Look at the Inwood Red Cross Society

I’m conducting research for the Lambton Heritage Museum‘s 2013 exhibit, Shine: Spotlight on Women of Lambton. I’ve been looking for good examples of women making positive change in their communities and beyond through formal organizations. In the Lambton Room’s vault I found some really interesting material from the Inwood Red Cross Society, not an entirely female society but one with many female members. The Inwood Red Cross Society was established just after the outbreak of WWII to support Canadian soldiers. Here is a brief history of the Red Cross and the founding of the group in Inwood, and scans of some traces of the society we have in the Lambton Room collection.
The Red Cross was established by an act of Parliament in 1909. It can trace its roots back to Louis Riel’s 1885 Northwest Rebellion, when Dr. George Ryerson designed a Red Cross flag to identify the wagon he used to transport wounded soldiers. Dr. Ryerson founded the British Red Cross overseas, which later became the Canadian Red Cross.
The Canadian Red Cross was involved overseas in humanitarian aid during WWI and WWII. Volunteers offered services including comfort and relief for troops and prisoners of war, medical aid, information services, and family reunification.

Receipt Feb 4, 1943 Inwood Red Cross Dutch Auction

On the home front, the Red Cross was a rally point for local residents eager for opportunities to support troops overseas. The Inwood Red Cross Society was established in 1940 as “S.S. #14.” Shortly after the society was formed, on June 1 the group put out a call for “wool blankets so urgently needed.” Not wasting any time, by June 3 members had shipped from Inwood “four pair new blankets and four slightly used blankets.” (Information taken from Inwood Red Cross Society Minute Book, 1940-42, p. 3-5 in Lambton Room collection.) The Inwood Red Cross Society demonstrates how men and women worked together to provide for Canada’s armed forces during WWII. Women held many important roles in the society including secretary, treasurer, sewing convenor, knitting convenor, quilting convenor, and social convenor. We have many interesting documents from their organization including minute books, receipts from purchases made for fundraisers and soldier care packages, and letters written by grateful soldiers.

Receipt Oct 15 1943, Inwood Red Cross for Soldiers Overseas
Keep tuned to the blog for more information on the involvement of women in Lambton County as my research continues!

Letter from Private N.A. Campbell, Jan. 26 1945 to Inwood Red Cross S.S. #14.

Leave a Reply