Jón Sigurðsson
Chapter IODE

page 1 | page 2





home | back to NIHM website
The Book Of Life
Alphabetical Story Index
Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE

By Dee Dee Westdal

The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter of the IODE was formed in March 1916 and is a Primary Chapter of IODE, a national Canadian women’s service organization which has a membership of about 9,000 women across Canada. The National Chapter of Canada IODE celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year. Originally known as the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire when organized in 1900, a name that is certainly well known as a patriotic Canadian organization, the name was officially changed to IODE in 1978. While supporting projects and activities of the national and provincial bodies of the IODE, the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter has a long list of achievements of its own.

The Chapter was formed largely through the efforts of Mrs. J.B. Skaptason, who had joined a Winnipeg primary chapter at the beginning of World War I, and who saw what a worthwhile contribution women of Icelandic descent could make toward the war effort. The Chapter was named after Jón Sigurðsson, the great Icelandic patriot and statesman. Mrs. Skaptason was the first Regent with a charter membership of 25. This rose to over 150 members at one time. There are now 16 active members who carry on the work of the chapter.

During World War I and World War II members were actively involved in providing comfort and assistance to Canadian service men and women of Icelandic descent. Countless sweaters, mitts and socks were knit and, together with food parcels, were sent to service men and women overseas and prisoners-of-war. As a special project during World War II, the National Chapter IODE collected funds raised by provincial and primary chapters to purchase a Bolingbroke Bomber that was presented to the Canadian Government in 1940. The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter made the largest donation for this project within Manitoba. As a matter of interest, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is currently restoring a “Boly” which will bear the IODE crest on its nosecone.

At the conclusion of World War I, a Home-Coming, arranged by the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter, was held in February 1920 to honour veterans of Icelandic descent who had served in the armed forces.


Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE in 1941
The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE in 1941

On February 18, 1946, a similar Home-Coming Reception was held, jointly sponsored by the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter and the Icelandic Canadian Club, to honour returned service men and women of Icelandic descent who served during World War II.

In 1923, the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter published Minningarrit Íslenzkra Hermanna 1914-1918, a record book of men and women who served during World War I. This monumental work contains pictures and biographies of over 1300 soldiers, sailors, and nursing sisters, covering both the Canadian and American armed forces. In 1990, the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter published the book Veterans of Icelandic Descent, World War II, and in 1993 published the Supplement to Veterans of Icelandic Descent, World War II.

These two publications contain war service records and brief biographical and genealogical sketches for 2,240 men and women who served the Canadian and American armed forces during World War II. Included in the publications are veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict, as well as some veterans of World War I who had not been included in the Minningarrit. To commemorate the Millennium, the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter is currently distributing the remaining copies of our Veterans book. Shirley McCreedy is in charge of the distribution of these books to libraries and educational institutions in Canada, the United States and Iceland.