Going back over recent stories here, you will also find covered the heroism of Canada's own Lehna Higbee, Chatham New Brunswick born, a nurse and administrator who went on to do incredible deeds in WWl with the US Navy. So incredible that she became the first woman ever to be awarded the US Navy Cross. She even had a ship named in her honor, and another to be built and to be commissioned a few years down the road.
Today's story is about Beatrice MacDonald who was born in 1881. After high school she escaped what was no doubt a full household with 9 other siblings, and headed off to New York's Hospital School of Nursing. (below)
She then returned to the New York area and became a nurse and manager in the offices of surgeon George E Brewer.
The nurses were well known for their bravery at the time. They nevertheless felt more comfortable knowing that all the tents were clearly marked with large red crosses and one in front of the camp standing some 40 ft. high and 30 ft. wide. While lighting was obviously kept at a minimal, the crosses were given enough light to show the planes overhead that the area was clearly a hospital setup.
But that was not enough. It was during the 3rd Battle of Ypres when the German planes started circling overhead, and soon started to swoop down of the hospital tents. Several bombs were dropped and there is even a report existing that said that an enemy plane swooped across the area and was using a machine gun to shoot down any casualties trying to seek cover, some even naked, and of course the medical staff trying to get them back under cover.
It was 17 August 1917, and on that date. the tent that many of the nurses were sleeping in that MacDonald had to leap to grab her helmet... but it was too late. She was hit in the head by shrapnel, and while treated on sight, was shipped off to another facility but not expected to live. A night cook was standing just 20 ft away from her and was..."blown to pieces."
Here's some news coverage back at her home of NY City...
Months later, in January of 1918 Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, Commander of all of the British Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front, gave Beatrice a special mention in his dispatches. Most do not realize this but a MID is in fact a medal for bravery.
The British Government then went on to award Nurse Beutrice MacDonald another medal according to America's commander of the Expeditionary forces of the USA at the Western Front.
Here is what that medal looked like at the time...
On Monday or Tuesday I will bring a follow up to make up for the lost blog of last week.
see you then,