August 11, 1915 - September 19, 1944
Thelma Florence Passant was born in Boksburg, Transvaal, South Africa on August 11, 1915. (Her parents filled out the Estates form with the date of 1913.) She was the daughter of Walter Thomas and Ethel Mary Passant, Burlington, Ontario. Thelma had two brothers: Walter Clifton and Basil Norman, a Flying Officer in the RCAF. Basil became a prisoner of war. The family was Roman Catholic.
Thelma had two years of high school in Burlington, Ontario and then two years of commercial school, finishing Grade XII. She took a home economics course for three months and took night school for a 'brush up' course for three more months. In 1940, she had an appendectomy.
On her PERSONNEL SELECTION RECORD dated December 9, 1942: "Worked in a chick-hatchery with friends, doing some clerical work in the office, 2 years. Employed in rural post office, 4 years. Switchboard operator, purchase invoice checker and distributor, gasoline reports, Carter's Limited, Hamilton, 1 1/2 years. Enlisted in Hamilton, attested Toronto 4/11/42. Filing clerk in recruiting office until coming to Kitchener, Ontario for basic training. OTHER PERSONAL HISTORY AND APPRAISAL: Weight 104 pounds. Height 5 1/4 feet. Health: 'Good.' This girl has brown hair and eyes, freckles, pleasant appearance and manner. Born in Boksburg, South Africa. Came to Canada at 7 years of age. Is 2nd in family of three. Younger brother is a pilot officer, instructor in RCAF; other brother drives for Roman Catholic Bishop in Hamilton and is training with the Reserves. Parents are living -- father is carpenter. Was at one time superintendent of a mine in South Africa, was in ill-health and was ordered to travel. Hence family eventually settled in Canada. Home is at present in Burlington, Ontario. Mother is active in community affairs. Girls speaks quite brightly of her family life. Knits, sews, sketches and enjoys carving figures, also collects these. Was choir leader in music club, plays piano and violin -- had lessons in these at one time, but now plays by ear. Also took toe-dancing lessons. Enjoys all sports, was member of YWCA and on baseball team at school. Reads Zane Gray, Kathleen Norris, Reader's Digest, and women's magazines. Was signal-sergeant in the WADC before enlisting and particularly enjoyed this work. Movies once a week, dancing occasionally. She is an intelligent, energetic person with many interests, and a mature attitude. Appears to think constructively, likes to be busy and evidently derives considerable satisfaction from her activities. Her ability is superior in relation to the basic training group. Enlisted as a wireless operator. Has had basic course and owns small wireless set on which she has practiced at home in preparation for further training. Possesses the educational background, emotional stability, ability and motivation for this work. RECOMMENDATIONS: Suitable for 1. Trade Training, Operator W&L 2. Postal Sorter, in view of education and experience." Lt. Margaret G. LeBas
Thelma enlisted in Toronto on November 4, 1942. She was an Operator Switchboard "B" and by August 24, 1943, a Cipher Operator "C" Group coding and decoding military correspondence.
Training and Postings:
She earned $0.95/day by February 4, 1943, $1.20/day by July 1, 1943 and $1.25/day by August 14, 1944.
On July 31, 1944, Cpl Passant was admitted to hospital.
On September 19, 1944, Thelma Florence Passant died at Chorley Park Military Hospital with her parents in attendance. She died of a cerebral haemhorrage, aplastic anemia (a rare and serious blood disorder). Thelma was buried at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Hamilton, Ontario.
In Cpl Thelma Passant's list of personal belongings: clothing, knitting needles, a clock, a radio, a watch, cosmetics, toiletries, glasses, wallet, a silver ring, photographs, smelling salts, a rosary, a writing pad and case.
On December 16, 1944, Mrs. Passant wrote a letter to C. G. Stevenson, For Director of Estates. "Dear Sir. I have just received my daughter's personal belongings in two cartons, and I am very disappointed at finding the way things were returned to me. First, the leather bag had been broken open and one half of the zipper has gone, the key of the bag was in a small box, so there was no reason for it to be broken open like that. This bag was in perfect condition when my daughter had it in her possession and I cannot find my daughter's wrist watch and ring that she was wearing when she died. Also her wallet was not returned, and a photo of her brother in the RCAF which she had at the hospital. Will you kindly look into this matter, as soon as possible, and let me know whatyou intend doing. Yours faitfully, Mrs. Passant, Mother."