ACW1 Karen Margrethe Østergaard
(1920 - 2011)
Karen Margrethe Østergaard was one of the women of Danish descent who volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. She served in the Women’s Division in Canada and Newfoundland.
Karen Margrethe Østergaard was born on 27 May 1920 in Bindslev, Denmark, the daughter of farmer Christian ‘Chris’ Christensen Østergaard and Birgitte Marie Østergaard (née Larsen).
The Østergaards emigrated to Canada in 1929 arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, onboard the SS Frederik VIII on 17 March 1929. They settled in Brantford, Ontario. Chris Østergaard worked for Massey Ferguson Ltd. for many years.
Østergaard volunteered for the RCAF Women’s Division on 23 July 1942. She was enlisted for general duties with the rank of Aircraftwoman 2nd Class (W.305171).
The Canadian government had been reluctant to enlist women in the armed services, but this stand had become increasingly difficult to maintain as members of the WAAFs had arrived in Canada from the United Kingdom as part of the rapid expansion due to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCTAP). The Canadian Women’s Auxiliary Air Force was established on 2 July 1941. The CWAAF became an integral part of the RCAF, as RCAF Women’s Division, on 3 February 1942.
The records indicate, that se was posted to “2 SF” on 29 August 1942. It is presumed that this was 2 SFTS at RCAF Station Uplands in Ottawa, Ontario. She was promoted to Aircraftwoman 1st Class on 30 October 1942 and to Leading Aircraftwoman on 30 January 1943.
On 21 August 1943, she was posted to 1 "Y" Depot in Halifax on her way to Newfoundland where she arrives on 1 September 1943. She was posted to RCAF Eastern Air Command on 7 May 1944 and, at the same time, re-mustered to telephone operator with the rank of Aircraftwoman 1st Class. She was discharged on 14 August 1944.
Østergaard was awarded the King Christian X’s Medal for Participation in the War 1940-45 in Denmark after the war.
 DNA: Parish register, Bindslev sogn.
 Ancestry: Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935.
 Obituary, The Expositor, 2 Feb. 1989, p. 25.
 March, William. RCAF (Women's Division) - The Canadian Encyclopaedia, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/rcaf-womens-division (retrieved on 18 April 2020).
 DHH: Fonds 76/10: Ostergaard, Karen Margrethe.
 Frihedsmuseets database over søfolk og soldater i allieret tjeneste, 1939-45, http://allieret.natmus.dk/person.aspx?84561 (accessed on 2 January 2021).