In Big Valley, the Legion’s Nov. 11 Remembrance Day Service included a presentation honouring a group of unsung heroes who have fallen through the cracks of history.
Garbed in an authentic WW I nurse’s uniform, guest presenter Kathryn Kane-Upton spoke of the Canadian women who made important contributions to our country’s military efforts over the years.
She spoke of the Canadian Nursing Sisters who served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War.
Over 3,100 nursing sisters enlisted with approximately 2,500 serving overseas in England, France and the Eastern Mediterranean close to the front lines, often within range of enemy attack.
In their blue dresses and white veils they were nicknamed the “bluebirds”.
Greatly respected because of their compassion and courage, by the end of the war, approximately 45 nursing sisters lost their lives during enemy attacks and from disease.
Canadian women returned to serve as nursing sisters in WWII.
More than two thirds of the approximately 4,500 nurses served overseas, attached to all three branches of the Canadian military.
With an average age of 25, Canada’s military nurses were the first in any Allied country to have officer status.
Canadian women would continue to serve, overcoming many barriers to serve in uniform as nurses and eventually enlisting and serving alongside their male counterparts in all Canadian Forces trades.