Westford Women go to War

December 7, 2021 marked the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and The United States officially entered World War II. World War II wasn’t just a man’s war—350,000 American women answered the call and served their country.

Westford Women, in uniform took office and clerical jobs in the armed forces to free men to fight. They served both at home and abroad, volunteering for the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs, later renamed the Women’s Army Corps), the Navy Women’s Reserve (WAVES), the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS), the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), the Army Nurses Corps, and the Navy Nurse Corps. Many Westford Women answered the call and served our country in World War II. Below are just a few.

Westford Academy Graduates that enlisted


Marjorie (Chandler) Coman Anderson
(!923-2015)
Westford Academy Class of 1941
United States Marine Corp.
Marjorie was discharged from the Marines on January 15, 1946. She worked at the New Hampshire Highway Department and later dispatcher for the N.H. State Police. She belonged to Marine Corp Association and was a member of the American Legion #81 for over 35 years.

Charlotte (Cooney) Hagestad
(1924-1987)
Westford Academy Class of 1941
United States Navy (WAVE)
Seaman First Class

 

Mary “Ruth” (Cooney) Doucette
(1920-1988)
Westford Academy Class of 1936
United States Army
WWII Cadet Nursing Corp at St. John Hospital, Lowell, MA

Constance (Dudevoir) Kephart
(1922-2011) 
Westford Academy Class of 1939
United States Navy Reserves
Connie was born in Forge Village Mass. to Charles and Mary Dudevoir, she was one of 9 children. She attended Westford Academy, was a proud Veteran of WWII Navy W.A.V.E Washington D.C.

 


Irene (Dudevior) McCord
(1920-2000)
Westford Academy Class of 1937
Lieutenant, United State Navy Reserves
Irene was born in Forge Village Mass. to Charles and Mary Dudevoir, she was one of 9 children. She attended Westford Academy and was Lieutenant in the Navy during World War II
Victoria (Guolla) Maslin
(1921-2005)
(Westford Academy Class of 1939
United States Army, Women’s Army Corp. 
A Graniteville native, Vicky shocked her Italian immigrant parents when she decided to follow her Army-bound brother and enlisted in the Women’s Army Corp in 1943. She finally broke the new to her parents 2 days after she signed up. Vicky was station in California where she drove trucks, changed tires and transported the sick, injured and prisoners.

 


Edna “Sue” Hanson
(1922-2010)
Westford Academy Class of 1940
United States Army, Army Nurse Corp.
 A lifelong resident of Westford, born in 1922 to Axel and Edna Gagnon Hanson.  Attended Westford Public Schools and trained at the Lowell General School of Nursing.  Served as a nurse in the Women’s Army Corp from 1944 to 1946 in England, the Philippines and Japan and then for 35 years at the Cutler Army Hospital in Fort Devens, MA.  She died in 2010 at age 88 in Westford.

 

Margaret “Peggy” (Kelly) Lacovara
(1920-2005)
Westford Academy Class of 1937
United State Navy (WAVE)
Peggy was the daughter of William and Sarah (Smith Kelly and received her Nursing degree from St. John Hospital in Boston.
Harlene (Knowlton) Laughlin
(1915-1986)
Westford Academy Class of 1933
Class Vice President and Valedictorian
United State Army Nursing Corp
Blanche M. Lewkowicz
(1909-1962)
Westford Academy Class of 1927
United State Army Nursing Corp. (Major)
Major Lewkowicz was a US Army nurse who served in Korea and Japan. She was stationed at Fort Devens.

 

Elizabeth H. (Lord) Dimond
(1923-1985)
Westford Academy Class of 1940
United States Army
Daughter of P. David and Mary Anne (Kelly) Lord of Forge Village, Elizabeth enlisted in the WWII Cadet Nursing Corp while studying at Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, MA.



