Lost Faces of WWI: More Gold Star Nurses

Photograph of nurse Grace Lee Malloch from a 1919 Massachusetts newspaper. SEE her story below.

In 2017 I posted a story about some of the World War I nurses (sometimes called ‘Gold Star Nurses’) who lost their lives in service.  I also wrote extensively about New Hampshire’s nurses, telephone operators and other women who gave up their lives in that war.  In this story I write about WWI nurses who do not have a New Hampshire connection, but who seem to have been forgotten.

The famed Walt Whitman wrote, “The marrow of the tragedy is concentrated in the hospitals. . . . Well it is their mothers and sisters cannot see them–cannot conceive and never conceived these things. . . . Much of a Race depends on what it thinks of death and how it stands personal anguish and sickness . . . .” —  Memoranda During the [Civil] War.

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GRACE LEE MALLOCH
( 1878 – 1919 )
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Boston Sunday Post of 27 June 1917 showing Harvard Unit nurses leaving for the war. In the back row, far right is Grace L. Malloch.

Grace Lee Malloch was born on 2 December 1878 in Sudbury MA, daughter of Ezra & Clara A. (Nutt) Mallock.  She had 6 siblings, two who had died relatively young.  Her remaining siblings were women who did not marry and have children.  And so any remaining family would be cousins related through her parent’s siblings. She graduated from Dorchester High School (with sister Clara) in June of 1898 per a Boston Herald newspaper notice. She was a nursing graduate of Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

The Gold Star Record of Massachusetts was a great source of information, stating: [Credited to Dorchester, MA]: MALLOCH, Grace Lee, Nurse: died 10 Jan 1919 [at Base Hospital 55, Toul] of disease. Called to active duty 27 April 1918 from civil life; assigned to Base Hospital, Camp Devens; trans. 30 July to Mobilization Station; 24 Aug. to Camp Hospital 33; 13 Sept. to Base Hospital 55; 17 Sep to Base Hospital 15; 4 Dec to Base Hospital 55. Overseas 26 Aug 1918. Born 2 Dec 1878 at Sudbury [MA], daughter of Ezra (born in New Brusnwick, died in 1914) and Clara A. (Nutt) Malloch; sisters of E. Louise Gertrude and Clara A. Nurse. Cited for conspicuous and meritorious service at Base Hospital 55The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of 1919 adds a bit more to the story, stating that Grace Lee Malloch was the only nurse in her unit to die, and that her cause of death was from influenza, a second resource stating she died of broncho-pneumonia which would have been the end result of the flu.

Cemetery in France where Grace Malloch is buried. The village church is shown in the background. Google Maps.

As my readers know I do my best to find the location of graves, and in Grace’s case it was important to do so, since there seemed to be some confusion.  A Find-A-Grave entry listed her burial place as unknown with her name misspelled (as Mallock).  Intentions were good with that listing, but it bothered me that her grave was unknown and might not be cared for.  I searched in the United States, though I did not find any documents showing that her body was returned after the War ended (most war dead were returned in 1921-1922, otherwise they remained buried in military cemeteries in Europe).

Grace Lee Malloch’s case was a different one.  I contacted the  Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester Massachusetts where her parents and some siblings are buried (on Mayflower Path).  The office staff kindly sent me a card showing all who were buried there.  Grace was not.  The grave-site record noted: There is a monument [a cenotaph] there bearing this inscription: “Grace L. Malloch, Born 1879 Died 1919 Buried in Toul-France.”  And so my hunt continued through the military graves of both American and British in the Toul, France region.  I discovered that someone named Kerry has posted on Ancestry UK all the graves during WWI at Base Hospital 55 where Grace died, and this notice was among them:” 55. Malloch, Grace L., Nurse, A.N.C., Base Hospital 55. Died, Jan. 10,1919, Broncho-pneumonia. Buried, Jan. 11,1919, at Village Cemetery (near church) at Ecrouves, M-et-M, France. Grave No. 206. Nearest relative, Mrs. Ezra Malloch (Mother), Dorchester, Mass.

It took a bit of work, but I discovered a database of French cemeteries, located this particular one, now called Cimetiere du Centre, located near the church
Eglise d’Écrouves.  Grace Malloch is buried in Sepulture MN-66.    As to whether anyone remembers her or if her gravesite languishes, I can only hope that someone places flowers on her grave from time to time.  I have now added Find-A-Grave listings for both her cenotaphand her actual grave with the correct spelling and data.

The History of Base Hospital 55 stated: “January 10, 1919. Miss Grace L. Malloch ANC., Assistant to the Head Nurse died of broncho-pneumonia. Miss Malloch was an unusually fine type of woman and nurse and her loss is keenly felt by Base Hospital 55. She was given a funeral with full military honors.”  The American Legion Monthly magazine, Vol 21, No. 5 November 1936 wrote about how the French people would take great care of the graves of Americans in their cemeteries, and specifically mentions “Grace L. Malloch, Nurse [is buried] in Ecrouves (Meurthe-et-Mosell) Cemetery” among them.

UPDATE 8/23/2019.  With the kind assistance of Nicolas Faucard, assistant for the Belleau Remembrance Museum in the village of Belleau, France, I was able to discover that indeed Grace Malloch is being remembered each year [SEE original newsletter, PDF with photo]
—-Transcription of article—-
Ville d/ Ecrouves. retrospectives 2012. Dimanche 11 novembre 2012.
Fleurissement par l’association d’ancients combattants AMC Ecrouves de la tombe de Grace MALLOCH, infirmiere decedee a Ecrouves, le 19 janvier 1919, des suites de maladie attrapee au contact des militaires soignes.
—-Translation to English—-
City of / Ecrouves. retrospectives 2012. Sunday, November 11, 2012.
Flowering by the association of veterans AMC Ecrouves of the tomb of Grace MALLOCH, nurse died in Ecrouves, January 19, 1919, of the consequences of illness caught in contact with the soldiers treated.

