View Full Version : The Bren Gun Girl ....
12-22-2009, 07:30 AM
Veronica Foster (popularly known as “Ronnie, the Bren Gun Girl“) was the Canadian equivalent of the American cultural icon Rosie the Riveter, representing nearly one million Canadian women who worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and materiel during World War II. Foster worked for John Inglis Co. Ltd producing Bren light machine guns on a production line on Strachan Avenue in Toronto, Ontario.
She became popular after a series of propaganda posters were produced; most images featured her working for the war effort, but others depicted more casual settings like Foster dancing the jitterbug or attending a dinner party.
(Click PICS to Enlarge)
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The Bren Gun Girl (click here) (http://www.kox.sk/?p=3961)
01-02-2010, 01:42 AM
Thanks Badger. Never heard of her. I wonder if she's still alive and if she has an opinion about Canadian Gun Control and the Long Gun Registry fiasco?
Might give Wendy C. a stroke - women making guns! :eek:
01-02-2010, 06:26 AM
Top notch idea you have there Dastier.Get a few pics of the little Blonde with the MkII STEN at Long Branch too and yet another of a Female War Worker waving a PRISTINE No4MkI at Long Branch as well.
Wendy will have CONIPTIONS !!
01-02-2010, 07:55 AM
And thats my Bren gun.
01-03-2010, 11:24 PM
The Veronica Foster story was quite interesting to me and I did some research a while ago trying to track her down (tools of my trade)
I ended up getting in touch with her Niece and then who in turn got my in contact with her daughter Laura Markey.
We chatted for a while and she emailed me some pics of her mother.
Unfortunetly Veronica Foster (Guerrette) died in 2000. Once she left Inglis after the war, she worked as a model
then finally ended up as the lead singer in a big band by the name of the Mart Kenny Band.
She ended up marrying the trombone player George Guerrette. Both stayed in the music industry for some time before retiring.
They ended up having 7 kids if I remember right.
Heres a pic of her in 1960
They had a family website setup somewhere but my hardrive pooched out on me and I lost alot of the info. I still have her email address though and if you have any further questions let me know and I can contact her for you.
01-04-2010, 12:19 AM
Interesting history! And a pretty girl.
01-04-2010, 05:08 AM
VERY interesing article MrC. I did something similar about 5 years ago. The Mini Cooper S had a macho racing and rallying image throughout its life and as a result, only 1 female ever featured in any of the advertising brochures and that was in 1965/67 or so. I set about finding her. The old BMC as was and their advertising agents had gone down the pan by then. To cut a long and interesting story short, I put an article in one of the UK National papers. After a long time, with a few good leads AND her name now known (that came from Sandra Howard - another famous model of the era) I had everything except HER if you'll excuse the phrase.......
She eventually came forward and we feted her at Britains largest Mini Cooper festival.
Well don MrC
01-04-2010, 03:16 PM
Heres some more war time pics of her, most can be found in the canada archive site that BD posted.
I posted alot of them here INGLIS FACTORY Photo Gallery by mrclark at pbase.com (http://www.pbase.com/mrclark/inglis_factory_) at my site as well pics of the remants of Inglis after I visited it a few times during is destruction. Dont get me started on how our government feels about the preservation of our history.
Anyhow the only thing I know of that is left is the records room which was part of the prison and because of its age had to be kept. AR williams is part of the condo sales office and has been gutted and fitted with strobes and other tackiness. I wonder if they knew there was a gallows there back when it was part of a prison.
The rest is just condo's and parking.
11-30-2010, 01:58 PM
Very interesting & informative in a Paralell way along side our interest in the Bren.
She is indeed, a VERY Pretty girl. No wonder they had 7 Children!!................ KIds,.....well, me...I just enjoy 'Practicing'!.......LOL!
03-27-2011, 07:55 PM
Yep that girl was difinetely a credit to Canada both in looks and in her job making those fine guns! I have a Canadian 8 as well as an English 303. The 8s are rare in the states. Some years back I stupidly passed on acquiring a L4A2 I've not heard of another registered one in the US. It was a mere 4Gs about18-20 yrs back. Speaking of Canadian gun law excesses then they have the nerve to advitise in the US for us to come up and hunt there? NO WAY ! Things will change when the political refugees take control.
10-07-2011, 11:31 AM
Rosie the Riveter beware!27365 The Long Branch SAL reply to Ronnie Lake. Photo credit of Archives Canada.
10-08-2011, 10:12 AM
They are Harmless girlies! No Mags in the Weapons & the mag housings are turned dowm. = Guns Empty!
They would probably do more damage to you witht thier Handbags!.......:D
02-22-2012, 02:55 AM
She'd be a safety hazard on the shop floor.:D Glad she left her genes behind for posterity. Doesn't really look like she needed Gloria Steinem to "liberate" her either somehow!
