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4. “Our common colonial voices”: Canadian Nurses, Patient Relations, and Nation on Lemnos

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Chapter Summary

In August 1915, the nurses of Canadian Stationary Hospitals (CSH) Nos. 1 and 3 disembarked on the tiny island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. Their first work was at a nearby Australian hospital, where hundreds of soldiers from Gallipoli lay ill with dysentery and enteric fever. Helen Fowld's comment speaks to the ambiguity of the Canadian nurses' position within the medical hierarchy. The Canadian nurses, marked by their accent, uniforms, and gender, rebelled against their assumed position as lesser: instead of, as women and colonials, being quiescent, complicit, and quiet, they added their "common" and shared female voice to "the general uproar", demanding better treatment for their patients and themselves. In this sense, "common" also carries the sense of many voices unified to create a shared power that denies their expected place. In 1914, when Britain declared war on Germany, the young Dominion of Canada was automatically at war.

Keywords: Canadian nurses; Canadian Stationary Hospitals (CSH); Gallipoli; Helen Fowlds; Lemnos



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