Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations again had a significant representation in the army, navy air force and Merchant Marine.
From 1939 until 1945, over 6000 men and women of Brant County joined the armed forces. Over 300 never returned.
The first unit from the 54th Battery at the Brantford Armoury arrived in England before the end of 1939, the only local unit to land overseas as a separate entity. The 69th Battery was mobilized in May-1940 and the Dufferin & Haldimand Rifles in July.
In 1940, No. 20, Canadian Army Basic Training Camp, was established in Brantford. As of 1942, the Canadian Women’s Army Corps were also stationed here. In April-1940 the federal government announced the establishment of No. 5, Service Flying Training School, as a part of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the site of the present Brantford Airport. In January-1942 the Canadian Women’s Air Force joined the men at No.5 school. The school graduated over 2,000 pilots in four years of operation.
The government decided to name destroyers after Canadian rivers and Corvettes after Canadian cities and towns. On 6-September-1941 HMCS Brantford was launched in Midland, Ontario. Local organizations supplied the ship with knitted articles, books, records, and a loud speaker system. HMCS Brantford began her service as an escort ship and ended the war as a training ship.
The museum also recognizes the bravery and gallant efforts of the 12,000 men and women who served in Canada’s Merchant Navy during the Second World War. The Merchant Navy which helped keep the flow of supplies moving from North America to Europe during the Second World War and without this vital lifeline, the conflict could not have been won. Sailors crossed the perilous waters of the North Atlantic for almost six years in the face of the threat posed by the Germans. It was dangerous duty and more than 1,600 Canadian and Newfoundlander merchant sailors (or sailors who served on ships of Canadian or Newfoundland registry) lost their lives in the effort.
The museum not only honours all branches of the military who served overseas but also the invaluable contributions of the men and women on The Home Front in our community.