Shirley Ridalls graduated from the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing in 1954 and shortly after joined the Royal Canadian Medical Corps as a reserve nursing sister. Her job was to train medical assistants to provide care to wounded and sick soldiers. After a varied nursing career and 25 years of service to the army she retired at the rank of Captain. Continue reading
School District 60 received more than 70 public submissions about a name for Fort St. John’s new elementary school, and pioneer nurse Anne Roberts Young was top among the suggestions. Roberts was the first registered nurse stationed in the North Peace, arriving from England in 1930 to work at the Grand Haven Red Cross Outpost Hospital.
She married farmer and postmaster Jim Young of Rose Prairie and continued working as a nurse after her move to that community, often travelling by horseback and through severe weather to see patients. She delivered more than 300 babies during her 25-year career in the region.
To celebrate the opening of the School the Fort St. John North Peace Museum mounted a display of items from Young’s nursing bag and a brief biography. Here are pictures of the display
Larry Evans, a northern historian, and columnist has written an interesting article about Anne Young and other nurses that served in the Peace River district. Go here to learn more.
Survivors of Vancouver’s great fire of 1886 took refuge in Hasting’s Mill Store. The building survived the fire and exists today as the Old Hasting’s Mill Store Museum, Vancouver’s oldest building.
Emily Patterson, Vancouver’s pioneer first nurse, is believed to have shopped in the store when it was located on the waterfront. Although not formally trained, Emily took it upon herself to provide medical treatment to her family and community out of sheer necessity. She became so adept at her skills that she was thought of as a nurse and was widely respected among Indigenous and pioneer residents up and down Burrard Inlet.
Noted author Lisa Anne Smith’s book: Emily Patterson the Heroic Life of a Milltown Nurse, chronicles the life of this remarkable woman and can be purchased at the Museum. The author kindly donates some of the royalties to the BCHN Society.
A recent successful Go Fund Me campaign raised the needed money to complete essential building updates and repairs. Donations will always be greatly appreciated as work on preserving this heritage building continues.
The Museum will open July 1 for a shortened summer season.
The HMHS Llandovery Castle was one of five Canadian military hospital ships during the First World War. It was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine off the coast of Ireland on June 27, 1918. Of the 234 people who died, 14 were Canadian nurses.
The story of the nurses who died aboard that boat is told in a world premiere opera performed at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo in March 2020.
Lynette Harper, a niece of Dr. Helen Mussallem, recently contacted us to let us know that one of her aunt’s WW2 nursing uniforms was on display at the Maple Ridge Museum and Community Archives.
The Museum’s curator (Shea Henry) shared pictures of the displayed uniform and the accompanying mini biography.
Dr. Mussallem is Canada’s most decorated and beloved nursing leader who had a special place in her heart for the history of nursing. She is one of our esteemed Honourary Members and supported the BC History of Nursing Society since its inception.
Gloria Stephens, a former BCHNS member left BC a few years back and established the Nova Scotia History of Nursing Group. She was recently interviewed by the CBC Atlantic News that featured the group’s archives located at the former Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in Halifax. Good job Gloria!!!
The role of nursing and midwifery has been recognized by the World Health Organization as they designate 2020 “The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. The designation comes with a push for expansion: “the world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030,” a statement on their website reads.
For Remembrance Day, the Surrey Museum will once again present the one-hour presentation ‘Canadian Nurses in War Time,’ by Renée Saklikar and Ishbel Newstead. The poem-play, written by Surrey’s former poet laureate, is an artistic response to an exhibit about Canadian nurses in war time. Research was by Ishbel Newstead, a dedicated volunteer with Museum of Surrey and Historic Stewart Farm, who sought help from BCHNS archives and various members. The author and researcher do the play’s readings.
The poem-play is dedicated to nurses who served in WW 2, and tells the stories of three BC Nursing Sister veterans well-known to BCHNS members. It was first presented at the Museum in 2017 – and was well received. This year, the daughter of Margaret Mainwaring, one of the featured BC nursing/sister veterans and who died earlier this year at age 107, is planning to attend while on a visit to Surrey.
BCHNS Members who live in the area may want to try to attend. The presentation follows the 11 am Remembrance Day ceremonies held at the Surrey Cenotaph, located next door to the Museum.
Thanks to Glennis Zilm for sending this information.
Maxine Bredt, a graduate from the Royal Jubilee Hospital, celebrated her 100th birthday on September 21, 2019. She recently received a quilt of valour and now is featured on the 2019 Veterans’ Week Poster.
2019 Veterans’ Week Poster
Canada remembers the Italian Campaign
This year Canada is observing the 75th anniversary of the Second World War’s Italian Campaign. It was one of our country’s most important contributions to the Allied war effort; more than 93,000 Canadians served in Italy from the summer of 1943 to early 1945. Our soldiers fought their way across the island of Sicily and up the boot of Italy across a challenging landscape of mountains and river valleys in the face of harsh weather conditions and a skilled enemy.
This special commemorative poster features Lieutenant Maxine Llewelyn Bredt. She was a Nursing Sister in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps who helped treat the sick and wounded during the Italian Campaign. A recent picture of Ms. Bredt in her former uniform is superimposed on an historical photo showing soldiers of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the Sicilian town of Agira after capturing it in July 1943.