September 28, 1923 - June 14, 1946
Alice Lovina Anderson was born on September 28, 1923, the daughter of Christopher and Jane (nee York) Anderson. She had four sisters: Verna, Corine, Christine and Gail, plus one brother, Irwin. A second brother, Morley, died in September 1936. The family attended the United Church. From newspaper articles, it appears Christopher Anderson was an Indian Constable in the 1930s, on the Rama Reserve, where the family resided. He later became a guard at Pickering, Ontario.
Alice Anderson stood 5'6" tall, weighing 138 pounds. She had brown eyes, black hair and a medium complexion. She had a Grade 8 education and took a business course at Shaw's in Toronto, from March to April 1942. She had also been working in Toronto as a domestic for Mrs. L. F. Fitzgerald to look after the woman's mother from September 1941 to June 1942. She was a waitress at the Ladies Staff House in Nobel, Ontario from October 1942 to January 1943 prior to enlisting with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women's Division, in North Bay, Ontario on January 22, 1943.
On her medical form, she indicated she had broken her left thumb at the age of 17, had measles when she was 10, and also had had whooping cough and the mumps. She had no scars, but had a mole on the right side of her neck. She was assessed as "a neat, attractive Indian girl. Bright, enjoys working as a waitress, creates favourable impression."
Alice Anderson noted she could "type a little." The positions she felt qualified to do were: Standard General Duties or hospital assistant. She indicated she liked tennis, bowling, dancing, skating and swimming.
She was issued her RCAF clothing kit including two summer dresses, one shirt and one pair of shorts for P. T., one jacket, one skirt, two shirts, two pairs of stockings for TW, plus another jacket, more shirts, stockings, skirts and stockings, plus caps, a purse, black rubber boots and a pair of shoes. She was also issued a blanket.
She was at No. 7 Manning Depot (RCAF- WD), Rockcliffe by January 26, 1943, then by March 20, 1943, she was at No. 3 Flying Instructor School, Arnprior, Ontario. She was then sent back to Ottawa in August 1944, then to Uplands, March 1945, where she was working in maintenance. She had been promoted from AW2 to AW1, then to Leading Aircraftwoman. She was given the trade of Standard General Duties.
She was ill while in Pickering, Ontario, while on a furlough, visiting family, in August 1943, for nine days, causing her to be late for duty. Her pass was checked and she was permitted to proceed to her station. She had reported to her home physician complaining of a head cold and he advised her that she be confined to her parents' home. Diagnosis: coryza. Over December 5-6, 1944, she was AWL for two days -- this incident was written up by the AFHQ Administrative Unit, on December 6th. "While on duty on the above date at the Union Station in company with Cpl Stewart and Cpl Philips, the above named airwoman approached and stated she was late going back. I checked her pass which read from 0630 hours 4th December 1943 to 0630 hours 5th December, 1943. After taking note of the necessary information, I allowed her to proceed on train #555 CPR at 0825 hours." Signed Cpl Warren and Cpl Stwart. She was given leave for New Year's from December 31, 1943 until January 4, 1944.
In October 1944, she requested she be discharged from service, as her father was ill. "I have been contemplating on applying for a commpassionate discharge, upon the failing health of my father for the past month and at this time would greatly appreciate your kind consideration and approval." The RCAF was reluctant to grant her wish, discussing replacement or having to shuffle personnel. LAW Anderson filled in a form indicating that after she was discharged from the RCAF, she would be residing at 29 Church Street, Clawson, Michigan, USA, just outside Detroit.
In November 1944, the RCAF was preparing to discharge LAW Anderson. "Discharge of this airwoman under K.R. (Air) 195 (17) - 'By reason of reduced requirements' is approved." In December 1944, a confidential memo was issued. "In accordance with your above mentioned memo, the following is submitted: Character: very good. Trade: superior. Qualifications for Civilian Life: Very good General Clerk. No replacement is required." However, in a memo dated December 16, 1944 to LAW Anderson, "Due to a serious shortage in this particular trade, it is not possible to proceed with the discharge at this time. If and when this situation changes, you will be so advised and action will be taken to complete the discharge Proceedings."
In February 1945, she indicated she was engaged and she was to be married in April. She was planning to take a civilian position using her present experience. She had been a timekeeper in flights, worked in the canteen and did clerical work as part of her duties.
From October 16-22, 1945, she was ill. In November, she was sought medical treatment. "Admitted complaining of pain in RUQ aggravated by deep breathing and nausea and vomiting of several days duration. Patient was in this hospital in September 1945 complaining of pain in RUQ and a diagnosis of subacute cholecystitis (gall bladder issues) was made at that time. No sore throat. Slight dry cough. Well nourished young female. Pale. Appears accutely ill. Eyes no evidence of jaundice...skin clear. Received 990,000 units of penicillin." Additional medical notes were made: "Patient has lost 20 pounds last nine months and for the past 4-5 weeks has had severe night sweats, also a productive cough. Patient states that she was perfectly well until March 1945...Patient states that in August 1944, she was posted to AFHQ where she worked for about a year. It is noted that one member of her office who was there for the year is now in the sanatorium with open tuberculosis lungs." By December 19, 1945, she was sent to the sanatorium in Essex County, outside Windsor, Ontario. The RCAF started to process her discharge: 'Medically Unfit for any form of Air Force service.' "Hospitalized for indefinite period and as a result, plans are not definite. A wedding was planned, which, if it takes place, will not be until airwoman has been discharged from DVA care. Pleasant manner, friendly, attractive. Does not intend to work after she is married. It is considered she is most likely to succeed in a skilled or semi-skilled occupation or in work involving only a moderate degree of responsibility." Her official discharge from the RCAF (WD) was effective December 19, 1945.
