Remembrance: Life in Richmond during the Second World War

Labour was short, supplies were rationed, women took over male-dominated jobs and school enrolment dropped suddenly with the loss of Japanese students.

This was just some of the impact on life in Richmond during the Second World War as the township began a full-scale war effort that would continue for the next five years.

As more and more men left employment for the military, women and young boys took over the vacant jobs. Women were trained to assemble aircraft at the Boeing Plant on Sea Island.

But Richmonds problems with labour shortages werent entirely due to military service. In April 1942, more than 2,000 Japanese-Canadians were sent out of the city to internment camps, following Japans attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

This meant Japanese students were pulled out of Richmond schools and, overnight, enrolment dropped drastically. Lord Byng elementary went from 500 students to 137 and a school built for children of cannery workers on Sea Island was shut down.

Beginning in 1943, on orders from the federal government, men between the ages of 16 to 40 had to register at employment offices and be available for transfer from their current jobs to ones deemed high priority during wartime, including military, production or maintenance of services.

In the fishing industry, workers often had to be imported to try to fill the void left behind after the forced exodus of Stevestons Japanese fishers, whose boats and property had been confiscated.

Rationing was commonplace, a....

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