100 Years Ago: “Gold Star Women” Nurses of World War I

Lithograph Poster. “Hold up your end!” War fund week poster; 1917, W.B. King, artist. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington D.C.

Nurses run in my family. My 2nd great-grandfather Aaron Webster was a nurse during America’s Civil War. My father’s sister, Anna (Webster) Watkins was a nurse, as was my sister, Kathi Webster. Close and dear first cousins also followed that selfless profession. None of them died in war time.

Many of the American nurses of World War I worked under the auspices of the American Red Cross, while still others were considered members of the U.S. army. They did not hold rank, nor did they receive any military benefits when the war ended.

They put themselves in the direct line of both danger from the bombs and poison gas, but also cared for highly contagious military patients. Their sacrifice cannot be stressed enough, and yet they received little or no recognition.  According to a newspaper article in a Lebanon PA edition of January 1919, over 200 WWI nurses died from influenza, that they contracted from caring for their soldier patients. 

National Nurses Week is celebrated this year from May 6-12 2017. To honor nurses everywhere, one must start with those who lost their lives practicing their profession.  The following newspaper article, in the  Asbury Park Evening Press of Friday, November 10, 1922, mentions by name those nurses who died during World War I. PLEASE NOTE: This list is not complete.  It is a partial list based on the information at hand by the author of the newspaper article.

Sheet Music Cover: I never believed in angels until I met you girl of the cross; 1918 monographic. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington D.C.

MEMORIAL LIST SHOWS 161 “GOLD STAR WOMEN” GAVE LIVES IN WORLD WAR.CHICAGO, Nov. 10 (AP)–One hundred and sixty-one names of “gold star women”–American girls who gave their lives in the World war–are found on the list made public today by the Women’s Overseas Service league, compiled as a feature to Armistice day. Most of them rest under French soil, some in far-off Siberia, Armenia, China and Manila, and others in England.” [Editor’s note: This list is now more than 161 as I have added names from other official lists].

Plans for a perpetual testimonial to the former service women of the American Expeditionary Forces were announced in connection with the list, which will be presented at the league’s convention here in June, next year, Chicago headquarters of the league said in the announcement.

“There is a handsome bronze tablet in the army and navy building in Washington, memorializing the mules and horses who died in the war, but nowhere in Washington is there found a record of the women who died–except army nurses–until we compiled it,” declared Miss Helen C. Courtenay, originator of the memorial movement.

Jane A. Delano, beloved head of the Red Cross nursing service, who died at Savenay, April 15, 1919; Marion Crandell, Y.M.C.A. canteener killed by a German shell at Chalons-sur-Marne, March 26, 1917; Winona C. Martin, killed in a Paris hospital by a bomb from a German air raider March 1918, and Ruth Landon, by a shell in St. Gervais church, in Paris; the Cromwell sisters, Dorothea and Gladys of New York, who came to a tragic end at sea Jan. 19, 1919, as they were about to set sail for home, and two other sisters, Viola and Ruth Lundholm of Petaluma, Calif., both army nurses, who died within six days of each other in October 1917, in different hospitals in France, are among the outstanding names.

12 nurses of Base Hosp[ital] no. 5 in London May 1917, Carrie M. Hall seated in chair, from Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, c/o Harvard University

Nettie Grace McBride and Edith Barnett are buried in Tumen and Tombsk Siberia, and Edith Winchester in Erivan, Armenia. Their home addresses and those of Nina Louise Seymour, who died in Toule, France, and Alice A. Ireland, in Base Hospital No. 101, and information of other women who died in the service is being sought by Miss Irene Givenwilson, curator of the American Red Cross museum in Washington, chairman of the memorial committee.


Following is the list of “gold star women.” Cities named are those given as emergency addresses when the women sailed for France.

[Editor’s Note:  In October of 2019 I discovered two more lists of  Army and Navy nurses, in the The American National Red Cross Annual Report, recruited through the Department of Nursing of the American Red Cross.  They were Red Cross nurses, dietitians, or nurse’s aides  engaged in Red Cross work, who died or were killed in service from the time the United States entered the war up to June 30, 1918. These additional names are marked with a “+” and the second group who died or were killed in service during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1919 are marked with a double “++” .  In October of 2023 I discovered an additional list of Chicago Illinois-area nurses who died during WW1 who are marked with a “#.” Note that the names that were already in this news article that also appear on the two additional lists will not have the added cross or pound sign appended. These individuals are buried in various cemeteries in Europe and in the United States.]

Phoenix–Hazel E. Morton++

Altaville–Elizabeth F. Lee.
Bakersfield–Inez E. Reed++
Hazel Brandon++
Cupertino–Teresa E. Rodgers++
Dos Palos–Ida Henrietta Vietmeier | 2nd listing

Fort Jones–Maud Evans.
Fullerton–Patricia L. Byron+
Glendale–Emma M. Franklin++
Hollywood–Pauline H. Field; Mary Agnes Moore
Newman–Freda Russ++
–Ethel Marion Burk++, Drusilla Casterline++, Edna Hanley++
Petaluma–Viola E. Lundholm; Ruth W. Lundholm.
Lena Fuller+
Redlands–Maybelle Wellman++
San Francisco–Thelma Eisfeldt; Nellie G. Galliher.

