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Cap Badge, shouldertitles and collarbadges of the Canadian Women's army Corps
(Credit for photographs of the badges goes to Clifford Weirmeir, with his splendid website about the Irish regiment of Canada)



Piper Flossie Ross of he Canadian Women’s Army Corps (C.W.A.C.) Pipe Band on the deck of a surrendered German “E”-boat, Wilhelmshafen, Germany, 4 October 1945

Although the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC) were not an infantry regiment, and as such did not take part in the Massed Pipe Bands playing at the Victory Parades, their pipe band did play an important role amongst all the Canadian 1st. Army pipe bands playing overseas, in Europe.

The Canadian Women's Army Corps
(CWAC) Pipe Band was formed on August 8, 1942. Lillian M. Grant of Victoria, British Columbia, was recruited as the band's pipe major and given the task of founding the new CWAC Pipe Band. The Pipe Band and its sister ensemble, the CWAC Brass Band, was intended to improve the perception of women in the military and encourage more women to join the forces. At full strength, the CWAC Pipe Band consisted of 27 drummers and pipers.
Following VE Day the Pipe Band travelled to Europe to entertain the troops, performing mainly in England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and France
The act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France, and ratified on 8 May in Berlin, Germany).

Members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (C.W.A.C.) Pipe Band, Wilhelmshaven, Germany, 4 October 1945. (L-R): Piper G. Ross, Lance-Corporal M.D. Hain, Drummers M.E. Schenck, E.I. Hogan, Piper M.F. LaFramboise, Drummer J.A. Anderson, Piper I.J. Henderson


April 4, 1992 Pipe Major Lillian M. (Grant) Davis wrote to us the following (quote):

“I shall be pleased to give you information on the Canadian Women's Army Corps Pipe Band of which I was the organizer and Pipe Major.

The nucleus of the band came from British Columbia where six pipers and four drummers began practising in the old Hotel Vancouver. In 1943 we went transferred to Ottawa where we picked another six pipers and four drummers.

The band played a heavy role in recruiting and morale building for the Canadian Forces. After a recruiting tour of Canada covering over 100 cities and towns, we repeated the same tour, more extensively, the following year. In the spring of 1945 we were sent to Pennsylvania U.S.A. to promote their War Bond Drive. While there we played in 25 cities and towns to hundreds of employees outside factories and indoors at concerts and rallies.

On returning to our base in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada we were given the great news that we were to be transported to Holland! Apeldoorn was "home" for seven months. We were put up in a place called "Jasper Lodge" which was across from Wilhelmina Park, if I can remember correctly. I do not recall the street name as the roads all had army connotations and ours was known as "London Up".

The extension at the back of  "Rustoord Talma Elim", at Koninginnepark 13, Apeldoorn.
You can also see it sticking out on the left behind the building on the photograph below,

The front part of Talma Elim, the C.W.A.C. Pipe Band's Holland Home: "Jasper Lodge" on "London Up".

We were very excited to be in Holland. Everyone was wonderful to us. One of our girls was married there and our next door neighbour graciously loaned us a beautiful lace table cloth for the reception. And our weekly visit from a handsome lad with his wheelbarrow full of gorgeous tulips was always a special highlight for us.

Of course„ our tours of duty took us to Paris and Brussels and to the Canadian units in Germany, but we were always glad to come back "home" to Holland.

I don't know if you would like to hear the number of towns we visited in your wonderful country. I would think about 25, where we would play a parade on the village square.


For instance (and this is from my diary):

On Aug. 10, 1945: Practised for sports day at Nijmegen. Drove through Arnhem. What a terrible mess. It rained at rehearsal. the Japanese capitulated that day just after we played for our first time in Holland.

Aug. 11 Sports meet at Nijmegen. Beautiful day.

Canadian Women's Army Corps (C.W.A.C.) Pipe and Brass Bands preparing to take part in C.W.A.C. anniversary march past Apeldoorn, Netherlands - August 13, 1945.

Aug. 16 Declared a holiday VJ day. All wars over now ! Started out for Amsterdam and trucks broke down so stayed in Amersfoort instead, and back home to Apeldoorn at night.

Aug. 17 Rained, so trip to Zeist and Soest cancelled.

Aug. 18 Parade and concert at Deventer.

Aug. 20 To Almelo for concert.

Aug. 23 and 24 Finally got to Zeist and to Soest for concerts.

Hengelo - August 25, 1945

Aug. 25. Hengelo for concert on street. Great audience there.

Aug. 27 To Nijmegen and visited Number 1 Canadian General Hospital where we visited the patients after playing outside.

At this point we were sent to Aldershot, England but were soon back in Holland -- on Sept. 5th.

Sept. 9 to RIJSSEN. Played around grandstand in sunken park.

Sept. 10 Up early and off to GRONINGEN for a week. Arrived at noon. Dinner and off to No. 6 General Hospital. Supper and off to AKKRUM. We did 306 miles today.

Sept. 11 to BOLSWARD to play for the Cape Breton Highlanders. Played in a cow field and then back to town.

The C.W.A.C. pipe band marching along the street beside the canal in Bolsward during their visit to units of the Fifth Canadian Armoured Division in Holland. Members of the Cape Breton Highlanders are watching the parade.

