Frederica Wilson, Class of 1899
Frederica Wilson was born on February 11, 1896 in Goderich, Ontario. She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1899 and served as the Superintendent of Nurses at Winnipeg General Hospital from 1905 to 1914. In June 1914, she resigned her position as Lady Superintendent and moved to British Columbia.
Wilson enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps in September 1915 and was the Matron of the Fifth Overseas British Columbia Hospital Unit; she was posted to the No. 5 Canadian General Hospital on the Salonika Front and then at the No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, on the French Front.
For her service, nursing sister Wilson received the Royal Red Cross First Class at Buckingham palace on February 11, 1917 and was then received by Queen Alexandra at Marlborough House.
She returned to British Columbia in 1919 and became a fruit farmer at Wilmot Farm. She died on February 18, 1935 in Whonnock, British Columbia.
Jean Matheson, Class of 1899
Jean Matheson was born in Clinton, Ontario on April 24, 1874, the daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. Archibald Matheson. Her family moved to Manitoba when she was young and in 1899 she graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing. Following graduation, Jean did private nursing duty in Winnipeg and was Superintendent of Nurses at Regina General Hospital. From 1901-1906, she was Matron of Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops, British Columbia. In 1907, she accepted the position of the first Lady Superintendent of the new provincial Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Tranquille, British Columbia and helped establish it as one of the premier tuberculosis hospitals in Canada. In 1912, she resigned from her positions at Tranquille and returned home, to Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.
Jean eventually returned to British Columbia where she accepted the position of Superintendent of Nurses at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke, where she subsequently opened a School of Nursing in 1914.
Jean enlisted with Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) on September 14, 1915. Nursing sister Matheson was assigned as Matron with the No. 5 Canadian General Hospital at Salonika (Greece) for two years and later took charge of the clearing hospital in Kirkdale, Liverpool, England. She also served at the Duchess of Connaught’s Red Cross Hospital.
She and 70 other nursing sisters were aboard the hospital ship Egypt in the harbour outside of Salonika when it was bombed, however there were no injuries. Her exemplary record of overseas service was recognized by the award of the Mons Medal, the Victory Medal, The Royal Red Cross and the King George Jubilee Medal.
In 1919, Jean returned to Canada and was assigned the position of Matron of the Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver. This hospital was established for returning veterans, many of whom suffered from tuberculosis and other respiratory disorders, some related to gas warfare. She remained at Shaughnessy for the rest of her career and was a much beloved and respected Matron and recognized for her caring and leadership, particularly with those patients suffering from tuberculosis and other lung conditions.
She retired in August 1937, and returned to Winnipeg to be closer to family. She died on April 22, 1938 in Winnipeg and her body was returned to Vancouver for burial in the soldier’s plot, Mountain View Cemetery.
Please click on the links below to read about other graduates from Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, 1899 and 1900, that served as nursing sisters during World War I.