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Remembered Today:

Canadian Nurses with the BEF


Sue Light
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Before she left France in August 1919, Maud McCarthy, Matron in Chief with the BEF, wrote a series of reports on the nursing services during the war, which are now at The National Archives. They cover a large range of subjects, but include a series of accounts of the role played by nurses of other countries. They provide clear and accurate accounts of the nursing services, including opening of the units, with dates; establishments; casualties; pay; honours and awards etc. Quite a few nurses are mentioned by name, especially those who were wounded or died.

I'm in the process of transcribing them from the original into a Word document, and have just completed the ones for:

Canadian Army Nurse Corps

US Army Nurse Corps

Harvard Unit 22 General Hospital

Chicago Unit US Army Nurse Corps

and will soon have finished:

South African Military Nursing Service

New Zealand Nursing Service

There is also one for the Australian Army Nursing Service which will bring up the rear...

If anyone would be interested in having a copy, let me have an email address off list.

Sue

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Hi Sue,

That's great work you're doing, as usual.

I'm sure there will be people who are very interested in the Canadian Army Nurse Corps here.

Also, would you be interested in Canadian War Diaries related to nurses?

Cheers,

Michael

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Hello Sue

I have a large number of websites specific to nursing and can put you in contact with a few people with similar interests - send me a PM if interested. GrandsonMichael and I have spent many hours transcribing and proofing each others work ... so we both appreciate the work you are doing.

Regards

Borden Battery

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Sue

Please remember that we have in the AMS Museum the McCarthy archive which also contains original letters and reports for various units as well as papers concerning gallantry of nurses.

I am afraid we have not had a chance to get them transcribed but you are welcome to have a look at them.

Pete

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Michael and BB

Thanks for that - I shall probably post the thread on the Canadian forum as well. But it brings up something that's been on my mind for a while. There seems to be no 'cross country' interest in the nursing services of the Great War at all. Canadians, Australians, British [and others] seem to have a sole interest in the nurses of their own countries, to the exclusion of even dipping their toe in the water of other nations. I've been reading through the link posted on a former thread to the Library and Archives of Canada's account of Canadian nursing sisters during the War 'The Call to Duty.'

I'm quite amazed at some of the information on there, and was especially gripped by this passage [which has been abridged]:

More tense, it seems, were the relations between Canadian and foreign nurses, particularly the British ones. These tensions were due to the more advantageous conditions that Canadian nurses enjoyed. Their higher salaries, more distinctive uniforms, and apparent popularity with the officers seem to have inspired jealousy among their foreign colleagues. However, the greatest source of frustration with regard to the Canadian nurses had to do with their military rank. Indeed, their officer status gave them greater freedom of movement and a higher level of prestige, two elements that their foreign counterparts did not enjoy....

... What is more, the Canadians' rapidly acquired reputation for compassion, gentleness, and hospitality made them formidable rivals.

Unfortunately, no source is given, but it seems it still persists :unsure: But whatever rivalry there might have been then, it seems that there is some sort of inpenetrable barrier that ensures that British, Canadian, Australian [and other] researchers of Great War nurses today, are still firmly isolated within personal bubbles, and fail to acknowledge that other nationalities exist/ed.

And I'm not suggesting that I'm any different, but whether it can be changed, I'm not sure. I'd certainly be interested in any document/war diary that shows British and Canadian nurses working in the same unit, which was fairly common.

Pete

I'm intending to arrange a visit sometime during the second half of next month. One problem is that I'm interested in everything in general, rather than anything in particular, which makes planning quite a problem! And a previous rather unfortunate encounter with the Museum put me off rather - but that's a long time ago!

Sue

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There were also a significant number of American nurses who came over before the USA joined the war. I correspond with a woman [has just published a book] whose aunt died from complicantions from poison gas. She took her gas mask off and placed it on a wounded Canadian soldier she was nursing - she died a few months later from complications from this gas poisoning.

Borden Battery

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To which I might add that a large number of Canadian nurses working in the US ended up joined the American forces. An article in the publication "Native Soldiers, Foreign Battlegrounds" tells the story of Edith Anderson, a member of the Six Nations Grand River Reserve tribe. She obtained her nursing training in New York,and in 1917 joined the US Medical Corps. Of the twenty nurses in her group, fourteen were Canadian.

Anderson served in France, and returned to Canada after the war. She died in 1996.