Sept. 12 GIETEN to visit the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Concert in Groningen Market Square.

Sept. 14 to HARLINGEN - At 10 in the mooning we had a parade and a march past and inspection of the Tank Corps who are leaving for home with 2nd Div. The last big inspection in North West Europe. On to FRANEKER but cancelled because of rain. GRONINGEN for a broadcast, then over to meet Peter Mak, a concert pianist. Lovely boy, lovely home.

Canadian troops taking leave of Holland - Harlingen September 14, 1945

Sept. 15 WINSCHOTEN Played at big field with tiny grandstand. Lots of Dutch people in attendance. They love the bagpipes. They call them "doodlesacs"

Sept. 16 SNEEK for a church parade. We never saw so many people trying to get entrance to the church. Paraded back to Sergeants' Mess. Had dinner. On to VEENDAM. Played in a field across a little bridge.

The Perth Regiment, led by the C.W.A.C. pipe band, marching to a church parade at Sneek, Holland.

Sept. 21. SCHERPENZEEL At Cameron Highlanders. It rained so cut programme short.

Sept. 22 to ALMELO to a horse show. Played at the grounds.

Sept.. 25 BUSSUM Played at 3 different companies, and at a ballpark.

Sept. 27 LAREN - Played to about 100 fellows.

to Germany until Oct. 13

Oct. 13 to AMSTERDAM for a few days holiday.

Oct. 15 I bought a beautiful eyelet embroidered baby's dress in AMSTERDAM.

Oct. 16 AMSTERDAM went to a wonderful concert by Myra Hess, known as the best woman pianist in the world.

Canadian Women's Army Corps (C.W.A.C.) Pipe Band parading through Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 17, 1945

Oct. 20 UTRECHT - to play at opening of football (rugby) season.

Oct. 26 HILVERSUM - to a Casino for our first indoor concert.

Oct. 28 DOETINCHEM - Church parade with Fort Gary Horse Regiment. Long march and one-hour concert and were then entertained to tea by the Dutch Army girls.


P. M. Lillian Grant piping Major-General Keefler, G.O.C. 3rd. Can Div. and the Burgomaster into the Utrecht Town Hall for a farewell ceremony.

Oct. 29 UTRECHT to play up to the Town Hall where we met the Burgomaster. It was a Farewell. to the 3rd Division. I played General Kiefler in to the tearoom. The wonderful Dutch people waited outside one hour wile the band had tea. When we came out the crowd wanted us to play up the doodlesacs again, so we did.

C.W.A.C. pipe band passing the Town Hall during ceremony at which the people of Utrecht said goodbye to the troops of the 3rd. Can. Div.


Leeuwarden - September 13, 1945

Sept. 13 all day at LEEUWARDEN. A big festival. Played from 1100 to 1200 and then at night. I was presented with flowers by the Burgomaster.

The Burgomaster of Leeuwarden presenting Pipe-Major Lillian Grant of the C.W.A.C. with a bouquet of flowers after the pipe band had played in the town.

Nov. 4 - A huge parade in PARIS. I say "huge" but it was just our band - it was the crowds that made it huge. Down the grandest (and longest straightest) street in the world. The Champs d' Elysée. Two hundred and fifty thousand people were out to see us. They waited eagerly to see us pass and then they would crowd in behind the band and march with us. When we finally arrived at the Tuileries Gardens the thousands of marchers would not let us go, so our Canadian Ambassador (Georges Vanier) asked if we would play a short concert in the Gardens. We played for another hour, and the Frenchmen enjoyed us as much as our "hometown" Dutch people. A wonderful day and a lifetime experience.

Nov. 10 back to APELDOORN. Took five hours.

Nov. 15 to NIJMEGEN. Played. Stayed and had lunch and then we were taken for a tour around the battlefields to see where the parachutists landed - or tried to land. Saw GROESBEEK cemetery which is crowded with our valiant Canadian boys. A foggy dismal day.

Nov. 25 - Back to WINSCHOTEN where we unveiled a monument to the 12 or so Canadian who are buried there.

Nov. 30 1945 The Irish Fusiliers were at Jasper Lodge at 7:30 a.m.. to play us away - to England and home to Canada.

Other places in my diary are: Nijverdal, Ede, Dokkum, Barlage, Doorn, Zutphen and Bilthoven.

What do you think? Did we cover Holland pretty well?”



Here follows the 1992 nominal roll of the veteran members of the CWAC pipe band:



BEAULIEU Frances      

BLOMQUIST Joan       

CHESHIRE Jessie        

CLAYTON Jessie         

CLAYTON Peggy             

DONALD Jean               

DOWNE Molly                

DUNVILLE Nellie         








McKEAN Nadia

MANN Chris





OTWAY Gertrude


SCOTT Flossie



WRIGHT Josephine


and myself

DAVIS Lillian


Edmonton, May 31, 1987: 6th. Reunion of the C.W.A.C. Pipe Band (1942-1946)

The special C.W.A.C. Piper's Sleeve-Badge

Above: The special C.W.A.C. Piper's Sleeve-Badge