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ejwalshe

Canadian Nursing Sisters, 1916 - 1919

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ejwalshe

 

Nursing Sisters of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916 - 1919. More than 2,800 Canadian Nursing Sisters served with same pay, privileges and rank of a Lieutenant, while the equivalent of a Matron was a Captain. They were nicknamed 'Bluebirds', because of their blue uniforms and white veils, but they were 'Angels of Mercy' to thousands of Canada’s Fallen. 39 Nursing Sisters lost their lives on the Western Front during the Great War due to illness, drowning, and/or enemy action.

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rayhannan

My wife's great uncle died while having treatment at 1 Canadian General Hospital n France. A few days after his death the following letter was printed in the Chester Chronicle (a local paper in England):

 

The following letter has been received from the hospital.

To Miss Nancy Jones, Chester

Dear Miss Jones,

I am writing to tell you news of your brother George. He was my patient and as I was sister-in-charge of the ward. I was with him when he died. As I took care of him and was with him a great deal, I thought you would like me to tell you about him.

We had hopes of him, as he went along nicely for ten days, though we realised from the beginning he was a very serious case. The bullet went in his mouth and through his neck. In the middle of the night March 30 he had a terrible haemorrhage from the wound; then he seemed to pick up for four days. Then, following another large haemorrhage, and again a third one next night (Wednesday). So then we took him to the operating room to see if it could be stitched up. We found a great slit in the jugular vein. He lived just six hours after that, and then just slept away, a most beautiful and peaceful death. He did look so lovely in death. He was a very nice patient, so bright and cheerful always and was always so grateful to the sisters waiting on him. I know it is a comfort to you to know everything was done for him possible.

Sister M E Price, No 1 Canadian Hospital

I have no knowledge of who Sister Price was but she obviously was a caring individual but  don't know how she would have had the time to write a letter, or why she would have written it. I wish I could find out more about her to recognise the work she did. Thank you from us both.

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Marilyne

Great pictures !!

 

M.

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lizbet
On 17/11/2019 at 14:48, alf mcm said:

The nurse is Marion Ethel Price. Her service records can be downloaded here for free https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=286026   {Click on the blue text in the middle of the page - it may take some time}.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

 

 

A great source for all the Canadian nurses who served overseas in WWI is the Lives of the First World War website. Marion's record is there although not well developed. https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/5762336. However many of the "Lives" have far greater detail , particularly those that took advantage of https://cgwp.uvic.ca/search.php?rnk=Nursing Sister&col=nam,pob,dob,hsc,dod,doe,rgm,rnk

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lizbet
On 04/09/2019 at 19:58, ejwalshe said:

 

Nursing Sisters of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916 - 1919. More than 2,800 Canadian Nursing Sisters served with same pay, privileges and rank of a Lieutenant, while the equivalent of a Matron was a Captain. They were nicknamed 'Bluebirds', because of their blue uniforms and white veils, but they were 'Angels of Mercy' to thousands of Canada’s Fallen. 39 Nursing Sisters lost their lives on the Western Front during the Great War due to illness, drowning, and/or enemy action.

Canadian Nursing Sisters enlisted as early as September 1914 . The revised Canadian Great War Project website can be searched by date of enlistment https://cgwp.uvic.ca/search.php?rnk=Nursing Sister&srt=doe&col=nam,pob,dob,hsc,dod,doe,rgm,rnk  and provides links to the L.A.C. records.

There is a wonderful account by NS Mabel B Clint who was one of the original 100 nurses who sailed to the UK that September at 

http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/writing/NursingSistersEmbarcation.asp . In addition all the Canadian nurses have been remembered at the Lives of the First World War Website . This is the remembrance for Mabel https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/5523637 which includes a small personal contribution. 

 

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DoubleD

Thank you for posting this very interesting topic and the amazing images!

 

We have in our possession an original letter from a nursing sister in No 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. The letter itself was kindly donated to the Perth Academy Flowers of the Forest project by the granddaughter of James Amess' brother John. The lady in question also donated James' "King's Penny" the accompanying certificate, and John's British War Medal. This was incredibly generous of her, and they are now displayed with pride in a display frame next to the school War Memorial.

 

i have attached a scan of the letter and James' biography. I have tried the Canadian records but can't find any nformation. I am not certain if I am using the correct name, or if indeed the nurse was Canadian. Is there a possibility that someone who wasn't Canadian could be serving in this CCS?

 

I am just curious to know if there is any information on her? It would be so nice to tell the lady who donated the letter a little bit about the nurse who wrote it.

 

 

With thanks,

 

Dave

Amess letter.jpg

Amess J.jpg

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lizbet

There's another brilliant feature of the CGWP UVic update. The scanned copies of war diaries, here for example https://cgwp.uvic.ca/diaries/viewer.php?u=2nd_canadian_casualty_clearing_station&m=05&y=1918&i=e001510403 . You might have to go back to see if you can find Nurse Gall , it's certainly possible that there was a nurse from the B.E.F. working there or she might be Ethel C Gall https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/4953716 .

Good luck 

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DoubleD

Thank you so much for the information, and the good wishes, I'll do my best!

Dave

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Rob Campbell

Hello Dave, I believe that the Nursing Sister you are looking for is Claire Gass from Nova Scotia. N.S. Gass was born in 1887, educated at McGill University in Montreal. In 1915 she joined the Canadian Army Medical Corp. In addition to being posted to No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station she was also on duty at the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) at Boulonge.  Nursing Sisters and doctors of the CAMC were often assigned to General Hospitals based upon their affiliation to a particular institution i.e. McGill or University of Toronto

Coincidently, my grandfather also served with both Gass and McCrae and stranger still I possess a condolence letter by another Nursing Sister from McGill and No.2 CCCS written to the same grandfather upon the death of his nephew when wounded in an aerial combat he was brought to No.2 CCCS.