On June 14, 1946, LAW Alice Anderson died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Windsor, Ontario. She was buried in the family cemetery on the Rama Reserve, near Orillia, Ontario. On one form, the name of the cemetery is noted as Rama Indian Cemetery, Rama Reserve, Rama Twp.
LAW Alice L. Anderson's kit was burned at MCHQ, Uplands, Ontario, "on the authority of MO of that unit due to the fact this subject airwoman has contacted a contagious disease."
Other women in this study in the RCAF (WD) who died of TB are: June Catherine Davies, 1945, Lucelle Margaret Sparks, 1946, and Elizabeth Genevieve Woodman, 1942.
Her mother and father, plus Mrs. Sydney Dunmore, Clawson, Michigan, were listed as Alice's next of kin on different forms. Mrs. Dunmore was noted as an aunt.
On July 10, 1946, Mrs. Jane Anderson wrote to the RCAF Maintenance Command at Uplands. "In regards to the death of my daughter, Alice Anderson, who was stationed at Uplands and later was sent to Essex County Sanatarium owing to illness where she died on June 14. I have been wondering if I am going to get her pension and gratuity. I find that Alice has her papers addressed to 29 Church Street, Clawson, Michigan. Could this be corrected to Rama Road, Ontario. We had been moving quite a bit but have recently bought land where we expect to build a home and live here permanently. I will be very grateful if you will write and send me particulars." She filled in the Estates Branch forms as well.
A letter from the Estates Branch in Ottawa dated September 19, 1946. "Dear Mrs. Anderson, We have carefully noted the remarks contained therein with reference to your daughter's joint account with Mrs. S. Dunmore in the Michigan Banking Corporation...It is regretted that it is not possible for us to take any action in connection with uplifting your daughter's share of the account inasmuch as it is held beyond Canada." They also informed Mrs. Anderson that there was nothing they could do about Alice's personal effects and she should consult a solicitor. It is unknown if the family was aware that Alice's kit had been burned.
On October 18, 1946, Mrs. Anderson wrote again, this time to the RCAF Estates Branch in Ottawa. "I was over to see a lawyer the other day concerning my daughter Alice's belongings, which were stolen at Essex Sanatorium and about her joint account with Mrs. Dunmore. He said there isn't anything he can do to take action inasmuch as it is held beyond Canada. I guess she worked all this out as soon as she found out she wasn't going to live. Alice never said anything about giving her anything but may have told her to take care of them till she got better. I was reading one of Alice's letters written to her from Westminster Hospital dated January 4, 1946. It said gratuity monies are held in trust during period of hospital treatment. Or has this been sent to her while she was at the sanatorium. And another thing I wanted to ask was a headstone for her grave. There are several at the cemetery of veterans who died recently. I would very much like one for her grave. I never got anything while she was in the Air Force, but she had always said she'd give us something when she got discharged. We were a distance of over four hundred miles from the Essex Sanatorium and were not in a position to visit her as often as we should have. Even after they told us she wasn't going to live, I did not have the courage to ask her to bring all her clothes home owing that I did not want to worry her. Even the doctors claim that they didn't see any of the things I claimed were hanging in the clothes closet. Anyway, there are over three hundredth worth of clothes and personal effects missing but I guess I'll have to let everything go, being that there isn't anything that can be done. Alice had only met this Mrs. Dunmore a couple of years ago. We raised Alice ourselves till she was eighteen. And I really think Mrs. Dunmore doesn't deserve to get all the things she got."
November 14, 1946, Mrs. Anderson received a letter from the Estates Branch regarding the War Service Gratuity. "...for your information, we would advise that same amounted to $461.20 and was payable in four monthly installments of $115.30. The last instalment was made to your daughter on May 1, 1946 and all cheques were forwarded to her at 29 Church Street, Clawson, Michigan. With respect to the headstone being erected on your daughter's grave, it is suggested that this matter be taken up direct with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ottawa."
On December 3, 1946, a letter arrived from the Estates Branch to Mrs. Anderson, Rama Road, Ontario. "We have received a report from the Department of Finance in connection with the bonds purchased by your late daughter. They have advised that $200 Ninth Victory Loan bearer bonds....were mailed on May 5, 1946 to Miss Alice L. Anderson, 29 Church Street, Box 130 Clawson, Michigan. Inasmuch as the bonds were not returned to their office, it is presumed that your daughter took delivery of them."