|Picnic to Therma on Lemnos, 23rd January 1916. Archive of Canadian Nurse Helen Fowlds|
One of those is Canada. 70 nurses served on Lemnos with the 1st and 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospitals from August 1915 to early 1916, serving nearby and alongside Australia's 130 nurses at West Mudros. They endured the same difficult sanitary and environmental conditions, as they worked to provide vital medical care in the tented hospitals on the sometimes hot, wind-swept and raining Turks Head peninsula.
And like their Australian nurse colleagues, they travelled the Island and inter-acted with the locals during their brief periods of leave, visiting churches, enjoying the fresh food and a hot mineral bath. The picture above shows some Canadian nurses on their way to Therma and its historic baths, which still operate today.
However the poor conditions experienced by the nurses at the hospitals led many of the nurses to become ill with dysentery and the other illnesses that plagued their patients from the peninsula. Fortunately, no Australian nurses died. But for the Canadians there was great sadness when two of their nurses - Matron Jaggard and Nursing Sister Munro of the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospitals - succumbed to dysentery in September 1915.
Their deaths and burials were mourned not only by their Canadian colleagues, but by the Australian nurses and moved Vera Brittain, the famous British VAD nurse to write her poem - The Sisters Buried at Lemnos:
As we approach the Centenary of Anzac in 2015, it is important that these historic links are remembered and commemorated.
|Representatives of the Greek Red Cross lay flowers at the graves of the two Canadian nurses, Portianos Military Cemetery, Lemnos, April 2013. Photograph Jim Claven|
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee