Nursing sisters

Each Wednesday we will highlight the women of the First World War. Today: 

Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe

In 1920, a plaque was dedicated to the losses of the Ontario Military Hospital nurses, at the Legislative Assembly in Queen’s Park, Ontario.
Credit: Toronto Star, 27 March 1920.

In 1904, the Canadian Militia established the Canadian Army Medical Corps, equipping a very small, but permanent, nursing service. Distinct from all other countries, Canada commissioned its nurses with the rank of “Nursing Sisters”, granting them the equivalent of a lieutenant’s rank. In 1914, only five nurses were on staff. By war’s end, 2,845 nurses had served with the Canadian Army. Nursing Sisters staffed the Canadian General Hospitals that were created behind the front lines in Europe. They assisted in surgery rooms, performed triage, dressed wounds, fed, and cared for the wounded. In close proximity to the front, they were not immune to the dangers of shells and bombs. Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, of Binscarth, Manitoba enlisted with the Canadian Army Nursing Service in 1917. She was killed when a German air raid bombed the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, France in May 1918.

The funeral procession of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe in Etaples, France, May 1918. The innumerable rows of crosses in the background of the photograph indicate the suffering experienced at the field hospitals.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002569.
Burial of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002575.

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