Now that you have the correct name of the Nursing Sister you may well want to read The War Diary of Claire Gass by Susan Mann (former president of York University) as well view some of the other information available online such as:

http://osler.library.mcgill.ca/archives/index.php/detail/?fondid=4706

http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/searches/soldierDetail.asp?ID=87457

Hope this helps you out.

Rob

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lizbet

Hello Dave and Rob 

You will find the contribution that Kristen and I made to Clare Gass (sic) Life at the LOTFWW site https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/5887156 including links to the information Rob mentions. Now that the Lives site is closed we cannot make any further amendments but I would recommend using the updated version of the Canadian Great War Project to search for nurses soldiers and officers.  https://cgwp.uvic.ca/search.php  All the original comments from contributors were transferred to the new format.

I'd be interested in the name of the other nurse you mention.if you would like to share it.  

Regards Liz (aka Janet) 

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Rob Campbell

Lizbet, the letter was written N.S. Louise Frances McLeod, Montreal General Hospital 1908. The letter was to my grandfather Capt. AD Campbell, the uncle of Lt. D.Gordon Campbell of 20 Squadron RFC.  

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DoubleD

Dear Rob and Janet,

 

This is amazing, thank you both so much! Fascinating to find out about Nurse Gass in her own right, and also great to be able to add something to the story of James Amess. I've found the book online and will order it and I'll put all the information together and pass it on to Janes' great-niece. I'll let you know what she says! It will also be great to share this information with my former colleagues and the young people at Perth Academy.

 

Thanks again,

Dave

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Marilyne

All very interesting information!! Thanks to all.

I stumbled upon Clare (it is clAre, right?? a lot of people write CLAIRE - with "AI") Gass when researching Gladys Wake.

Clare describes the aftermath of the attack on N°1 Canadian General Hospital and sister Wake being wounded. Knowing she was too badly wounded to be saved, gladys Wake apparently begged the stretcher-bearers to leave her and save themselves with the words “Don’t bother with me, I’ll be alright. You people will be exhausted”.

the veracity of these events are not 100% confirmed, Clare was not there, as she sais herself in her diary… it's all hearsay. But she was quite impressed with what happened and could not resist writing about it.

At least this little element put me on the traces of one very interesting lady, the memoirs of whom I will most certainly read !!

 

M.

Edited by Marilyne

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Marilyne

ERRATUM… reading on Google Books… the oeuvre by Susan Mann also contains the recollections of matron McLatchy and of Mabel Clint, the latter starting p 249 …. so the reference to Gladys Wake's demise is to be attributed to Mabel Clint!!

We'll get there…

 

M.

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DoubleD

As you say Marilyn, this is very interesting information, and it's ignited a wee spark!

 

I've checked with the teacher in charge of the school S1 French Trip next May and we will be close enough to fit in a visit to James Amess' grave at Esquelbecq. We'll also be able to tell the story of Claire and the medical centres in the area, and find an appropriate way of paying our respects to those who served in them. We'll also be able to share photos and the story of our trip with James' great-niece.

 

Plenty of time for the students and staff to work on some research before we go as well. It's these personal connections which really add so much to these visits.

 

Thanks to everyone! This is exactly what the GWF is all about.

 

I've attached a photo, and the display frame to the right of the school memorial contains the effects of James and John Amess, including the original letter written by Claire Gass. There are also some personal effects of Ewan Martin, donated by his great-niece who lives in Australia.

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

image1.jpeg

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DoubleD

Ordered the book online and I've just received it. At just over 300 pages it might be the best £2.50 I've ever spent! Haven't read it all yet, but did check the date of James' death. Clare doesn't mention him by name, which is not surprising when you consider how many casualties they were dealing with, but she was definitely at No 2 Canadian CCS at Esquelbecq at that time.

 

Attached are photos of the book and the lady herself.

 

lots more reading to do yet.

 

Dave

image1.jpeg

image2.jpeg

image3.jpeg

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DoubleD

This is a first for me, posting a link, so I hope it works!

 

As a result of the information provided by a number of Forum Pals, Philippa Campsie decided that she needed to find out about Clare Gass.

 

I am so grateful to her for writing the blog, which she posted this morning. I think it tells Clare's story beautifully. Please read it if you have the time.

 

As she says, we may not visit Esquelbecq this year, but we are determined to do so in the future. Hopefully we'll get a wee pebble there and send it back to Canada to place at Clare's grave.

 

Dave

 

https://parisianfields.com/2020/03/22/a-pebble-for-clare/

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Marilyne

Thanks for the link !!

I've been looking for the book (for real, not google books) but cheapest I've found until now is 26€... and with problematic deliveries right now, with services at a minimum… hope my CDs get through…

 

I'm so sorry for your visit falling through… these are Strange times, but let's hope we'll soon be able to get out again.

 

M.

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DoubleD

Not possible at the moment, but if you don't mind waiting I don't mind sending you mine on a long term loan. You can keep it as long as you want. When the situation improves I'll get in touch and you can send me a DM with your address. 

 

Dave

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Marilyne

Dave,

 

just seeing your post... sorry that that would be AWESOME !! 

 

Sending PM... 

 

M. 

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