Virginia (Schill) Beebe
(1925-2009)
Westford Academy Class of 1943
United States Army
Virginia was the daughter of Fred Schill and Marion Hayes. She married Edward Ellsworth Beebe on March 9, 1946 in Westford MA During World War II she was trained and certified as a jeep mechanic.

 

Beatrice (Scott) Farley
(1923-2018)
Westford Academy Class of 1940
United States Marine Corp, Staff Sargent
Scotty grew up with her siblings in the Forge Village.She attended the Cameron Grammar School and was a proud graduate of Westford Academy, Class of 1940. In her youth, Scotty enjoyed swimming and skating on Forge Pond.
In February of 1943 Scotty joined the newly formed Women Marines and became part of the first graduating class. She was a Quarter Master assigned to the Marine Barracks in Norfolk, Virginia where she attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. She served until the end of the war and the base closing in 1945. More of Westford’s first women Marine here


Stella (Wilk) Werdermann
(1921-2006)
Westford Academy Class of 1938
United States Army, Women’s Army Corp.
Stella C. Wilk was the daughter of Stanislaw Wilk and Joanna (Letkiewicz) Wilk. WWII veteran of the Women’s Army Corps. Her name is etched on the Graniteville Monument in Westford MA to honor her service with heroes from the town’s village of Graniteville

Westford Residents that served


June (LaMotte) Armstrong
(1915-2005)
Born in Worcester, Mass, Was a nurse in the Navy.  Met her husband Robert, “Bob” at an Army Navy dance, married in 1942 in San Diego, Moved to Westford about 1948 where they raised their 4 children and were active in town she volunteered on the Westford school committee and as a Girl Scout leader. Continued her nursing career in private practice.

Eileen (McNiff) Crowley
(1908-1976)
Born in Keighley, Yorkshire, England on Christmas Day, 1908. Daughter of John T. and Hannah Emmott McNiff.  She served the Women’s Army Corp in WW II with the rank of TEC5.  Came to Forge Village as a young child and lived there for over 45 years.  Was a member of the Abbot Worsted Company Quarter Century Club and the Forge Village Knickerbocker Club.  Married William Crowley.  Died in Providence R.I. in 1976. 
Bette (Ross) Hook
(1920-2012)
Bette was born in Cheboygen, Michigan in 1920.  She attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a degree in History, Political Science and a minor in Education.  She served as an officer in the Navy from 1943 to 1947 as did her husband Eric.  They came to Westford in 1947 and she taught history at Westford Academy from 1955 to 1976 and was Department Chair for 17 years.  After her retirement she held many positions in Town including Town Clerk and School Committee.  She was also a very active member in the Daughters of the American Revolution(DAR) for over 50 years.
Read More on Bette here

Betty & Roy Hudson
(1926-2011)
Betty (Stringfellow) Hudson was born in 1926 in Manchester, England and joined the British Army at age 16 in 1942.  Her husband Roy Hudson was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1924 and served in the Canadian Army in WW II.  They were both residents of Westford and are buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in town.
Follow link for more on Betty’s life by her daughter, Janice Acquard here
Helen Jennie Lord
(1890-1949)
United States Nurse Corp. (Lt. Commander)
Helen grew up on Pleasant Street in Forge Village. She trained as a nurse at Framingham Union Hospital and graduated in 1915. Helen enlisted 1918 and served both World Wars. Her duties took her all over the country and to many oversee stations. She served as an officer, Lt Commander in the US Navy in WW II. 
Anita Georgiana (Milot) & Viatuer “Vic” Ricard
(1914-1993)
Both were lifelong residents of Forge Village.   Anita was born in Forge Village in 1921.  She served in the US Army in WW II and died in 1997.  She married Viatuer “Vic” Ricard.  Vic served in the US Army Air Corp as a Sargent in WW II, enlisting at Fort Devens in 1943.  Vic died in 2018 at 97 years old.

