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Nurses of World War I
Nurses of World War I … A Legacy of Compassion and caring.
Canadian women, from the Yarmouth, Digby, and Shelburne areas of Nova Scotia served as Nursing Sisters with
the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), as American Red Cross Nurses, and with the United States Army
Nursing Corps during World War I.
Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Sisters
More than 3,000 nurses served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), including 2,504 who went overseas.
These Nursing Sisters were named nicknamed “bluebirds” because of their blue uniforms and white veils.
Mary Keir Beairsto
Mary Beairsto served at the Rockhead Military Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from April, 1916 until her
enlistment in 1918. She served in Canada with the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot No. 6, the
Prince Edward Island Military Convalescent Hospital, Camp Hill and Subsidiaries in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
On March 1, 1919 Nursing Sister Beairsto began to feel not as well as usual; however, she continued to work
until May 17. Admitted to hospital her test reports were positive for tuberculous. It was recommended she
spend six months in a Sanatorium. No longer able to work as a Nursing Sister in the Canadian military, she was
discharged on July 2, 1919.
Sarah Rowena Churchill
Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Nursing
Sister Sarah Churchill enlisted on October
28, 1916. She left Canada on January 1,
1916 and served in England until June,
1916. She proceeded to France on June
18, 1916 and served there until early
1918 when she was again posted to
hospitals in England. On October 12,
1918 she was posted to nursing duties on
H.M.A.S Araguaya (Hospital Ship). During
World War I the Araguaya made twenty
round trips between England and Halifax,
carrying a total of 15,324 sick and
wounded Canadian soldiers back home.
Nursing Sister Churchill returned to Canada on May 21, 1919 and was posted to the Canadian Expeditionary
Force in Canada. She was discharged from service on June 18, 1919.
Helen Hastings Perry
Helen Hastings Perry was born in Yarmouth,
Nova Scotia; however, at the time of her
enlistment the family was living in the United
States. Prior to her enlistment with the
Canadian Army Medical Corps, she served as a
nurse at the American Red Cross Hospital, St.
Katherine Lodge, Regents Park, London. On
May 6, 1918, she was taken on strength in
England at CAMC Shorncliffe, as an applicant
and employed as a nursing sister at CAMC depot
at Orpington. On October 8, she was
transferred to the IODE Hospital for Officers in
London. In November, Nursing Sister Perry
became ill with influenza.
She recovered initially without complications; however, in December she again became ill. In March, 1919 she
returned to Canada as a patient at St Anne de Bellevue Hospital, Montreal, where she remained until August 29,
1919. She was discharged from military service on August 28, 1919. On discharge, she went to the United
States. In 1931, she married George F. Conley and they lived in Lake Clear, New York for some thirty-nine
years. During that time she served as an office nurse. She died at home on January 13, 1967.
Adruenna (Addie) Allen Tupper
Addie Tupper was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1870. At the
time of her enlistment at Quebec City, she was the widow of
William Stanley Tupper. William died July 9. 1899. Her son,
Allan S. Tupper, died February 4, 1905 at the age of seventeen.
In 1914, Addie Tupper was 54 years old; however, when she
enlisted on September 25, 1914, she gave her birth date as
1870, not 1860. If she had given her true age she may have been
rejected for service.
She sailed with the First Contingent from Valcartier, Quebec and
arrived in England on October 16, 1914. She was placed on
observation duty in military hospitals. She was sent to France
on April 6, 1915 and served at No. 2 Canadian General Hospital
where she had charge of 60 beds.
She remained there until May 30 when the strain of heavy work
caused her health to fail and she was invalided to England at a
Convalescent Home for Nursing Sisters.
Her next duty was in England at Clivedon and Shorncliffe. She
was then sent with other nurses in charge of 800 Canadian
wounded soldiers to Canada for convalescence, arriving in
Halifax November 15, 1915.
She returned to Bridgewater and remained there until December
2. During her time at home she visited various places in western
Nova Scotia and gave talks and lectures on the hardships
undergone at the front. Large sum of money was raised for
Returning to England in December, she registered for duty at
Ramsgate in the special Canadian Hospital; however, desiring to
be near the front she was sent back to France in February 1916.
She was awarded the Royal Red Cross decoration, the medal was
presented to her December 2, 1916 by the King at Buckingham Palace, seven days prior to her death.
Nursing Sister Tupper served in France until November 1, 1916 when she was sent back to England for winter
duty at the Canadian Hospital at Uxbridge. Shortly after the presentation of her medal she contracted a cold
that developed into pneumonia. She died on December 9, 1916 and was buried on December 12 with full
Anna Teresa Young
A resident of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at enlistment, Nursing Sister Young served
in Canada with No. 9 Stationary Hospital at Halifax. She embarked Canada at
Halifax on June 19, 1916 and disembarked at Liverpool in the United Kingdom
on June 29, 1916.
