The Military Museums

Sheilah and Webster Macdonald

Sheilah became an officer with the Women's Royal Naval Service in 1943 and was posted to bases in Canada during World War II. Webster Macdonald joined the Sea Cadets in 1942 and was commissioned as a Naval officer in 1943.

Sheilah and Webster Macdonald

Sheilah became an officer with the Women's Royal Naval Service in 1943 and was posted to bases in Canada during World War II. Webster Macdonald joined the Sea Cadets in 1942 and was commissioned as a Naval officer in 1943.

Sheilah and Webster Macdonald

Sheilah Scott Macdonald

Sheilah was born in Winnipeg Manitoba, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Florence and one of six children. She attended Rupertsland Ladies College and Kelvin schools. In 1942 she joined the Navy – one of sixty-seven women chosen from all across Canada, to form the nucleus of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, to go to Ottawa for training at Kingsmill House.

HMCS Conestoga Galt Ontario was opened as the first official establishment for training Wrens. There I was in charge of the clothing store as a leading Wren. On the occasion of the official opening of this barracks, Princess Alice, wife of the Governor General was to take the salute and inspect in the barracks. When she came to the clothing store, it was suggested that she be issued overshoes, as it was snowing.


She sat on a small metal chair, while I attempted to put on the boots. I pushed, she pushed, over went the chair, and she was rescued by the surrounding senior officers from Ottawa, I fled!

In 1943, I went up to Ottawa to receive my commission to become an officer at Government House from Princess Alice, the Honorary Commandant of the RCNS. When I was presented she looked at me and said with a smile and a wink, "You and I have met before, under rather close circumstances."

Quarter Officer Postings
HMCS Kings, Halifax, NS
HMCS Conestoga, Galt Ontario
HMCS Preston, Preston, Ontario
HMCS York, Toronto, Ontario
HMCS Cord, Toronto, Ontario
HMCS NOIC, Toronto, Ontario

In January 1944, I met Lieutenant Webster MacDonald. We were married in Winnipeg on October 7, 1944. Webster went overseas in January 1944 and came back in time for the birth of our first son in Kentville NS, where three more sons were born. Webster continued his practice of law.

In 1957 the family moved to Calgary in time for the birth of our fifth son and a growing practice of law for Webster. During this time we were privilege to be able to travel. Our travels took us all over the world, visiting exciting places and meeting interesting people. In 1988, it was time to retire and Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands, was our haven; where we spent the happiest days of our lives.

Alan Webster Macdonald

Webster was born in Kentville Nova Scotia, the eldest son of Alan T. and Nora Macdonald. After graduating from King’s County Academy in Kentville, he moved on to Halifax where he graduated with Honours in Arts from Kings College. He then obtained a law degree from Dalhousie University. While at school he was both an accomplished sportsman and a budding journalist.

In Halifax, he joined the sea cadets in 1942 and was commissioned as an officer at HMCS Stadacona in 1943. In 1944 he had the great good fortune to meet Lieutenant Sheilah Scott Florance at HMCS York in Toronto where she was serving as quarter’s officer. They married on October 7, 1994. In March of 1945 he went overseas serving as a gunnery officer in Niobe Scotland. In November 1945 he returned to his wife and newborn son and commenced the practice of law.

In 1957 with his wife and four and one half children he moved to Calgary Alberta which was home until 1988 when the two naval officers decided it was time to pursue their dream of returning to the sea and moved west yet again, taking up residence on Salt Spring Island.

This was their place of enchantment, home to themselves, their children and seven grandchildren, until Webster’s untimely demise in August of 1995. The naval years were unforgettable for the two of them and the experiences and friends enjoyed at times were a fond topic of memory and conversation throughout their lives.

Sponsored by the Macdonald family in honour of Lieutenants Sheilah (1920 - ) and Webster Macdonald (1918 - 1994)

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