Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 20, 1894
Place of BirthKitchener, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Alfred David Vice (mother), 208 Victoria Street, Kitchener, Ontario
Trade / CallingNursing
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionNo. 16 Canadian General Hospital
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentToronto, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 10, 1917
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 31, 1982
Age at Death88

Vice, Evelyn

Nursing Sister Evelyn Jemima Vice was born on 20 January 1894 in Berlin (now called Kitchener), Waterloo County, Ontario. Her parents were Alfred David Vice and Sarah Catherine Hamilton. Alfred, a skilled machinist, was born in London, England and Sarah in St. Mary’s, Perth County, Ontario. They were married in St. Mary’s in 1887. Evelyn had three older brothers, Alfred Henry, Richard Edward and Wilbert Golden. She was followed by three more children: Wilbert Gordon, Margaret Grace and George Hamilton. When the 1901 census was taken the family was living in Elmira, just north of Berlin. They were still there for the 1911 census and Evelyn was listed as a student nurse in a hospital. Sadly, her brother Wilbert died in 1897, at age 5, and Richard drowned in 1913, at age 23. They are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener.

Evelyn graduated from the Toronto General Hospital School for Nurses in 1916, at age 22. Afterwards she was hired by the Hospital to work in their Social Service Department. The department had been created in 1911 to provide in-home medical follow-up and counseling assistance for patients from the hospital. The war entered its third year in August 1916 and Evelyn signed up as a nurse on 10 March 1917. She sailed to England on the SS Letitia on 27 March and served with a British nursing unit, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS). Evelyn spent almost a year in France with the QAIMNS before returning to England. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps in London on 27 March 1918. She was commissioned as a Nursing Sister and assigned to No. 16 Canadian General Hospital in Orpington, Kent.

Evelyn served at the hospital until the end of September 1918. She was given leave starting on 1 October and on 17 October she resigned her commission in order to get married. Her husband, Murdoch (Murdo) Nicolson, was a Canadian soldier from Kenora, Ontario. He had enlisted in August 1914, when the war started, and he served in France and Belgium with the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles) and No. 3 Canadian Field Ambulance. He suffered gas poisoning twice, in April 1915 and August 1917. Murdoch returned to England in February 1918 in order to train as an officer in the Royal Flying Corps. Once in England, however, he remained with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was assigned to No. 1 Reserve Company. In August he was given permission to marry.

Evelyn and Murdoch were married in Bromley, Kent on 18 October 1918. Their marriage was announced in the December issue of the Canadian Nurse and Hospital Review. Murdoch served in the UK for another four months and he and his wife sailed for Canada in February 1919. Their arrival in Kenora was mentioned in the Kenora Miner and News on 15 March. Evelyn was awarded the British War Medal for her service and in December 1919 she received a war service gratuity of $273.00.

Evelyn and Murdoch had two children, Murdo Hugh Gordon (December 1919) and Phyllis Rhoda (1921). When the 1921 census was taken the family was living in Kenora and Murdoch was a clerk for the CPR. Sadly, Evelyn’s brother Gordon died in 1921 and her sister Grace in 1932. They are buried with their brothers Wilbert and Robert and parents Alfred (1868-1935) and Sarah (1868-1961) in the family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener, Ontario.

By the early 1930s Murdoch and Evelyn had moved to British Columbia and taken up farming in Port Kells, on the outskirts of New Westminster. In 1963 they were living in New Westminster with Evelyn listed as a nurse and Murdoch in real estate. Murdoch also spent some time as a motel owner/operator. By 1965 he was retired and they were living in White Rock. Their son Murdo died in Vancouver in 1975.

Murdoch passed away in White Rock on 19 July 1977. Evelyn died in a retirement home in Vancouver on 31 March 1982, at age 88. Both were cremated. Their daughter Mrs. Phyllis Rhoda Hobbs passed away in White Rock in 1999.

By Becky Johnson
Photo of Evelyn courtesy of City of Toronto Archives (Series 1201, Subseries 5, File 29)

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