The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) launched Women of Conspicuous Courage in the lead up to International Women’s Day this year. It is a digital celebration of some of the courageous women who served during World War II. Hand-selected as one of five women from around the world, nursing Sister Agnes Wightman Wilkie was honoured for her nursing skill and leadership within the Royal Canadian Navy.
Born in Oak Bluff, Manitoba in 1904, Wilkie built a successful career as an operating room supervisor at the Misericordia General Hospital in Winnipeg before volunteering to join the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942. Tragically, while returning to Canada from the HMCS Avalon naval base in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Wilkie’s convoy was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Wilkie perished at sea and was buried with full naval honours in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in St. John’s.
“Agnes’ story reflects the courageous and heroic effort of Canadian women who gave their lives throughout World War II.” said David Loveridge, Area Director for Canada and the Americas. “As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is important to honour and commemorate the many women who served their country and are honoured by the Commission today for their selfless courage. In Canada, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for the memory of nearly 20,000 men and women who died in the World Wars. By visiting their graves and memorials to pay respect you can help us ensure their sacrifice never goes forgotten.”