Mary A McKenzie, Sarah Ellen Garbutt, Margaret Lowe, Dorothy Mary Baldwin, Matilda Green. These five women are remembered on a brass tablet in the Ontario Legislative Building (Queen’s Park), on the second floor of the west wing, near the landing outside the Legislative Chamber. They were nursing sisters who had served in the Ontario Military Hospital at Orpington, England, and who died during the war.
How did they die?
- Mary McKenzie (misspelled MacKenzie on the tablet) was one of 14 nurses who drowned in June 1918 when a German torpedo sunk the hospital ship Llandovery Castle.
- Sarah Garbutt died of cancer in August 1917, shortly after arriving in England.
- Margaret Lowe died in May 1918 of wounds from enemy aircraft bombing the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Étaples, France.
- Dorothy Baldwin died of wounds from enemy attack on No 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens, France in May 1918.
- Matilda Green died of double pneumonia at Étaples in October 1918.
The tablet, dedicated “to the undying memory of the nursing sisters of the Ontario Military Hospital who gave their lives in the service of their country during the Great War, 1914-1919,” was unveiled in March 1920 by Margaret MacDonald, Matron in Chief.
Canadian nurses formed part of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), with the title of nursing sister and a rank equivalent to lieutenant. Debbie Marshall documents the lives of many nurses who lost their lives on Finding the Forty-Seven: Canadian Nurses of the First World War.
Many thanks to the guides at the Legislative Building who helped to find the nurses tablet and gave me access to take some photos. I enjoyed the adventure.
Hot off the press: Firing Lines – Three Canadian Women Write the First World War, Debbie Marshall’s book about women war correspondents, was published last month. I can’t wait to read it.