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Profile 3 - Beatrice Corbett

.By Ann-Maureen Owens with photography by Randy deKleine-Stimpson

Beatrice Margaret Grant Corbett is an extraordinary woman! There is a chapter about her in Sherry Pringle’s 2015 book, Extraordinary Women Extraordinary Times: Canadian Women of World War II. She also recently received the Bletchley Park Award from the British government, including a medal and a certificate signed by Prime Minister Theresa May, for her role in military intelligence during that war monitoring Japanese codes and ship locations from Canada’s west coast. Bea remains an articulate and warm advocate for the women, like herself, “Who Also Served” as inscribed on her new medal.

When she turned 21, Bea decided to fast-track her Queen’s University undergraduate studies with summer courses to be able to join the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS or WRENS) and contribute to Canada’s war effort. The year was 1943, a turning point in the war. Bea was able to finish her courses in English and philosophy and join up in March 1944. “I was a WREN for only 18 months — women were automatically discharged at the end of the war — but it has coloured my whole life,” Bea reflects. . . .

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