Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Wimereux, France


Each nurse, VAD and canteen worker tells a story.

Few women who served in WW1 are buried near the Western Front. Those who are can mostly be found in cemeteries near the coast, close to large hospitals or staging centres. They died mostly of disease, although some were certainly caught in the crossfire of war.

On 21 April 1918, Nursing Sister Anna Elizabeth Whitely died at Boulogne of a stomach tumour. She was buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery, the first Canadian woman in WW1 whose final resting place was in France.

Anna Whitely was born in Manvers Township, Ontario on 22 January 1872. She received her nursing training in Cleveland, Ohio, and worked there before the war. According to her Declaration Papers, Whitely joined No 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital in May 1916. She fell ill with stomach pains in early 1918 and was treated at No. 14 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne, France.

Twelve other women who served in WW1 are buried in the same cemetery – six nurses, four VADs and two canteen workers. They ranged in age from 19 to 67.

  • Mildred CLAYTON-SWAN, Civilian, Army Service Corps (Canteens), died 24/02/1917
  • Emily Helena COLE, Sister, QAIMNS, died 21/02/1915, aged 32                
  • Isabella Lucy May DUNCAN, Sister, QAIMNS, died 01/03/1917
  • Margaret Ellen EVANS, Member, VAD, died 22/07/1917, aged 39
  • Jessie Olive HOCKEY, Sister, QAIMNS, died 14/08/1917, aged 32
  • Nita Madeline KING, Member, VAD, died 25/05/1917, aged 29
  • Alice Hilda LANCASTER, Nurse, Territorial Force Nursing Service, died 03/06/1918, aged 35
  • Rubie PICKARD, Volunteer, VAD, died 13/04/1916, aged 67
  • Barbara Esmee ST JOHN, Member, VAD, died 12/10/1916, aged 31
  • Armorel Kitty TREVELYAN, Civilian, Army Service Corps (Canteens), died 27/02/1917, aged 19
  • Christina Murdoch WILSON, Sister, QAIMNS, died 01/03/1916, aged 42
  • Myrtle Elizabeth WILSON, Sister, QAIMNS, died 23/12/1915, aged 38

CWGC headstones in Wimereux lay flat over the graves. The soil will not support them upright.

Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at

2 thoughts on “Monday Monuments and Memorials – Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Wimereux, France

  1. Thank you so much for the posts. I find them very informative. I have a question about todays post if you don’t mind. What is a VAD?

  2. Good question, Tracy. VADs were war workers in the Voluntary Aid Detachments. They were mostly women and they mostly worked as nursing assistants … what today we would call practical nurses or nurses’ aides, Some were ambulance drivers. Whatever their role, they were a source of cheap labour to care for the wounded soldiers. Linda J Quiney’s book, This Small Army of Women, is a good history of Canadian and Newfoundland VADs in WW1.

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