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JESSIE P. BALDWIN
(1887 – 1919 )
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Jessie Priscilla Baldwin was born 26 Jan 1887 in Summerville, Jefferson Co. PA, daughter of James & Mary Priscilla (Alexander) Baldwin, and grand-daughter of Alonzo & Eliza (Carrier) Baldwin.  She attended the local school near Summerville PA.  She attended and graduated on 1 Jan 1911 from Boston City Hospital, one of 48 graduates on that day.

She was assigned as a member of the Army Nurse Corps to the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. and in July of 1918 went to France, where she served with Evacuation Hospital No. 4. (and Base Hospital 7 at Joué-les-Tours, France).  She was cited for bravery when the hospital was shelled on Nov. 2, 1918 at Formerville, France. She died of pneumonia in the line of duty at Coblenz, Germany, while she was serving with the U.S. Army of Occupation.

View of Base Hospital No. 4 in France. From Album de la guerre: five hundred photographs, seventy drawings and thirteen articles, United States army. Base Hospital No. 4 / U.S. National Library of Medicine

Jessie’s service was credited to the District of Columbia as she had been working at Walter Reed Army Hospital at the time of assignment to Evacuation Hospital 4.  Jessie P. Baldwin is buried in her family’s plot at Carrier Cemetery, Summerville PA.  Her grave stone reads: “A M.C. Evac. Hosp No. 4. DIED IN COBLENTZ GERMANY.”

The Kittanning (PA) Simpsons Daily Leader Times newspaper of 4 Aug 1920 reported the following: “Brookville, Aug 2–Nearly 3000 persons attended the dedication of the Memorial plot and flag to the soldiers of Jefferson county, at Brookville yesterday. The memorial plot marks the site of the monument erected by the people of the county to the men and women who served the nation in the world war …..Mrs. M.M. Siar [Malcolm M], a sister of Miss Jessie P. Baldwin, A Red Cross Nurse who died during her service, broke ground for the memorial structure.”

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GERTRUDE J. “Annie G.” O’CONNOR
(1877 – 1919 )
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Gertrude J. O’Connor was born “Annie G. O’Connor” on 16 Oct 1877 at Cambridge MA, daughter of Cornelius & Mary A. O’Connor (both born in Ireland). She had two siblings: John W. O’Connor of North Cambridge MA and Ellen A. “Nellie” (wife of T.F. Danehy) of West Somerville MA.   She died in France on 9 February 1919 of spinal meningitis. Various newspaper and documentary evidence provide more details.

The Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts book states:  O’CONNOR, ANNIE GERTRUDE, Army Nurse, died 9 Feb 1919 in France of disease. Called into active service as nurse 21 June 1918; assigned to Mobilization Station; trans. 21 July to Base Hospital 7 (Joue-les-Tours). Overseas 21 July 1918. Born 16 Oct 1877 at Cambridge MA, daughter of Cornelius & Mary A. O’Connor (both born in Ireland); sister of John W. of North Cambridge and Ellen A. “Nellie” (wife of T.F. Danehy) of West Somerville. Attended Boston University, College of Business Administration. Nurse; graduate of Boston City Hospital.

Aerial (Airplane) View of Base Hospital No 7, Joue-les-Tours, France from Chapter XXIV, U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History.

American military who were severely gassed were transported by ambulance or truck to Evacuation Hospital No. 7 where Gertrude O’Connor was stationed, at Chateau Montanglaust in Joue-les-Tours (Point B) which had a total capacity of 1,100 beds and good facilities for evacuating patients by train to base hospitals further in the rear of the battlefield.  This hospital was mostly staffed by nurses and physicians from a Boston City [MA] unit under John Joseph Dowling.

Military Transport Passenger lists show Gertrude J. O’Connor as living at #100 Hyde Park Avenue in Boston MA, with her next of kin as friend, James J. Leahy.  Her rank is that of nurse for Base Hospital No. 7.  She departed New York City on 21 July 1918 aboard the ship Anchises.   A second record shows her in Southampton, England, departing there (probably bound for France) on 6 August 1918 on the ship Esiquibo.   She is buried in Oise-Aisne American cemetery in Picardie France.

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ADDITIONAL READING
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Video: Medical Department Base Hospitals in the Intermediate and Advanced Zones, 1918-1919 includes the hospital at Toul

The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Vol 2, Administration American Expeditionary Forces, 1927

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7 Responses to Lost Faces of WWI: More Gold Star Nurses

  1. Shawna M Rose Wickmark says:

    Thank you! I am also researching a story on a nurse

  2. Janice, many who read your blog know the amount of work you put into the research of your articles while others may not. I especially liked this post as you let us in on the research process for her place of burial.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Thanks Cathy for reading and commenting. Its true, I don’t often describe my research process as I tend to think people just want the story, not how I got there. In this case I struggled to find her burial place, it was important to me that I did. It is highly unusual for the nurses of WWI not to be removed to a military cemetery, and so now at least if someone wishes to find her, they know where her brave body lies.

  3. Luanne says:

    These stories made me very teary. What brave women!

  4. Amy says:

    I am so glad you were able to find Grace’s burial place. What a great piece of research and what a wonderful thing you have done to honor her memory. And that of all those who died or suffered in World War I.

  5. Pingback: 100 Years Ago: “Gold Star Women” Nurses of World War I | Cow Hampshire

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