March 3, 1923 - July 31, 1946
Florence Eleanor Lewis was the daughter of Harry and Mary Jane Lewis of Cascumpec, Prince Edward Island. She was the 5th of thirteen children including George, Lawrence Marne and Lawrence, John, Henry, Keith, William, Maria, Alma, Jenny, Hazel and Verna, ranging in age from 9 to 29. Three siblings died as children. The family was Baptist.
Florence enlisted in Charlottetown, PEI on April 27, 1943. She had brown hair, blue eyes, stood 5'4", and weighed 132 pounds. She had a partial Grade 7 education and then worked as a housekeeper. She had hoped to be a stenographer after the war.
She was interviewed on June 4, 1943. "Completed Grade 6 and a few months of Grade 7 in rural school in PEI at 13 years of age. Says that she had difficulty with history and repeated several grades, partly because her mother was ill and she had to help at home. Took bookkeeping at night school 1942-3, going 2 nights a week for 4 months. Housework for 10 months in one home, 3 months in another. Moved to Charlottetown and worked for 7 months in a boarding house. Found this too hard and worked in a small home for 2 1/2 months prior to enlistment. PERSONAL HISTORY: Parents are living. Father has a farm with 150 acres of cleared land. The children were all accustomed to helping with the outdoor work...One brother is in the Army, one is a fisherman, one works on the farm. Claims that her family life was quite happy. INTERESTS: Living in a rural district, she had little time for recreational activities and spent most of her time helping at home. Does not read and has not participated in sports...This is a girl of medium build with brown hair, high colouring, and rather untidy appearance. States that her health has been good and that she has not missed a day's work in the past 2 1/2 years. Speaks in a breathless rather tense fashion and gives the impression that she is shy and rather lacking in self-confidence. From her comments, one would judge that she has not had to work very hard in her civilian positions, but her attitude is fairly co-operative and she should work well under direction. Tends to be suggestible and easily led. Her M score is below the average range of CWAC scores and her educational standing is very low. Her occupational experience has been limited to housework. Is suitable, at present, only for general duties and although she is not very willing, she 'expected that.' Does not like kitchen work but does not mind 'scrubbing and cleaning'." Capt. F. Marguerite Hill
She was taken on strength as a kitchen orderly. "After basic training in May-June, she was posted to New Wellington Barracks, Halifax, where she has been kitchen orderly for the past month. She says she has liked this work all right, but is getting tired of washing dishes and wants a course. She was quite persistent in pressing for a driver's course, but neither her general ability or nervous stability warrant this. She is content to work on in the kitchen for a while but would like to change after she has served her time. She has had a few lessons in bookkeeping that might be of assistance in storework and she thinks she would like this. RECOMMENDATION: Continue as Kitchen Orderly for a little while and then probably change to simple routine work as storewoman." Capt Olive R. Russell, August 8, 1943 [Capt Russell became Dr. Russell. See image above.]
On April 12, 1944, she was interviewed again, this time at No. 1 CWAC (A) TC, Macdonald College, south of Montreal. "Attending School of Cookery, 6 Mar - 15 April 1944. This is a quiet girl with a friendly, respectful manner. She has preferred the work in the bakeshop and has made very high marks in this. Enjoys general cooking also. Her attitude towards posting seems sensible; would probably have a steadying influence upon her friend Private Swinimer, and if possible it would be well to leave them together. Her training officer reports that her progress on the course has been excellent. Her marks on the exams have been high and her group value is good. She would seem to potential Sgt. cook material." Capt. Jean A. Hood
In Toronto, on May 16, 1944, Lt. E. Lawson interviewed Pte. Lewis. "Lewis has requested transfer to her home district at this time. This interviewer feels that she could settle quite happily in MD #2, but that she is asking for a transfer because her friend Swinimer has done so. Lewis qualified with 95% on her course and seems to be sensible and steady in her attitude to her work. This interviewer feels that, if Lewis's transfer does not go through, she would settle down and do a good job in this district."
At No. 10 Admin Unit, CWAC: "Lewis continued to serve as a cook at No. 102 Depot CWAC until October 27, 1944, when she was reposted to No. 10 Adm Unit CWAC. Since arriving at the latter Unit, she has been employed as a general cook in the O/R's kitchen. She was trade tested qualifying as a coook Group "C" and granted trades pay 26 Sept 1944. Lewis is a self-conscious person who is extremely restless and tense during her interview. She enjoys her placement here and likes cooking very much but does not appear to be very well-adjusted herself at present. She states that she had a tonsillectomy last December and is beginning to feel better health now as a result."
Further: "Pte Lewis has served in the same capacity in Halifax for a period of 2 years now and being desirous of a change, has offered to exchange with a cook in Calgary. It has been learned that a CWAC cook presently serving in Calgary is requesting a compassionate reposting to MDG. This girl is a very neat, well-groomed person with a rather self-conscious manner...she gives the impression she would work best independently and enjoy conmpleting any job herself that she began...She was reported by her instructor on the cook's course to be the honour student of the class, a relialbe cook possessing initiative. Her Platoon Officer at present refers to her as an excellent cook...she would be useful in any district."
Florence had her tonsils removed on November 22, 1944 at the Debert Military Hospital and was in hospital for 24 days.
Pte Lewis volunteered for the Pacific Theatre on May 28, 1945.
In October 1945, Pte Eleanor Florence was discharged from the CWAC as she was unable to meet the required Military Physical Standard and given a $100 clothing allowance and rehabilitation grant.
Florence Eleanor Lewis died on July 31, 1946 at the Provincial Sanatorium in Charlottetown, PEI -- of pulmonary tuberculosis. She is buried at the Alberton Baptist Cemetery.
Expenses incurred on account of Funeral and Burial: casket, outercase, embalming, and services: $140.00; pressing of uniform: $0.50; conveying remains from McLean Funeral Home in Charlottetown to Cascompeque United Church for service: 166 miles@ 20c/mile = $33.20; burial, motor hearse and incidental expenses: $25.00. Total: $198.70