Nursing Sisters from Port Hope

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Badge According to the Canadian War Museum, more than 2,800 nurses served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), as fully-enlisted officers in the specially-created all female rank of Nursing Sister, with relative rank and equal pay to men – the first women among the Allied forces to do so. Nicknamed “bluebirds” because of their blue uniforms and white veils, Canada’s nursing sisters saved lives by caring for wounded and sick soldiers as well as convalescents, prisoners of war, and even civilians on occasion.
Port Hope's Nursing Sisters are listed in the Book of Remembrance, the only recognition being their names and number of years served. We have endeavoured to provide as much information about them as can be found, from such sources as Ancestry, CemSearch, and the Port Hope Library newspaper microfilms' vital statistics.
As we only have photographs of two of them, it is hoped that descendents or relatives may be able to provide one.


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No photograph available Emma Frances Elliot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 10 March 1882, the daughter of Robert and Sarah (Wilson). She enlisted on 07 April 1915 in Toronto and served in France and Salonika until her demobilization on 15 April 1920.
Emma passed away at Sunnybrook Hospital on 26 May 1970 and is interred, with her brother Ernest’s family, in Pine Hills Cemetery in Scarborough, Ontario.

No photograph available Harriet Gertrude Hudspeth was born on 19 September 1879 in Lindsay, one of nine children in the well-off family of lawyer Adam Hudspeth and his wife, Harriette Miles. As both parents had died by 1890, Harriet is shown in the Port Hope 1901 census returns as a ward of 74-year-old Anne Evans. Her war years' history has been elusive.
Harriet applied for US Naturalization in Providence, Rhode Island, on 06 February 1927, and in the ensuing years is listed in the Providence city directories as a social worker. No further information about her has been located.

Ada Kemp Ada Andrews Kemp was born 02 June 1895 in Essex County, England. A Barnardo girl arriving at Hazelbrae in Peterborough in May 1904, she became a domestic servant with her Port Hope uncle, Alexander Walsh.
Ada was taken on strength on 11 April 1917 with the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Base Hospital, Toronto. Her attestation papers state she was 5’1” and weighed 103 pounds.
While serving in France, until her demobilization in Kingston on 11 June 1919, her medical record shows a number of throat infections (a tonsillectomy on 08 Dec 1917) and anaemia. She also was reported to have been treated for ‘morphinism’ in 1916.
She was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class, an award made to a "fully trained nurse or assistant nurse, probationer, or V.A.D. nursing member, who, belonging to one of the officially recognized nursing services, has shown special devotion and competency in the performance of nursing duties, over a continuous and long period, or who has performed some very exceptional act of bravery and devotion at her post of duty. Up to five percent of the total establishment of nurses could receive the ARRC.”
Following demobilization, Ada returned to Essex County, England, where she married George Pettican on 21 April 1928. Sadly, she passed away in July 1929.

No photograph available Myrtle MacMillan was born in Cambray, Ontario, on 27 March 1886, the daughter of Donald and Margaret (Birmingham).
At the time of her enlistment on 05 May 1915, she was working as a trained nurse at Kingston’s Sydenham Military Hospital. She served in Canada, England, France, and Egypt. Myrtle was on leave for a month, due to the “strain of duties”, as laid out in the medical report of 29 September 1916: “Patient went to France in May in 1915. Was on duty there for two months. Transferred to Egypt on August 1st, 1915, where she remained 8 months. Transferred back to France in April 1916. Was Invalided to England on Sept 14th, complaining of general weakness, easily fatigued on slight exertion, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.”
Myrtle continued her nursing duties until general demobilization on 14 October 1919. Following the war, her whereabouts are elusive. She was appointed superintendent of Ontario’s Smith’s Falls Hospital in 1927 and resigned in 1930 to become superintendent of Nova Scotia’s Glace Bay General Hospital.
A note in her military file states she died on 29 January 1971 at Ste. Anne’s Long-Term Care Hospital in Ste. Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec.

No photograph available Edith Elgin MacNaughton, daughter of James and Margaret (Vogan), was born on 24 June 1883 in Port Hope.
This seems to have been her only connection to the town, as, on her 17 February 1934 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Veterans’ Compensation Application, with a permanent residence of Peterborough, she was working in Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she enlisted in the American Nursing Corps on 17 November 1917. She was overseas from 01 May 1918 to 03 June 1919, when she was demobilized in New York City.
Following the war, Edith returned to Peterborough, marrying 60-year-old American doctor Elmer Noah Piper on 24 November 1925, before returning to the US, where he continued to practice until his death on 08 May 1930. At that time, Edith was listed in the 1930 New Kensington, Pennsylvania, census returns as "housewife".
She died on 05 July 1969 in New Carlisle, Ohio, and is interred in Plum Creek Cemetery, Plum, Pennsylvania.

Mary MacNaughton Mary Aleda MacNaughton, daughter of James and Margaret (Vogan) and sister of Edith, was born on 21 December 1882 in Port Hope.
She enlisted with the C.A.M.C. in Kingston on 05 May 1915. Until her 28 April 1920 demobilization, she served in England, France, and Egypt, being awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class on 03 June 1919.
She passed away on 16 August 1962 at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital and is interred with her parents in Port Hope’s St. John’s Anglican Cemetery.

No photograph available Marion Etta McLean, daughter of William and Sarah (Jennings), was born in Port Hope on 31 August 1890. She joined the C.A.M.C. on 30 November 1917 at Base Hospital, Toronto. Going overseas on 25 June 1918, she saw service in England until her demobilization on 12 July 1919.
Returning to Port Hope, Marion married William Ewart Watt on 04 February 1920. She passed away in 1975 and is interred in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

No photograph available Pansy Eva Roberts, daughter of Thomas and Bertha (Montgomery), was born in Welcome on 07 September 1889. She was taken on as a nursing sister on 05 May 1915 in Kingston, serving in England, Egypt, France, and the Dardanelles before returning to France in April 1916, where she remained until demobilization on 31 December 1919.
She is listed in the 1940 Rosedale Voters List as a public health nurse. Pansy passed away on 02 May 1968 and is interred with her family in Port Hope’s St. John’s Anglican Cemetery.

No photographs available Pearle Edna Wood, daughter of Sylvester Howard Wood and Belinda Judge, was born in Port Hope on 29 December 1884. Before being taken on strength on 23 August 1916 at Base Hospital, Toronto, she had previous service at Toronto’s Exhibition Camp in 1915. Her military file states war service in England to 1919, the year she married Col. William Robinson at St. Asaph, Flintshire.
Following the war, she “retired to the British Isles”, returning to Canada prior to 1940, the year her husband died. Pearl passed away on 28 January 1986 and is interred with him in Ottawa.


Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario
www.alivingpast.ca