This Week in Canadian History January 1-7, 2017: Georgina Pope

Georgina Fane Pope, Canadian nursing sister in South Africa, November 1899 – December 1900; January – June 1902.

On 1 January 1862 Georgina Fane Pope was born in Prince Edward Island. Her father, William Pope, is one of the fathers of Confederation. Being born into a wealthy family, you would imagine that a woman of this time period would be satisfied with a marriage fitting her station and living as a socialite. But Georgina decided to go another route.

Instead she went to New York to study nursing at Bellevue Hospital. She remained there until 1899, when she volunteered for nursing duties in the Second Boer War. With the rank of lieutenant, she was senior sister of three other nurses in Cape Town for five months. After that, she and another nursing sister went to Kroonstadt and took over running a military hospital there. With severe shortages of food and supplies, they cared for 230 patients suffering from entric fever.

In 1901, she received with two other nurses war service medals from the Duke of York, later King George V.

In 1902 she returned to South Africa, this time stationed at Natal. She was senior sister of  8 nurses. She returned back to Canada that same year.

In 1903 she was the first Canadian to receive the Royal Red Cross.

In 1906 she began working at the Garrison Hospital in Halifax as a permanent member of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. In 1908 she was made the first Matron in the CAMC\’s history. She designed and oversaw the training programs for army nurses.

At the age of 55 and in poor health, she went to Ypres in 1917 and was in Europe until 1918.

Georgina died 6 June 1938. She was granted a full military funeral. She is buried in the People\’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Headstone of Georgina Pope. Source:

You can read about Georgina here:

Canadian War Museum

Collections Canada

Canadian Encyclopedia

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