She never experienced a firefight, but CWAC (Canadian Women's Army Corps) member Mollie Entwistle certainly endured a form of trial by fire during her wartime career. Entwistle received the British Empire Medal (Military) for her "conspicuous coolness and courage" in rescuing fellow CWACs from danger.
On February 7, 1942, Mollie Entwistle was in charge of a detachment of Canadian Women's Army Corps personnel billeted at the Hotel Windsor in Ottawa. During the early hours of the morning, fire broke out in the hotel. Lance-Corporal Entwistle was ill in bed with a high fever.
Despite her illness, and with little regard for her own safety, she conducted the women under her command to safety. She then went back into the hotel and assisted more people in escaping the fire. She continued this dangerous work until the fire brigade arrived.
Lance-Corporal Entwistle's prompt action on this occasion earned her the British Empire Medal, which was awarded for meritorious service which warranted such a mark of royal appreciation. She was later recommended as a candidate for officer's training, and received her commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on August 1, 1941.
~ By Clare Sharpe, museum staff member