Nusring Sisters and VADs

Despite the lack of recognition, thousands of Canadian women traveled overseas or helped from home in the war effort by becoming nursing sisters or by joining the voluntary aid detachment. With 3000 trained Canadian graduate nurses encouraged to join the war hospitals, this left their original roles empty at home. The nurses were part of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and were paid similarly to soldiers while holding the rank of lieutenant. The Canadian nurses were the only ones to have this ranking given to them.

 Middle- and upper-class women began to join the VAD out of a sense of duty for their society. These women started by handing out candy and cigarettes to departing soldiers, but eventually made their way into the Red Cross work rooms in London and conducted fundraisers for the hospitals (Quiney 1998).

My Beloved Polius

My Beloved Poilus

This letter is a segment from an entire collection written by a Canadian nurse during her time in the war. She graduated from McGill university and was near the Swiss boarder in Divonne-Les-Bains in France. She spent time working with the Red Cross, later making her way to New York with one of her patients, eventually making a short return to her home in St. John before departing back to the hospitals. Within the letters she describes the day-to-day life she experiences, the tasks of the other nurses and doctors and writes about the many patients she meets. Alongside the letters home are pictures showing the world around her.

Voluntary Aid Detachment with Canadian Redcross Ambulance

Voluntary Aid Detachment with Canadian Red Cross Ambulance

Canadian women of the voluntary aid detachment (VAD) in Etaples, France. They were photographed by an active member of the forces during the war alongside their Canadian Red Cross ambulance.

Canadian Nurses Voting

Canadian Nurses Voting

Canadian Nurses photographed voting in the 1917 federal election while at a Canadian hospital in France.

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