Dorothy Helena James W1978

January 13, 1922 - September 23, 1944

Dorothy Helena James Dorothy Helena James Dorothy Helena James Dorothy Helena James

Canadian Women's Army Corps

Dorothy Helena Telfer was the fourth of seven children born to Andrew T. Telfer (box worker) and his wife, Mary Helena (nee Dunn), of Windsor, Ontario. Dorothy was born in Langton, Ontario. She had five brothers, including one a mechanic, one joined the Army, and another attending school. Her sister, Marjorie, worked in a distillery then became a member of the CWAC. The family was Presbyterian.

Dorothy had long blonde hair, blue eyes, stood 5' 5 1/2" tall, and weighed 124 pounds. She had a Grade 10 education. She took two years technical school + one year commercial, but did not finish. She specialized in sewing, which she enjoyed very much. She had done housework for two years in different homes, the longest period in one home was 6 months, had been a salesclerk for nine weeks, part time, and a machine operator (drill press) in Border Cities Industries, a factory, for 3 1/2 months, prior to enlistment. Dorothy said she liked that type of work. She was earning $23/month. She indicated she wanted to go into nursing after the war ended.

On February 3, 1940, Dorothy married Pte Myles Sydney James, US Army, from Kentucky. He was going to join the Navy. He had been living or posted in Detroit, Michigan. "Separated by mutual agreement" noted on Dorothy's attestation papers, dated August 12, 1943, London, Ontario, for almost a year.

On her PERSONNEL SELECTION RECORD: "Likes sewing. Designs and makes own clothes. Enjoys dancing parties. Does a bit of reading, likes good books (Random Harvest, Kings Row). Belonged to Girl Guides for two years and to CGIT for a year. Army interest: Nursing. Has always wanted to be a nurse. Not too keen to take responsibility for fear she might blunder. Enjoys sewing but prefers to learn to be a medical orderly. Looked tired when she came in for interview and had a cold. Speaks fairly well. Describes herself as easy to get along with. Doesn't look for an argument and would rather walk away from one. Educational standing is fairly good. Intelligence is somewhat better than average. Might be considered for trades training but could be first given trial as medical orderly. Note sewing experience." Lt. M. Patricia Neilson

Dorothy was considered for a medical orderly and considered for trades training at a later date.


In September 1943, "Is completing basic training in the period 2 Sept - Oct 43. Is enjoying the training and has made a fair adjustment although she has already fainted once during her training. Still hopes to become a medical orderly no matter how many general duties are entailed. Has worked with many sick people in private homes and is sure she will like it although she will learn 'whatever she is given to do.' Is quite cheerful and confident. Her sewing is very neat but she is timid about working on other people's clothing." Capt. F. Marguerite Hill, Army Examiner, No. 3 CWAC (B) TC Kitchener>

On April 17, 1944: "This young woman has education and ability sufficient to benefit from clerical training. She seems, however, to have a fear of failures, and, until her confidence can be built up, training would probably be useless. She feels that when she is well, she will return to factory work. This would be suitable if a position within her physical capacity can be found. Some type of training might be considered before the time limit is up if Pte James has regained ambition enough to wish it." Lt. Carolyn Mann, No 101 Depot Coy, London, Ontario.

By April 20, 1944, L/Cpl James was discharged from the CWAC. "Not able to meet required military physical standards."

On September 23, 1944, L/Cpl Dorothy Helena James died at Westminster Hospital, London, Ontario, of chronic nephritis - kidney disease.

Dorothy is buried in the Grove Cemetery, Windsor, Ontario.