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There were also a significant number of American nurses who came over before the USA joined the war. I correspond with a woman [has just published a book] whose aunt died from complicantions from poison gas. She took her gas mask off and placed it on a wounded Canadian soldier she was nursing - she died a few months later from complications from this gas poisoning.

Borden Battery

Borden Battery, I have a list of US female casualties. Would you let me have the aunt's name please? Off list, if you prefer. Thanks, Jim

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Hello Jim

Send me a PM with your direct email address and I will introduce you to the woman in Pennsylvania and the research she has been doing on nurses in the Great War.

Borden Battery

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Hello Jim

Send me a PM with your direct email address and I will introduce you to the woman in Pennsylvania and the research she has been doing on nurses in the Great War.

Borden Battery

Sending direct, Jim

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Before she left France in August 1919, Maud McCarthy, Matron in Chief with the BEF, wrote a series of reports on the nursing services during the war, which are now at The National Archives. They cover a large range of subjects, but include a series of accounts of the role played by nurses of other countries. They provide clear and accurate accounts of the nursing services, including opening of the units, with dates; establishments; casualties; pay; honours and awards etc. Quite a few nurses are mentioned by name, especially those who were wounded or died.

I'm in the process of transcribing them from the original into a Word document, and have just completed the ones for:

Canadian Army Nurse Corps

US Army Nurse Corps

Harvard Unit 22 General Hospital

Chicago Unit US Army Nurse Corps

and will soon have finished:

South African Military Nursing Service

New Zealand Nursing Service

There is also one for the Australian Army Nursing Service which will bring up the rear...

If anyone would be interested in having a copy, let me have an email address off list.

Sue

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Sue

Have been trying to send a PM since yesterday regarding your Maude McCarthy lists but cannot get through as I am told your box is full. Will try again later

Tony

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  • 2 months later...

Some information/statistics.

Canadian Red Cross Society. The Canadian Red Cross Society is organized in eight provincial and about 1,220 local branches. Its object is to furnish aid to sick and wounded soldiers as an auxiliary to the Army Medical Corps. The more important activities of the Society include the supply of equipment for Canadian military hospitals, grants to British and other hospitals, care of Canadian prisoners of war, and the collection and shipment of supplies of various kinds, including clothing for the refugees being repatriated in the devastated areas of Europe. The society has collected $ 7,771,083 in money and gifts to the value of more than $ 13,500,000.

11. WOMEN’S WORK.

Statistics, however complete, can give only an imperfect impression of the services which the Canadian women have rendered during the war. The following are a few facts which bear on this subject:-

Nursing. – Women to the number of 2,400 have gone overseas in the C.F.E. and have served in England, France, Belgium, Egypt, Greece and Russia. They were posted for duty in base hospitals, clearing stations, ambulance trains and hospital ships. There are also 527 on duty in Canada.

The casualties suffered by nurses are:-

Killed in France (in bombing raids)………………………………….. 4

Killed at sea (by submarines) ………………………………………... 14

Died of disease……………………………………………………….. 15

Died in Canada……………………………………………………….. 6

The number of V.A.D’s who have gone overseas is 342, who have served in hospitals in England and France.

The following decorations have been awarded to nursing sisters:-

Military medal………………………………………………………….................. 4

Royal Red Cross, First Class………………………………………….... 43

Royal Red Cross, Second Class………………………………………. 149

Many hundreds of Canadian women are serving in Canada as Volunteer Probationers in military hospitals and in England under the Joint War Committee’s Women’s V.A.D. Department.

Source: Canada’s Part in the Great War, issued by The Department of Public Information, Ottawa, 1st Edition, January 1919, 2nd Edition, July, 1919.

Cheers,

Michael

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Slight clarification to Michael's post:

Nine Canadian Nursing Sisters were awarded the Military Medal.

The following from Canadian Foreign Awards, Awards to Nursing Service, Mentioned in Despatches, World War 1 (1914-1919) by Jim Wallace

Companion of the Order of the British Empire: 1

Officer of the Order of the British Empire: 1

Royal Red Cross: 69

Associate of the Royal Red Cross: 274

Mentioned in Despatches: 120

Medaille d'Honneur en Argent (France): 1

Medaille des Epidemies en Argent (France): 56

Medaille des Epidemies en Vermeille (France): 4

Medaille des Epidemies en Bronze (France): 20

Medaille de la Reine Elizabeth (Serbia): 2

marc

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