Portraits of Nurses at War

A small selection of photographs from the National Archives of Canada. Nurses have served with the Canadian military since Northwest Rebellion in 1885 and small contingents were sent to the South African War — the Boer War — at the turn of the last century. Nurses became an official part of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1901, and have served in every conflict since.

Nursing sister, First Canadian Contigent, South African War

Nursing sister Ruby Gordon Peterkin. First World War. Note the boots — and heels!

.First World War, in front of a Casualty Clearing Station.

Unidentified Nursing Sister, First World War.

Nursing Sister Ruth Webster, North Africa, Second World War. Great photo. Colour gives this photo an unexpected immediacy. Note the utilitarian uniform, in contrast to the Boer War nurse above, the only concession to tradition being the headdress.

Same nurse. The Archive calls this one Nursing Sister Valerie Hora. Whatever her name — Valerie or Ruth — there is great strength of character in her face which the photographer has captured to an exactitude.

Nursing Sisters of No. 10 Canadian General Hospital, R.C.A.M.C., landing at Arromanches, France, 23 July 1944, about six weeks after D-Day. Eager and enthusiastic.

Canadian Nurses with Bob Hope.

Cpl. Bill Kay Strolls with Nursing Sister Dorothy Rapsey. North Africa? Second World War.

The price. Mass funeral of nurses after a German air raid. Note the nurses’ uniforms on top of the coffins.


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  1. #1 by Dr Dean on Wednesday 07 March 2012 - 1202

    super pics, amazing dedication to their fellow man.

  2. #2 by Tina on Wednesday 07 March 2012 - 2226

    Nurses are my heroes.

  3. #3 by Heath Lindsey on Sunday 03 February 2013 - 0754

    To whom it may concern

    I am looking for pictures of a ring given to the women of the boer war. May have been for the nurses who served. ???

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