Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 28, 1891
Place of BirthFallbrook, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJoshua Adam Gallagher (father), Fallbrook, Ontario
Trade / CallingGraduate Nurse
Service Details
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 15 Canadian General Hospital
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment21 Lincoln Ave., Apt. 3, Montreal, Quebec
Date of EnlistmentDecember 29, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 9, 1972
Age at Death81

Gallagher, Edith Alberta

Nursing Sister Edith Alberta Gallagher enlisted in December 1915 and went overseas the following spring. She served for three years at six different hospitals in England and France.

Edith was the daughter of Joshua Adam Gallagher and Margaret Linton of Fallbrook, Lanark County, Ontario. Her father was a farmer and her parents were both born in Lanark County into Irish families. They were married around 1876 and Edith was born in Fallbrook on 28 May 1891. She had at least ten brothers and sisters, the youngest one born around 1898. Their mother died in April 1906, at age 50, and Joshua remarried the following year. His second wife was Sarah Maria Fotheringham (née Draper), a widow.

Edith attended the nursing school at Western Hospital in Montreal, graduating in the class of 1914. Sometime before she enlisted she lived in the town of Keewatin, in northwestern Ontario, possibly working at Dr. Beatty’s hospital there. By the fall of 1915 the war was in its second year and Edith enlisted in Montreal on 29 December 1915. She was assigned to No. 6 Canadian General Hospital (Laval University), which had just been organized that month. She left for England with her unit on the SS Baltic on 23 March 1916, disembarking at Liverpool on 8 April.

From The Canadian Nurse, April 1916, page 224, ‘The regular monthly meeting of the Western Hospital Alumnae Association, Montreal, was held in the board room on Monday, February 14th.   ‘  Miss Edith Gallagher, class ’14, has left for overseas service with No. 6 General Hospital.’

A week after arriving in England Edith was transferred to West Cliff (Westcliffe) Eye and Ear Hospital at Folkstone in Kent, where she served for four months. In early August she was sent to France and transferred to No. 8 Canadian General Hospital in St. Cloud, on the outskirts of Paris. After five months there Edith was moved to No. 6 Canadian General Hospital (her original unit) at Troyes, where she served from February to September 1917. During that time she had a two-week leave of absence at the end of March. Edith’s next posting was to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples, on the coast of France. She was sent there in September 1917 and given twelve days leave in October. While she was on leave her father passed away in Fallbrook, Ontario at age 73.

Shortly after 10:30 pm on the night of 19 May 1918 German aeroplanes began a raid on ten Canadian and British hospitals, including No. 1 Canadian General. During a two-hour period they dropped over 100 explosive and incendiary bombs and also attacked with machine guns, causing 840 casualties among staff, patients and civilians. No. 1 Canadian General suffered 139 casualties including 66 killed. Three nursing sisters died and at least five more were wounded. Edith suffered a minor injury to her eye and she was treated for a few days then given two weeks leave at the end of the month.

Following her leave Edith was transferred to a new unit, No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne, a few miles north of Etaples. The Armistice ended hostilities in November and she continued to serve at No. 3 for four more months, returning to England on 8 March 1919. Her final weeks of service were spent at No. 15 Canadian General Hospital, also known as Duchess of Connaught’s Red Cross Hospital, in Cliveden, Buckinghamshire. Edith embarked for Canada on the SS Lapland on 3 April, landing at Halifax a week later. She was discharged on demobilization on 17 April in Ottawa. She was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

Edith’s proposed residence on discharge was her alma mater, the Western Hospital in Montreal, which became part of Montreal General Hospital in 1924. She later moved to Vancouver then to Seattle, Washington. By 1950 she was married (Mrs. Edith Powers) and living in San Pablo, Sonoma County, California. She passed away in Sonoma County on 9 December 1972, at age 81.

After the war Edith was honoured at a ceremony in Keewatin, Ontario on 4 August 1919, when medals were awarded to returned veterans and the families of fallen soldiers. She is commemorated on two war memorial plaques in the town of Keewatin, which is now part of the city of Kenora.

By Becky Johnson

Photo at the top is the Victory Medal.

Gallagher-Edith-90 Gallagher-Edith-91

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