Major Marguerite Downes – Canada
Major Downes’ military career commenced when she joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in 1955. In 1956 she moved to the Toronto Reserves and was awarded the rank of Lieutenant of the Highland Creek Cadet Corps. Later on, she became deputy commanding officer, head of evaluations, goal-setting, and discipline enforcement; she also advised officers about personal and professional development.
Major Downes was appointed aide-de-camp in 1980; she liaised with organizers on concerns of protocol and ceremony; she also worked a succession of five lieutenant-governors in Ontario. In 1988, Major Downes became the first African-Canadian woman affiliated with the Royal Canadian Military Institute. Major Downes worked part-time as a registered nurse servicing mostly the elderly and dejected. Major Downes died in 2009 from respiratory failure.