She served in England and France with the No. 9 Canadian Stationary Hospital,
Duchess of Connaughts Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow, No. 12 Canadian
General Hospital, No. 7 Canadian General Hospital, No. 8 Canadian General
Hospital CAMC Casualty Company, No. 11 Canadian General Hospital, and
Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton.
She returned to Canada on the
SS Orduna, sailing on July 31,
1919. On demobilization,
Nursing Sister Young returned
to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
American Red Cross Nurses
Jessie May Cann
Jessie Cann was born on May 24, 1879. The family lived in
Brenton, Yarmouth Co., Nova Scotia. She graduated in the
United States as a nurse on May 4, 1906 from Worcester City
Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. During the nine years
prior to her service with the American Red Cross, she served
in hospitals in Massachusetts and New York.
During World War I, she served as a Red Cross Nurse at the
front. She went overseas on November 14, 1917 and was first
assigned to the Children’s Bureau at Paris. She was one of
the nurses sent to Vodena, Greece to assist in the
establishment of a hospital for refugees. She served in Red
Cross work in Salonika and on the Italian front, at the
American Red Cross Military Hospital No. 5 located at Auteuil,
Paris, France and in December 1918 was assigned to work in
Germany. She first return to the United States was on March 23, 1919. She then served with the Red
Cross at Vladivostok, Russia, caring for refugee children. She returned to the United States on February
18, 1920. After the war she took a nursing position at a hospital in Greenwich, Conn
Born in Chegoggin, Yarmouth Co., NS in 1872, Sara Corning trained as a
nurse in the United States. She joined the US Red Cross during the First
World War and subsequently signed on with the Near East Relief, a US
charitable foundation established to assist the displaced populations of
the Balkans, Asia Minor and the Middle East.
In 1922 she was responsible for the rescue of some 5,000 children in
the midst of conflict between Turkey and Greece. She was summoned
to Athens in June 1923, where King George II of Greece awarded her
the Silver Cross Medal of the Order of the Saviour, an honour
comparable to the Order of Canada. Sara worked at the orphanage she
established until 1924, when she returned to Turkey to work in a
residential training school.
Upon retirement, she returned to Cheggogin, where she lived in the
home in which she had been raised, until her death in 1969 at age 97.
The epitaph on her headstone: "She lived to serve others."
In her honour and memory, The Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education founded in 2012 is dedicated to
promoting and providing ongoing research and education in the fields of human rights and genocide education.
The Centre is located in Toronto, Ontario.
Lydia Reata Ferguson
Lydia Reata Ferguson was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on September 14, 1881. By 1911 she was living in the
United States working as a nurse. In 1917, Ferguson was stationed in Camiens, France with the British
Expeditionary Force as a member of the Harvard University Surgical Unit. In September 1918 she followed the
American Red Cross Palestine Commission to Palestine, Syria and Egypt. In July 1919 she returned to Yarmouth
and eventually married William Kirk. Lydia remained a member of the Harvard British Expeditionary Force
Association. She died on January 7, 1957.
United States Army Nursing Corps
Bertha Cornwall was born in Little River, Digby Co., Nova Scotia. She trained for a nurse at the Massachusetts
General Hospital, Boston, and during the first World War served overseas with the American Nurse Corps, and
was awarded the French War Cross. After the war she was supervisor of nurses at several hospitals in the
Eastern United States.
Dorothy Gayton Fox
Dorothy Fox was born in Pubnico, Yarmouth Co., Nova Scotia on December 23, 1889.
She moved to Massachusetts in July of 1910 to begin nursing school at the Malden
Hospital in Malden, Massachusetts. She began her military service in nursing on
December 5, 1917 in Canton, Norfolk, Massachusetts. During 1918 and 1919, Dorothy
served in France with the American Expeditionary Force as various Base and Evacuation
Hospitals. She returned to New York in May, 1919.
On July 14, 1920, Dorothy Fox received the US Victory Medal for her wartime service.
She became an American citizen in 1926 and married Ray Daniel Perry. Dorothy Fox
Perry died October 17, 1952
Annie Maud Killam
While born in New Brunswick, the family lived in Tusket, Nova Scotia. Annie Maud was
the fourth eldest of eight children. In 1913 Annie left Tusket and travelled to
Worcester, Massachusetts, in the United States. During World War I she served as a
Nurse with the US Red Cross.
After World War I, she married Harrison Hill, a civil engineer, on September 30, 1926 at
Tusket, Nova Scotia. The couple lived in various locations in Connecticut.
Annie died on July 6, 1991 at the age of 101 years.
American Red Cross Hospital, Regents Park, London
Duchess of Connaughts
Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow
Sarah Churchill (5th from left back row)
American Red Cross Hospital,
St. Katherine Lodge, Regents Park, London.