Son of Ronnie
09-30-2012, 03:46 PM
Hi there. I'm Veronica's -- "Ronnie's" -- youngest son. Thought I would register to correct a couple of things.
While you live with a person such as my mother you tend to either take for granted the things she did or, as youth and inexperience misguides you, dismiss these accomplishments made so long ago with a "Whatever". As you get older, however, and her life events seem to influence others such as you people here and many elsewhere, the significance increases in your mind.
After working in the factory lathing out Bren guns she sang with some of Canada's most popular big bands (and remember, big band swing was the pop music of the day). She met her husband, a trombone player, in one of the bands. While my mom was beautiful, talented AND had an offer to join the famous American big band leader, Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra, she -- unbelievably -- turned her back on her career and its potential around 1947 to move to my dad's hometown of Edmundston New Brunswick to start a family. She gave birth to 5 kids, not 7.
Her husband died in 1963 (I was the youngest at 2 1/2) and she moved us all back to Toronto, providing for us all by herself through the ensuing years with a successful career in sales (mostly real estate and condos). I consider her to be at the vanguard of women's lib in the 1960's, not because she felt it was a cause to "fight for" but simply by her need to earn money via sales; an industry that was still male-dominated at that time. She was brave, wily and knew how to sell. "I don't sell homes", she used to say, "I sell dreams".
My mom had a wicked, silly sense of humour. Man, she loved to crack up! She also loathed the notion of retirement and, when she finally surrendered to it, she did not take to it well at all.
During the war, she was like any typical woman of her time, doing her part in the war effort against Hitler's pure evil (and earning about 40¢ an hour -- it was a job). The government searched the factories of Canada, looking for someone TO BECOME an icon of inspiration for women to get into the factories. They picked her. So, her image as Ronnie The Bren Gun Girl should not be confused with her having any opinions one way or the other regarding gun control. As best as I can recall she never voiced any criticism of gun control and, FWIW, was a Liberal party supporter all her life.
Contrary to common belief, perhaps typical of American's thinking "We're #1" and Canadians believing we live in their shadow all the time, Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl PREDATES Rosie The Riveter by several months. Plus, Ronnie was a real person, whereas Rosie, while inspired by a couple of USA factory war workers, was a concocted image. My mom was The Real Deal :)
I'm extremely proud of my mom, but not because she happened to be pretty enough to catch the producers of this national propaganda campaign's eyes. I am proud of her because yes, she was beautiful, but also a fantastic singer (her voice held up into the 1980's) and a person with extreme drive and courage to raise us without her husband (she never remarried, btw). When I look at her life of being pushed to national prominence as Ronnie, displaying great talent as a singer, refusing an offer of a career in the United States with a HUGE band leader because she loved her husband and dutifully (for the time) became a homemaker and mother in a small city that was "out of the action", then her husband dying and she never leaving us or giving us but instead provided for us as best as she could despite her dream-come-true life with her love being destroyed by his death (lung cancer)...her facing the challenges of her life alone are what makes me proud of her -- and thankful that I am part of her legacy. I know, however, that she lived with deep emotional pain after my dad's death. Who wouldn't, considering her deep love for him and all the things she sacrificed to be with him?
Thanks for reading :)
09-30-2012, 04:13 PM
Well said Son of Ronnie. I believe we are all proud of her contributions both as a motivator and icon during wartime as well as her steadfast purpose to provide a family with the best that she could offer; you are proof of that success! Thank you for sharing the update.
09-30-2012, 05:35 PM
Here Here Sarge..............
09-30-2012, 07:47 PM
Thanks Son Of Ronnie, That was an awesome read. You should be proud of her and spread the news. She sounds like she was a Great woman and a even Greater Mom.
P.S. Does your sister look like her!!!! Just kidding! NOT }8)
09-30-2012, 07:59 PM
I agree, nice to hear from "Son of Ronnie"
It was a nice day for the open house, very cool seeing the Sherman, jeep displays outside the remaining bldg. and the displays inside.
I will put some pics in shortly.
I was referring to the Long Branch Open House Sep 29/12, will put the pics in that thread.
Son of Ronnie
09-30-2012, 08:30 PM
Thank you for your welcome!
No, my sisters no longer look like my mom did in those days. I'm er, "twice the man I used to be", myself!
Yes, the Long Branch open house was great! Attached is a pic of myself holding a genuine Bren gun at a little display for my mom at the open house. Heh. maybe my mom actually worked on the very gun I'm holding??
09-30-2012, 09:16 PM
I regret missing your "display", must have been outside talking to the re-enactors/collectors at the time.
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