#100DaysofVimy – February 1, 2017

Each Wednesday we will highlight the women of the First World War.
Today: Charlotte Susan Wood – Canada’s First Silver Cross Mother.

In 1919, the Memorial Cross was created to be given to the mother or widow of Canadians who had died during the war. In the years following, the Royal Canadian Legion began to annually appoint a Memorial Cross recipient who was to lay a wreath at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa, on behalf of all mothers. Those chosen became known as the Silver Cross Mother. Charlotte Susan Wood became Canada’s first Silver Cross Mother in 1936 when she laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. Seven of Mrs. Wood’s sons and stepsons served in the First World War and two had been killed in action.

At the unveiling of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Mrs. Wood said to King Edward VIII, “I have just been looking at the trenches and I just can’t figure out why our boys had to go through that.” The King replied, “Please God, Mrs. Wood. It shall never happen again.”

Canada's first Silver Cross Mother, Charlotte Susan Wood, at the unveiling of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Her Memorial Cross can be seen on the far left in the middle row of medals pinned to her chest.  Credit: Canadian Government. Motion Pict. Bureau/National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque/National Archives of_Canada/PA-148875
Canada’s first Silver Cross Mother, Charlotte Susan Wood, at the unveiling of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Her Memorial Cross can be seen on the far left in the middle row of medals pinned to her chest.
Credit: Canadian Government. Motion Pict. Bureau/National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque/National Archives of_Canada/PA-148875