Column: Maritime Nursing Sisters of the Great War

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Maritime Nursing Sisters of the Great War

Snippet: Canadian nursing sisters first saw action in 1885 when the government sent them to Saskatchewan to support soldiers fighting in the North-West Rebellion. The next time they were called into service was during the Boer War (1899 – 1902). Canada sent four nurses to South Africa as members of the newly-formed Canadian Army Nursing Service, part of the Canadian Army Medical Department (CAMD). They were Georgina Fane Pope, Minnie Affleck (both of Charlottetown, PEI), Sahara Forbes and Elizabeth Russell (Hamilton, ON). By the end of the war, eight more had joined them.

This set the stage for the nursing sisters’ involvement in the First World War (1914 – 1918). According to The Nursing Sisters of Canada, only five permanent force nurses and 57 reserve nurses were in service at the start of the war. By war’s end, there were 3,141. They were nicknamed ‘bluebirds’ due to their blue dresses and white veils.

These nurses served at military hospitals in Canada, including ones at Halifax, NS, and Saint John, NB, as well as 12 Canadian hospitals in England and four (or five) in France. These hospitals held 400 to 1,000 beds each.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

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