional four months, based at Allerton Place, to help with demobilization and bring all the POWs home. After the war she married Alfred Head, who had served in the Air Force at Linton, and lived in the south Peace River Country of Alberta.


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South Peace Regional Archives

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