Lizzie Ramsay Aikman, Class of 1912
Lizzie Ramsay Aikman was born on October 20, 1883 in Whitburn, Scotland. It was there she decided to become a nurse and enrolled in a training course at Craig House Private Nursing Home in Edinburgh.
She immigrated to Canada in 1909 and enrolled in the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1912. Following her graduation she was an operating room nurse in Dr. Blanchard’s hospital and in 1914, became an assistant Operating Room nurse at Winnipeg General Hospital.
With the outbreak of World War I, she was one of three nurses chosen to represent Manitoba in the British Red Cross. On April 21, 1915 she sailed for London, England and soon after arriving sailed to Malta where she served for over a year at Hamrun, the private residence of the governor.
After completing her service in Malta, she returned to London for a short time before being posted to the No. 12 Canadian General Hospital in France and later to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station in England where she remained until 1918.
She enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in June 1918 and was stationed at Shorncliffe when the armistice was signed. Upon returning to Canada, nursing sister Aikman continued to serve at No. 10 Manitoba Military Hospital (Tuxedo Park) and Deer Lodge Hospital until she was discharged in 1923.
After completion of her military service, she became Matron of Brandon Mental Hospital and later engaged in private duty nursing;
She passed away at the age of 49 years on December 3, 1931.
Sadie Ferguson, Class of 1912
Sadie Ferguson was born on December 30, 1888 in Belfast, Ireland. She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1912 and joined the staff of the Regina General Hospital in 1914.
In February 1915, Sadie Ferguson joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps and served in England, France and Salonika. Nursing sister Ferguson was posted at No 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, France and No. 5 Canadian General Hospital, Salonika, however due to poor health was discharged from overseas service and returned to Manitoba in 1917.
After spending time recuperating, she worked for a summer at Keewatin Beach in charge of the convalescent cottage for returned soldiers, before accepting the position of Assistant Matron at No. 10 Manitoba Military Hospital (Tuxedo Park) – a position she held until 1920. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross Second Class for her service.
After the war, she married John Hook and they lived in California and later British Columbia. She died on January 6, 1965 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Notes from a Nursing Sister, A.M.C
Here I am in France and realize that we are on active service. We came across the channel in three hours and considered ourselves lucky, as it took some boats three days. We landed at Boulogne and stayed over night. A number of our girls are there. Saw Miss Attrill the day we left. She motored in 22 miles to see us. She had been on duty all night previous. We had not much time together, as we left shortly afterwards. There is nothing too good for our “Tommies” these days. I was on duty with the English sisters for two weeks and I liked it very much. They were extremely busy. Our hospital is under canvas, and is very well fitted up. I have just been in my tent a couple of days with 32 beds. We never know when there will be a rush of patients. Most of our girls have brothers or friends at the front. A brother of one, a Canadian officer, was killed. She feels it keenly, but is just as bright with her patients as if nothing had happened. Have just heard that the Canadian casualties are very heavy at the engagement at Hill 60. Heard too, that the Germans had got the hill back. It was depressing news but it is contradicted. Our patients are coming in by the hundreds. Two hundred and seventy-five was the number we got last night and they are still coming in by the train load.
S.F. [Sadie Ferguson]
[Published in Nurses’ Alumnae Journal, July 1915]
Please click on the links below to read about other graduates from Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, 1912, that served as nursing sisters during World War I.