 

Margaret “Phyliss” Valentine Seddon & George Seddon
(1923-2013)
Phyliss was born in Cambridge Mass in 1923 and served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1946 with the WAVES Hospital Corps as a Hospital Apprentice. First Class caring for wounded soldiers at Bethesda, MD, Chelsea, MA and Quonset Point, R.I.  She and George were married in 1948.  George served as a medic with the 10th Mountain Division and received several medals including the Bronze Star for saving his commander’s life.  Phyliss “DiDi” moved to Westford where they were very active in the community, and especially with the Academy sports program for over 30 years.  Both were inducted into the Westford Academy Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of all their contributions.  Phyliss died in February 2013 and George in December that year.

Margaret Dare Smith
(1902-2014)
Margaret Dare was born in England in 1902 and came to Pond Street in Forge Village in 1908.  She served in the US Army in WW II.  She married Edward J. Smith.  Edward died in 1963 and Margaret died in 1979.  They are buried in St Catherine Cemetery in Westford.
Elizabeth Wells

She was the daughter of Dr. Orion and Mary Morrill Wells and born in Westford in 1908.  She attended Westford schools, Westbrook Jr College and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing.  Prior to joining the US Army she worked at the Westford Osteopathic Hospital.  In the 1930 Federal census she resided at 32 Main Street in Westford.  After WW II she worked at Emerson Hospital in Concord as a supervisory nurse for 14 years.

Margaret “Phyllis” Valentine Seddon
(1923-2013)
U.S. Navy WAVES

more Westford Veteran (Audio) interviews here

WWII Honor Roll  

NameBranch
Anderson, Marjorie (Chandler) ComanMarines
Anson, PaulineArmy
Armstrong, June (LaMotte)Navy
Beebe, Virginia (Schill)Army
Billman, Christine (White)Army
Buckman, Dorothy (Thompson)Army
Burke, Virginia (Hildreth) LaCourse 
Caldwell, Priscilla (Currier)Navy
Carkin, Jessie (Hanning)Air Force
Cavanagh, Leslie 
Costello, Mary (Brown) Navy
Crocker, Anne (Cullum)Navy
Crowley, Eileen (McNiff)Army
Dimond, Elizabeth (Lord)Navy
Doucette, Ruth (Cooney)Navy
Dumont, Thelma (MacDonald)Marines
Farley, Beatrice (Scott)Marines
Foley, SarahArmy
Fortune, Margaret (Lull)Army
Hagestad, Charlotte (Cooney)Navy
Hagstrom, Veronica (Kelly)Navy
Hanson, Edna “Sue”Army
Heroux, Muriel (Gagon)Army
Hook, Bette (Ross)Navy
Hudson, Betty (Stringfellow)Army (British)
Hulslander, Gerta (Berry)Navy
Hulslander, Winifred (McNiff)Army
Kephart, Constance (Dudevior)Navy
Lacovara, Margaret (Kelly)Navy
Laughton, Harlene (Knowlton)Army
Lewkowicz, BlancheArmy
Lord, Helen J.Navy
Maslin, Victoria (Guolla)Army
McCord, Mary (Dudevoir)Navy
Pinnel, Rose (Berretto)Army
Ricard, Anita (Milot)Army
Ricard, Marie A.Army
Ritter, Jennie (Sienkiewicz)Army
Sarris, MaryArmy
Seddon, Margaret (Valentine)Navy
Sleeter, Elaine (Barnes)Navy
Smith, Freda (Kemp)Firefighter (British)
Smith, Margaret (Dare)Army
Tousignant, Winifred (Green)Army
Wells, ElizabethArmy
Werdermann, Stella (Wilk)Army

Women of World War 2 is an on-going research project of Westford Historical Society Volunteers: Ron Johnson, Beth Bellemore and Linda Greene with assistance from Heather Monahan, Westford Veteran Affairs’. If you have any information to add, please email Linda at Director@Museum.Westford.org. Thank you.


2022