Each year we pause on this day to remember all those who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces; the army, navy, air force, merchant marine and those who were killed in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and in peacekeeping operations since this time.
Remembrance Day is not only about mourning and honouring our dead, it is a time to say thank-you to all of those who serve and have served Canada with distinction. This includes all those who were at home who supported our troops overseas and kept business and industry going to support the war effort.
As it relates to our group and our industry, women in mining had a significant role in the war effort, particularly in Canada. During the war years from 1939 to 1945, the International Nickel Co. of Canada and its employees in Sudbury (the mine operations) and Port Colborne (the refinery operations) supplied 95% of all Allied demands for nickel, which was a vital raw material critical for the Allies’ final victory. Nickel’s qualities of hardness, resistance to corrosion and strength made it a key metal in battleships, planes, tanks, and other war equipment.
Women were key to supporting the war effort. As men were leaving the mining operations to serve their country, women stepped in to maintain production levels. In 1942 for the first time, the federal government allowed women to be employed in surface operations in Sudbury and at the nickel refinery in Port Colborne.
In 1946, RL Beattie, the Vice President of International Nickel said that, “Production of nickel and copper in sufficient quantities to assure an Allied victory would have been impossible had the women not stepped into the employment breach in 1942, when labour was critically short, and the need for our products on the battlefronts steadily increasing.”
WIM Toronto would to honour these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for Canada and the world so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.