Over half of the 1916 graduating class served as nursing sisters during World War I. Two nursing sisters from the Class of 1916, Margaret Lowe and Ainslie St. Clair Dagg, sacrificed their lives.
Ainslie St. Clair Dagg, Class of 1916
Ainslie St. Clair Dagg was born on February 5, 1892 to Emily and James Dagg in Selkirk Manitoba. She attended Havergal College (precursor to Balmoral Hall) and graduated in 1909. Dagg enrolled in the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in 1916.
In 1917, she joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and was sent to England where she served for a year. She then enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in April 1918.
Nursing sister Dagg was posted to the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital (later called No. 15 Canadian General Hospital, Taplow). Soon after arriving at her posting, she contracted influenza and then pneumonia. She died on November 29, 1918.
Ainslie St. Clair Dagg was buried at the Clivedon Cemetery, which was within the grounds of Clivedon House, an estate house the Astor family opened for recuperation of the wounded. The cemetery was used by the Duchess of Connaught’s Red Cross Hospital. Nursing sister Dagg and another nursing sister, Miriam Eastman Baker – both considered victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic were the first graves in this cemetery.
Ainslie St. Clair Dagg is also remembered on the War Memorial in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Legislative Grounds.
Margaret Lowe, Class of 1916
Margaret Lowe was born on January 26, 1886 in Morayshire, Scotland, the daughter of Thomas Lowe and Christina Lowe. Her mother died when she was five and her older sister was eight. Her father brought the two girls to Canada and they settled at Binscarth, Manitoba because they had family in the area that could help raise the children.
Margaret graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916 and enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in March 1917; she left for England on May 29, 1917.
Nursing sister Lowe served in England with No. 16 Canadian General Hospital, No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital, and No. 4 Canadian General Hospital. She proceeded to France in January 1918 where she joined the No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Calais until March 8, 1918 and then was posted to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples.
Late in the evening of May 19, 15 German aircraft attacked Etaples and bombed the railway bridge that carried military trains over the River Canche. The raid lasted two hours and 116 bombs were dropped over many of the hospitals and camps in the area. One of the bombs fell near the nursing sisters’ quarters and destroyed it – nursing sister Katharine Macdonald was killed instantly and seven other nursing sisters were wounded – including Margaret Lowe, who suffered a chest wound and skull fracture. She died on May 28, 1918 at the 24th British General Hospital, Etaples and is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery in France. For her service and sacrifice, Margaret Lowe was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Eleanor Christopherson, Class of 1916
Eleanor Christopherson was born on June 28, 1893 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916 and accepted a position on the Military Wards at Winnipeg General Hospital. She also nursed at No. 10 Manitoba Military Hospital (Tuxedo Park) until enlisting with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in March 1917.
Nursing sister Christopherson served in England and France and was posted to No. 13 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Hastings and No. 3, No. 8 and No. 6 Canadian Stationary Hospitals in France.
She returned to Canada in July 1919 and married W.M. Graham; they moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan and later returned to Winnipeg in the early 1960s.
She passed away in January 1965.
Alice Jones, Class of 1916
Alice Mary Jones was born on December 21, 1886, the daughter of John Lane Jones, a farmer in Shropshire, England. Alice, her brother and father (who was a widower) immigrated to Canada in 1910 and established a farm in Shackleton, Saskatchewan.
Her father remarried which allowed for Alice to enroll in the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1913. She graduated in 1916 and accepted a position on staff at Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1917, she joined the staff of Brett Hospital, Banff, Alberta.
In February 1918, she enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and went overseas in September. Soon after arriving in England, she contracted influenza and was hospitalized at Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton and then sent to the Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital, Buxton with pneumonia.
After she recovered, nursing sister Jones was posted to King’s Canadian Red Cross Convalescent Hospital, Bushey Park, Hampton Hill, where she served until returning to Canada in 1919 and being posted to the Saskatchewan Military Hospital, No. 12 District Depot, Moose Jaw until general demobilization in November 1919.
In March 1920, she accepted a position at Balfour Tuberculosis Sanatorium in West Kootenay, British Columbia. It is there she met and married World War I veteran, Charles Holt, who operated the country store and post office.
Alice Jones passed away on January 17, 1970.
Christina (Tena) May Stewart, Class of 1916
Christina (Tena) May Stewart was born on May 25, 1881 in Almonte, Ontario.
She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916 and enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in November 1916. Nursing sister Stewart served in England and was posted to the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow and Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton. Her sister, Ethel Stewart (Class of 1915) also served during the war with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and with the CAMC.
In November 1918, nursing sister Stewart contracted bronchitis and pneumonia and was hospitalized for several months. She returned to Canada in March 1919 and was sent to the Gravenhurst Sanatorium in Gravenhurst, Ontario due to poor health. She died there on November 7, 1927 and was buried in the family plot in Almonte, Ontario on Armistice Day – November 11, 1927.
Meta Hodge, Class of 1916
Meta Hodge was born on January 28, 1882 in Clontribet, Ireland to Sara and Robert Hodge. The family immigrated to Canada and Meta enrolled in the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing. She graduated in 1916 and immediately began working in the Military Wards at Winnipeg General Hospital.
In March 1917, Meta enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and was posted to the Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Ramsgate before being transferred to No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital in France. The busy hospital, which received hundreds of casualties daily, was located near Doullens, surrounded by an open field and not close to a military installation. During the night of May 30, 1917, German aircraft bombed the hospital and the main building, despite having the large red cross painted on the roof, received a direct hit. Three nursing sisters were killed and one badly wounded. Nursing sister Hodge was wounded; however, she remained at her post and assisted in evacuating patients out of the burning building until losing consciousness herself. She was sent to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in London to recover and received the Military Medal for bravery during enemy raids. Nursing sister Hodge recovered and was reposted to No. 14 Canadian General Hospital, Brighton before being discharged and returning to Canada in August 1919.
After the war, Meta joined the staff of Winnipeg General Hospital and later worked as a Public Health Nurse for the Manitoba Provincial Board of Health. In 1921, she moved to Philadelphia where she took a post-graduate course on Infectious Diseases. When she returned to Canada she moved to British Columbia to work with the Department of Education in Victoria.
Meta Hodge died on June 19, 1954 in Vancouver.
Elizabeth McPhail (Dr. Elizabeth Steele), Class of 1916
Elizabeth McPhail was born on September 30, 1893 in Paisley, Bruce County, Ontario.
She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916 and enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in March 1917. Nursing sister McPhail served from 1917 to 1919 in England at No. 16 Canadian General Hospital, Orpington and No. 12 Canadian General Hospital, before returning to Canada in July 1919.
In 1921, she married Robert Crawford Steele in British Columbia; he also served during WWI as a pilot in Royal Flying Corps. They lived in British Columbia for a short time before returning to Winnipeg where Elizabeth enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Manitoba, graduating in 1935.
Please click on the above link to learn about Ruby Dickie, who served with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) during WWI.
Click on the below links to read about other graduates from Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1916, that served as nursing sisters during World War I.