|Date of Birth||July 27, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mr. Patrick Sullivan (father), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Nurse|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||Ontario Military Hospital|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Army Medical Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Toronto, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 5, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||28|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 6, 1969|
|Age at Death||81|
|Buried At||Holyrood Catholic Cemetery, Shoreline, Washington, USA|
|Plot||Section G, Lot 316, Site 5|
Nursing Sister Margaret Ellen Sullivan enlisted in February 1916, at age 28, and served for over three years in England and France. She returned to Canada in August 1919 and continued her nursing career at a hospital for veterans.
Margaret was the daughter of Patrick Joseph Sullivan and Margaret Mary McIlroy. Patrick was from Ireland and his wife was born in Scotland. They were recorded in a parish census taken in January 1884 in Rat Portage, Ontario. They may have moved to Port Arthur shortly after that and the births of three daughters were registered in Port Arthur: Mary Flora (November 1884), Margaret Ellen (27 July 1887) and Norah Anastasia (April 1890). Another girl named Margaret was born on 17 March 1886 and she likely died as an infant. At the time of the 1891 census Patrick and Margaret were back in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) and Patrick was working as a stone mason. Their youngest girl, Bertha Ann, was born in Rat Portage in May 1892. Patrick’s wife passed away in January 1899, when Margaret was 12 years old, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. After the loss of their mother the four girls spent time staying with relatives and in Catholic boarding schools.
The war started in August 1914 and Margaret enlisted on 5 February 1916 in Toronto. She was 28 years old, single and working at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Kenora at the time. Another nurse from Kenora, Mary Bunting, enlisted in Toronto the same day. They both left Canada on 2 April 1916 on the SS Olympic and arrived at the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent, England about nine days later. Margaret served at the hospital for ten months. Early in 1917 she spent five weeks at the CAMC Training School in Westenhanger, Kent. After her training, and some time off being treated for an eye infection, she was sent to France in April 1917 and posted to No. 7 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples. Margaret was a patient herself for most of February 1918 when she was ill with influenza, and in March she had two weeks leave in Cannes. On 18 May the Germans bombed several Canadian and British hospitals, including No. 7 Canadian General. In June Margaret was invalided back to England, suffering from neurasthenia (shell shock). She returned to work a month later and spent her remaining time in service at Shorncliffe and Orpington in England.
Margaret returned to Canada in August 1919 on the SS Caronia. She was discharged on 22 August with her intended address listed as Kenora. For the 1921 census she was lodging at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Peterborough, Ontario, working as a nurse. Her father died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora on 1 November 1921, at age 76, and his funeral was held in Kenora three days later. He was survived by two married daughters, Mary (Donald) Griffith and Bertha (John) Holmes, and by Margaret and Norah who were both single and living in Toronto at the time. Margaret was married in Toronto in 1924 to Edmund Victor Chapman. She was a graduate nurse living at Christie Street Hospital for Veterans and her sister Norah was a witness to the marriage. (Later that same year Norah married Arthur Hope Stratford in Timmins, Ontario. She died in Nelson, BC in 1930.)
Margaret’s husband Edmund Chapman had enlisted with the 75th Battalion in January 1916 in Toronto. While he was still training in Canada he suffered a serious injury to his back and he spent many years in the hospital. Early in 1919 he was moved to the new Christie Street Hospital for veterans, where he met Margaret, and they were married on 15 April 1924. Between 1919 and 1939 Edmund spent about 13 years as a patient at Christie Street Hospital. He was called ‘Chappie’ and he became an institution in the rooftop ward, known for his cheerfulness and involvement in the social activities of the hospital, even though he spent most of the time on his back in a cot. During his periods at home he did light work as a lithographer and radio technician. Margaret quit her nursing job when they married and devoted herself to taking care of her husband. Edmund was admitted to Christie Street Hospital for the last time in July 1939 and he passed away three months later, on 11 October. He’s buried in a veteran’s plot in Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.
Not long after being widowed Margaret moved to Vancouver where she worked as a registered nurse. Her sister Bertha was married to a First World War veteran, John Thomas Holmes, and they lived in Seattle, Washington. Margaret retired sometime between 1955 and 1962 and she continued to live in Vancouver. She passed away in Seattle on 6 April 1969, at age 81. Her funeral was held two days later and she’s buried in Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline, Washington. Bertha (1892-1980), her husband John (1888-1959) and their son John Patrick Holmes (1926-1998) (US Navy WWII) are also buried at Holyrood.
Canada’s Nursing Sisters are commemorated on the Nursing Sisters’ Memorial in the Hall of Honour at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo courtesy of Findagrave.com.