Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Roger Sarty

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study explores the establishment of the Women’s Royal Naval Canadian Service (WRCNS) on the basis of its British counterpart, and the subsequent restructuring of the service better to suit Canadian needs during the Second World War. This development paralleled and complemented other efforts on the part of the Canadian navy to become more autonomous from British’s Royal Navy. Many Canadians, and the government itself, had profound reservations about the employment of women in military service, but within the navy, as in the other armed forces, these reservations were overcome by much needed skills available among the women who volunteered. The WRCNS made a particularly valuable contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic providing a highly capable, enthusiastic workforce to staff the rapidly expanding communication and intelligence networks developed by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to protect convoys, target U-boats and give Canada full partnerships in Allied decision making for operations in the critically important north Atlantic theatre. The work of the WRCNS directly contributed to Allied victory in the Atlantic and to the enhancement of Canadian national autonomy.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season