WWI Milton Nurses

Additional References:

  1. Nursing Sisters Nominal Roll 1914
  2. Nursing Sisters Drafts Nominal Roll 1915
  3. Call to Duty: Canada’s Nursing Sisters
  4. Finding the Forty-Seven – Canadian Nursing Sister Deaths
  5. Nursing Sisters: Canadian Great War Project

A request came into the Milton Historical Society for information on Milton Nurses of the Great War of 1914-1919 (First World War). Information on the nurses was published in the MHS publication “Milton Remembers WWI and the Men and Women We Never Knew“. In the book (MRWWI) we find reference to the following:

  • Kathleen Panton: Milton born and Supervisor of Probationers in the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Nurse Panton resigned from that position to be one of the three nurses for the Queen’s Canadian Military Hospital at Shorncliffe, England. She sailed on the American liner “New York” some time shortly after March 1915. In March of 1918 Nursing Sister Kathllen Panton arrived at the front in Northern France for 3 to 6 months duty in a Canadian Casualty Clearing Station behind the Canadian front lines. It is reported that she had already been in the No, 2 Canadian General Hospital in France for the previous 2 years. Nursing Sister Panton was invested by King George at Buckingham Palace receiving the Royal Red Cross, second class.She had previously received an MID (Mentioned in Despatches) from Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig for devotion to duty.(MRWWI pg. 101, 149, 190)
  • Ruby Galloway: It is reported that the Galloway sisters spent considerable time on duty in England, eventually being called to do their service in France, Their total time in England and France was 2 years and 2 months. Initially at Oprington in England, they subsequently served for 9 months in France.  It was here that they are reported to have been at the hospital at Etaples that was the site of the infamous bombing by the Germans, resulting in a number of nursing sister deaths. After Etaples they were at the No. 14 General Hospital, Eastbourne and then back to Oprington. They sailed back to Canada in 1919. (MRWWI pg. 135, 149, 179)
  • Evelyn Galloway: Sister of Ruby Galloway as reported above (MRWWI pg. 135, 149, 179). The writing of the text in the book suggests a link to Private Archie Galloway #83788 however this needs to be confirmed. Archie was born in Carlisle and list his mother as Mrs. M. Galloway of Milton (see below, Evelyn and Ruby have a different mother).
  • M. Robertson:  The book indicates that Nursing Sister Robertson was the widow of the late Captain C. E. Robertson, who had been on duty in England for 2 years.(MRWWI pg. 149)
  • Miss Hannant: It is reported that Miss Hannant (first name unknown at this time) had her home in Milton and was one of the early nurses to volunteer in 1914 (MRWWI pg. 180).
  • Nellie Lawson: The daughter of John Lawson went overseas in 1918 and returned in August 1919. She was at the Toronto Base Hospital in September 1917 (MRWWI pg. 185).
  • Bessie Scott: Reported in the book but unknown link direct to Milton at present. She went over with the American Red Cross and transfered to the Canadian Army Medical Corrp (C.A.M.C.). She was still in London England in January 1919 but at some time was honoured with a gold ring by Milton’s Mayor.

Please note that any references to Nursing Sister Mary Paterson in the book are eroneous, as there was no such person. The correct name of that Nursing Sister was Mary Blaikley from Gartcosh, Scotland who was killed in the bombings reported above for the Galloway Sisters. There was extensive research into this topic after the book was published and is reported in the section on Cenotaph Errors.

There are questions as to the link of other Nursing Sisters to the Town of Milton, a matter that we will investigate further once the detailed service records become available. Additional references may also be in the archives of the Milton Historical Society.

As reeported on the page for WWI Service Records, Library and Archives Canada are in the process of digitizing the records of those that served, including the Nursing Sisters. Like Doctors, Nursing Sisters were considered to be “Officers” in the war. The following information has been found on the LAC site and we will update the information once the files are digitized and published on-line. The links to the names that follow are to the “Officers Declaration Forms” of the Nursing Sister.

