Edith May Allison signature

On this day in 1917 Edith May Allison enlisted as a nursing sister in Calgary. She was born on May 14th, 1878 (she said 1881 on her form) in Tyendinaga Township, the daughter of Jonathan G. Allison and Sarah Edith (née Prentice). She was listed as a nurse in Tyendinaga in the 1901 census and was still in Tyendinaga in 1911. By 1916 she had moved and was living at the hospital in Coronation, Alberta.

Edith’s service record tells us that she was five feet seven inches tall and weighed 150 pounds when she signed up to join the Canadian Army Medical Corps. She arrived in England in May 1917 and initially served in hospitals in Brighton, Sussex. She was then posted to No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Outreau, France between June 1918 and March 1919. [War diaries for this hospital are at Library and Archives Canada.]

Edith sailed back to Canada on the SS Lapland in April 1919. She continued to work for the Corps as a nurse in Ottawa after the war, and was transferred to Colonel Belcher Hospital in Calgary on June 1st, 1919. This hospital opened in 1919 for veterans of the war.

Edith was the Matron-in-Charge of the hospital until she died there on July 10th, 1933. Her death was determined to be as a result of her war service.

Edith May Allison circumstances of casualty

Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

CIRCUMSTANCES OF CASUALTY
Died at Col. Belcher Hospital, Calgary, Alta.

Cause – Myocarditis, etc.
Death was due to service, authority BPC.d.15-8-33

Edith’s gravestone, from ‘Great War 100 Reads’

Edith was buried in the Deseronto Cemetery, near her father, Jonathan Allison. Her mother died three years later and was also buried there.

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