Willa Walker blazed the trail for RCAF airwomen

A woman wearing a military uniform and peaked hat sits behind a desk.
Formerly commanding officer of No. 7 Manning Depot, in Rockcliffe, near Ottawa, Ontario, Squadron Officer Willa Walker takes on her new posting as senior RCAF Women's Division Staff Officer at Air Force Headquarters, in Ottawa, on March 6, 1943. PHOTO: DND Archives, PL-13401

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In honour of International Women’s Day, March 8, we bring you the story of Willa Walker, who blazed a trail for women in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

Wilhelmina Magee was born in Montreal on April 3, 1913, one of four children of bank president Allan Magee and the former Madeline Smith of Saint John, New Brunswick. The Magees lived in Montreal, but the children enjoyed spending summers at the Smith family’s rental cottage in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.

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