  • Kathleen Panton, NS
    Nursing Sister Panton reported in her declaration of June 1, 1916 that she was born in Milton, Ontario on May 1, 1884, the daughter of William Panton, Esq. She was single at that time and noted that she had previously served in the Queens Canadian Military Hospital at Shorncliffe Kent, England for 15 months. Upon declaration she became an Officer / Nursing Sister with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (C.A.M.C.).
  • Evelyn Grace Galloway, NS
    Nursing Sister Evelyn Galloway reported in her declaration of May 2, 1917 that she was born in Freelton, Ontario on April 4, 1893. She was the daughter of Mrs. C. E. Galloway of Milton West, Ontario. She was a Graduate Nurse and taken on strength at the Base Hospital in Toronto.
  • Ruby Lorena Galloway, NS
    Nursing Sister Ruby Galloway, the older sister of Evelyen, was born on August 17, 1888 in Freelton. From her papers, we know the mother was Josephine Galloway. She was also taken on strength at the Base Hospital in Toronto on May 2, 1917. The Galloway Sisters are reported in the Milton Time Capsules for July 1917: “Misses Evelyn and Ruby Galloway, nursing sisters, have arrived safely in England and sent to Orpington for duty. They wrote: Mother, We arrived at Liverpool and missed the noon tide so we stayed on board a day longer….Well we landed at Orpington, Kent, 60 of us and were met by the Army Red Cross autos, those great, big ambulance things. Our trip certainly never got monotonous… Took the 3:20 train to London. We are here at the Kingsley Hotel, where all the officers and nursing sisters come. There are three of us in a room and we are very comfortable….
  • M. Robertson:
    More research is required on this reported Nursing Sister with a link to Milton. There are four (4) Nursing Sisters with a first name starting with “M” in the holdings of Library and Archives Canada, none of which appear to have a direct link.
    Margaret Robertson
    Marion Robertson
    Mary Robertson
    Mildred Robertson
    There is a possible link from the what shows in the records of Mary Robertson from Brantford, as she served in the American Red Cross as noted also for Nursing Sister Bessie Scott. Margaret was born in Soctland and was living in Winnipeg. Marion was born in Prescott and was living in Woodstock. Mildred was born in Halifax and attested in 1914.
  • Miss Hannant:
    There are no Attestation Papers or Officer’s Declaration listed on-line for a Nursing Sister Hannant. There are six (6) Private Hannant men listed, none from the Milton area. The book (MRWWI pg. 180) references “S. Hannant” of the Royal Air Force who is mention in the Milton Time Capsules for July 1917: “S. Hannant, of the Bank of Toronto, Toronto, resigned his position about a month ago and enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps which is Imperial, not Canadian. Maurice F. Panton, of the same bank, at Montreal, also resigned and joined the same corps. He went on duty last week, on Tuesday, and was at home here on leave from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
  • Nellie Lawson, NS
    Nursing Sister Nellie Lawson reported in her declaration of June 4, 1917 that she was born in Milton, Ontario on June 23, 1890, daughter of E. (Elcie?) Lawson. She was taken on strenght at the Toronto Base Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corp and was deemed medically fit on August 31, 1917.
  • Bessie Maud Scott, NS
    Nursing Sister Bessie Scott filed her Officer Delcation Papers on October 12, 1918 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Bessie reported that she was born in St. Jolen, New Brunswick (unidentified location) on October 11, 1882 and was living in “F’ten”, New Brunswick (assume short for “Fredericton”). There is no further information at this time as to why she returned to Milton and was given a gold ring by the Mayor.

Further information on Milton’s roll in the Canadian Army Medical Corp will follow. That will include the service of Lt. Col. (Dr,) K. D. Panton, who served overseas from 1915 to 1919 (MRWWI pg. 160, 190). The text also references the service of Dr. D. E. Robertson, a Surgeon with the 1st Battalion CEF as of December 1915 (MRWWI pg. 194). Dr. G. W. Manning Smith is reported to be ths son of F. M. Smith of Milton, was in charge of a hospital on a small island near the Dardanelles, famous for the disaster of the Australian and Newfoundland forces in 1915 Gallipoli Campaign.