War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


How lovely to have a glass of port with a WWII WREN tonight. I love the elders so.
This WREN was a cipher clerk in Halifax during the war. She loved every minute of it. Receiving ship to shore, putting the messages through the cipher to decode, recoding, resending, it was an exciting, fun time. She smiled remembering sleeping in the barracks, 27 women to a room. “Hell’s Kitchen was at one end of the barracks while at our end we were known as Hell’s Angels”

She remembered VE Day in Halifax and all the rioting. “We were safe but we had to be careful” she said. It was a good war for her. She ended up marrying an RCAF, having three kids, widowed, another RCAF, then a lovely, long life.

Now age has stolen upon her and her comrades in the “retirement community” in which she lives alongside our elder. Her legs are bandaged and sore and she might lose them below the knee if they don’t heal. She puts on a cheery face. Her hair is soft and thin and halo-like. Her skin is creamy. I’ve always read about creamy complexions but I’ve never actually seen one til I saw hers.

I looked around at all the elders tonight eating dinner and thought about how brave it is of them to survive. I thought of how much they have in common with the young vets I know. Losses and change and losses and change.

Getting old isn’t for the feint of heart, yet the WREN loves her glass of port and a laugh as at 87, she soldiers on.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Sigs. It was posted here on August 13, 2013.


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