The Russell Family During World War II
"The woman in the front row is wearing the white St. John Ambulance nursing uniform. She would have been a volunteer, providing first aid and nursing support in her community. The two women in the top row are actually members of the Canadian Red Cross Corps (CRCC) - either volunteers or staff! The CRCC was created in WW II and they combined resources with SJA to support the war effort. Thanks for your question and for sharing the wonderful picture." - St. John Ambulance BC/Yukon Facebook page
Throughout World War II, all of the Russell Family participated in the war effort. Robert Russell volunteered his services but was turned down because of his age (59). Please see below for one of two letters transcribed from his handwritten drafts of April 22, 1942 (pdf):
Camp Borden, Ontario
Captain Robert Russell passed away on March 1, 1944. The Powell River News Westview reported:
Last rites for Captain Robert Russell, 63, retired deep sea captain who was apprenticed to the sea on sailing ships at the young age of 17, were conducted by Rev. William Graham in St. John's Union Church this afternoon, following his sudden passing in the local hospital Thursday morning. Remains will be forwarded to Vancouver on tonight's boat for cremation and his ashes will be committed to the sea off Powell River next Monday or Tuesday.
Besides his wife, he is bereaved by one son, Trpr. Ronald Russell, Canadian Army Tank Corps, Camp Borden, who flew from the east and arrived here Wednesday; two daughters, Mrs. John Waugh, who recently returned from Dunnville. Ont., where her husband, a Pilot Officer in the RCAF, is stationed.; Miss Violet "Bunty" Russell, at home; also three brothers and two sisters in the old country.
SERVED ROYAL NAVY
On his retirement in 1929 he came to Canada and directly to Powell River, his family having preceded him to this country by several months. Until a year ago, when ill health forced him to give up working, he was employed as an oiler in the mill. He was admitted to hospital five weeks ago. A member of the Triune Lodge No. 81, A.F. & A.M., Captain Russell was also a life member of Robertson Masonic Lodge, Scotland.
For copies of Continuous Certificate of Discharge October 4, 1901 - April 19, 1904, Certificate of Discharge for S.S. Deptford January 1, 1914, Authority to Wear War Medals for the Mercantile Marine 1920 - 1921, Ship to Ship Marconigram, November 8, 1927, Paterson Steamships Limited Letter of Reference July 10, 1929, Department of National Defence Naval Service Letter, August 7, 1941, and Royal Canadian Air Force Western Air Command Letter April 30, 1942, see Captain Robert Russell.