When all the men her age were enlisting, Anne McNamara knew she wanted to do her part. Determined not to be left behind, she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 as part of the Entertainment Unit. Meanwhile, her future husband, Howard, was serving as a pilot in the North African and Italian Campaigns, attacking German targets and escorting Allied bombers. The pair are featured on this year’s Veterans’ Week poster, as we commemorate the end of the Second World War.
Anne McNamara was born on 4 November 1922 in Montreal, Quebec. As young men were enlisting and leaving for overseas, Anne (then Anne Goode) decided to enlist too because she “did not want to be left behind”.
Anne, joined eight other dancers, along with a band, to form a variety show. Roughly 30 people worked together to bring the show to military bases across Canada, the United States and overseas. They travelled regularly and moved from Allied base to base, performing almost every night. One of their first trips was to Washington, D.C. where they performed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“The hall was filled [at the hospital], it was really, really an entertaining show,” Anne says.
Her future husband, Howard McNamara was born on 9 January 1920 in Montreal, Quebec. In 1940, he and his younger brother tried to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
His brother James Emmett was successful and able to enlist right away; however, Howard was told that he didn’t weigh enough and would need…