June 29, 1919 - September 30, 1944
Rhoda Elizabeth McKenzie, born in Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland, was the daughter of Roderick and Elizabeth McKenzie. Rhoda had two sisters: Mrs. Gordon Dow and Isobel McKenzie. The family was Presbyterian.
The McKenzie family immigrated to Canada in 1925, living in Alberta for almost 12 years. Rhoda completed Grade 9 in a rural school in Alberta when she was 17 because she had been out of school for 1 1/2 years helping out at home before completing Grade 7. She could not continue schooling because of finances but would have liked to have taken a Commercial Course. Mr. and Mrs McKenzie, with Rhoda and Isobel moved to British Columbia. Their other daughter married Gordon Dow and remained in Alberta. In Vancouver, Rhoda worked as a waitress, a housemaid for three years, then worked at at Pacific Veneer (aircraft work) as a drier for three months prior to enlistment which was in March 1942. (Mr. McKenzie worked in Prince Rupert as a carpenter at the time of Rhoda's enlistment. Mrs. McKenzie resided in New Westminster.) In 1935, Rhoda had treatment for goitre consisting of iodine by mouth.
Rhoda stood 5' 3" tall, and weighed 126 pounds. She had a fair complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, with a burn scar on her right foot. She liked to read Zane Grey books, was not fond of sports, but played the piano and violin. She felt she was best qualified as a Mess Woman with the CWAC. "I feel that the training I have had in doing general housework will help me in the appointment for which I now apply."
Pte McKenzie worked in Return Stores, Ordnance, Vancouver for 8 months. She was very anxious to go overseas with the CWAC. She took an evening course in Wireless Telegraphy at Vancouver Barracks for three months and wanted to do that type of work. She sent her mother $14/month.
On September 3, 1942, Pte McKenzie had sore eyes because of doing much close work. She did not have headaches, but her eyes were inflamed.
On December 26, 1942, Pte McKenzie was admitted to hospital in Vancouver, then discharged five days later. Complaint: sore on left buttock. On December 21, she had been climbing down off some boxes and fell on the floor onto her buttocks. "She was able to get up and return to work. She kept on working till December 23 when she reported sick. The doctor gave her some pills to take -- relieved the pain for a short time. On December 25, the bruise broke and quite a lot of blood escaped, relieving the pain a great deal. No family of TB, heart disease or diabetes." By December 31, she was feeling well and the infected haematoma had cleared up.
On July 3, 1943: "At present is on draft and awaiting despatch at No. 1 CWAC (A) TC. "M" Test score is considerably above the average range of CWAC scores and very slightly above the tentative minimum level set for CWAC Officer candidates. Should be observed with a view to promotion if her work performance and adjustment generally are compatible with her "M" test score."
In October 1943,she was admitted to No. 8 General Hospital in Aldershott, England on October 7, 1943 until November 3, 1943, discharged November 15, 1943. "Last mentrual period July 29, 1943. For the past three weeks has had a pain in her right side which is more or less constant. General physical examination is essentially negative. Urine negative. Uterus soft, forward, freely moveable, and size of three months pregnancy. Adenexa negative. Ascheim-Zondek preganacy test October 10, 1943 was positive. Blood Kahn October 9, negative." She was sent back to Canada for natal and post-natal care but first was to be brought before a medical board. "The Medical Board is of the opinion that Pte McKenzie should return to Canada to have her baby and remain there. Requires pre-natal care and delivery at term."
On October 30, 1943, three individuals from No. 8 General Hospital were noted as being medically examined and reclassified including Pte McKenzie, No. 1 Static Base Laundry, with diagnosis: Normal intra-uterine pregnancy. A/Sgt J. M. Griffiths was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (far advanced) and Pte. G. L. Harvey, also of No. 1 Static Base Laundry, diagnosis: normal preganacy. They would have been transported to a ship travelled to Halifax, then taken a train to a hospital near their home.
Rhoda was at the Shaughnessey Military Hospital, Vancouver, by November 27, 1943. On November 30, 1943: "Returned from overseas on account of pregnancy. Physical examination: healthy. Normal." On December 3, 1943: "Interviewed prior to Discharge. McKenzie went overseas in July 1943 and was posted to No. 1 Static Base Laundry as Quarter Master storewoman and mail clerk. She enjoyed her work there and left to return to Canada November 16, 1943. McKenzie would like to re-enlist later. M score and education would suggest some form of training for rehabilitation as this girl is not going home and will be entirely on her own." No mention of the father of her child nor the baby was made in her files.
Pte Rhoda McKenzie served in Canada from March 13 1942 until July 20, 1943, then was in England from July 21, 1942 until November 15, 1943. Pte McKenzie was discharged on January 27, 1944 as being unable to meet the required military physical standards. She was given a clothing allowance of $65.00, a quarterly allowance of 90c and a rehabilitation grant of 30 days pay off rank. She had been earning $1.20/day.
On September 30, 1944, Rhoda Elizabeth McKenzie died of pulmonary tuberculosis, pleurisy and tbc enteritis at the Vancouver General Hospital. She was buried at the New Westminster (Fraser) Cemetery. Her death was deemed to be related to military service.