Sana Anna–Cora M. Keech++(dietitian)
San Pedro–Nell Hurley++
Seabright–Marion Pearl Turner++
–Lydia Muriel Buck++

East Aylmer–Kathleen E. Symmes++
Greenfield, Ontario–Jennie McIntosh++
Lake Megantic–Sophia Ellen Morrison++
London–Daisey E. Wiggins++
Montreal–Cecelia E. Miller++

Peterboro, Ontario–Marion L. Overend+ (died in aeroplane/airplane accident)
St. CatherineLillian M. Murphy++
South Tilley–Anna A. Walker++
Toronto–Constance M. Caplain+, Ella Dalton++

Denver–Hattie M. Raithel.
Jarasa–Alma M. Erickson++#[Chicago IL]
Leadville–Clara/Clare M. Orgren.
Pueblo –
Phoebe Allen++

Waterbury–Alice J. Knight, Hazel Foster++
Plantsville [corrected from Plattsville, see comments]–Irene Mercedes Flynn [Find-A-Grave #1] [Find-A-Grave #2].
Plainville CT–
Monica Brock++
New LondonCatherine J. McGuire++
RockvilleMildred Metcalf++
New HavenHelen A. Moakley++
StamfordMary C. Nurney++

Wilmington–Ruth MacGregor.
Greenwood–Lillie May Owens++

Jacksonville–Bessie O’Brien.
Laura A. Baird++
San MateoMargaret Virginia Dickey (added from blog source)
TampaCora Belle Davis++

Decatur–Camille Louise O’Brien. [see the link for updated information. A special graveside ceremony was held on April 18, 2019 to honor her; buried Greenwood Cemetery, Atlanta GA.]

Nampa–Genevra Robinson. [buried Arlington National Cemetery]
Winchester–Norene Mary Royer [buried Riverside Park, Spokane WA]
Moscow, Idaho–Bertha C. Walker+

Andalulsia–Therese “Theresa” Burmeister [daughter of Ludwig Burmeister of Andalusia IL, born 30 June 1888 in Scott County IL; died 25 January 1919 at Great lakes Naval Training Station of pneumonia due to influenza. Her funeral was held at Trinity Cathedral with burial in Fairmount Cemetery, Davenport Iowa. Members of the 9th Ordnance Guard of the Rock Island arsenal were pall bearers. ]
Aurora–Mrs Alma Rogers#
Beardstown–Dorothy Wessel++
Beecher City–Geneva Castevens/Casstevens/Casstevenes [Springfield IL].
Chicago–Lucille Pepson [editors note: The newspaper is incorrect, this is Lucile/Lucille Pepoon#, buried at Etaples Military Cemetery per her obituary; cenotaph in Chicago IL].
Chicago–Miss Alice Belling#; Mrs. M. Engstrom# (Home Defense Nurse); Miss Margaret England#; Miss Ethel Knapp# (Home Defense Nurse); Carmelita/Carmelite O’Connor; Miss Marguerite O’Connor#;  Antoinette W. Lippold., Ora Margaret Gore+#, Curry D. Breckenridge+#, Alice Lea++#; Hilga Ophaug++; Mrs. Frederick W. Tice#;
Chicago Heights–Helen G. Sage++#;
Decatur–Florence Anne Hinton.# [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 12, Europe] [buried Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur IL]
Dixon–Ruth Seavey++#
Evanston–Frances Poole++#
Evanston–Helen Burnet Wood. – killed aboard the U.S.S. Mongolia
Kewanee–Miss Charlotte H Williams#
Neponset–Hester Marie Girvin++#
Unknown (Not in original newspaper article, added by blog editor) — Edith Wood, Emma Matzen.
Virginia–Nellie [should be Nelle] Robertson*.

Frankton–May Berry.
Roanoke–Grace G. Buell.
Lebanon–Grace Copeland.
Washington–Crystal E. McCord.
Jeffersonville–H. Mary Rapp.
Ethel O. Leach++
LaFayette–Florence Le Claire++
South Bend–Mrs. Mary M. Sebastian++

Carroll–Kathleen C. Kennebeck.
Cedar Rapids–Pauline A. Quigley++#
Council Bluffs–
Ruby Smith; Barbara L. Seiler++#; Hortense E. Wind++(dietitian)
Edgewood–Ruth Cutler; Elsie May Hatch.
Emmetsburg–Katherine T. Kane
Fort Madison–Dorothy E. Koellner.
Rose E. Buman++# [Omaha, Nebraska]
Iowa City–
Miss Rowena B. Spence#
Edithe G. Becker++
Ottumwa–Amber R. Story++#
West Liberty–Elsie Davis [Elsie died in a hospital at Pittsburgh PA due to pneumonia which followed influenza. She graduated from West Liberty High School with the class of 1894 and had been a nurse for many years. She volunteered for Red Cross work and was placed in the Pittsburg Institution. She is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, West Liberty IA]
West Liberty–Ella M. Noring++ [Ella M. Noring, b 17 Nov 1891 in IA, daughter of Joseph & Helena (Gall) Noring. She died at Camp Merrit, NJ where she was waiting for transportation to France. Buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, West Liberty IA.]

Castle Town, Roche, Ireland–Helena Courtney++

Abilene–Grace W. Hershey.
Lottie Hollenbeck+
Etta Coover++ – her name can be found on the Thomas County, Kansas Veterans Memorial
Ogallah–Ruth B. Farney++
MarquetteEdith B. Hokanson++
Sawyer–Alberta I. Weigner++

Eddyville–Katherine P. Irwin*.
Louisville–Mrs. Hattie B. Hayes++

Shreveport–Julia Lide++
Cravens–Jessie R. McDowell++  [published notice showed name as Jesse incorrectly]

Andover (or Norway)–Frances E. Bartlett.
Presque Isle–
Pearl Pennington+
Bar Harbor–
Helen Frances Donovan++[per newspaper reports she graduated in May 1918 from New Rochelle NY hospital where she has taken the full training course for nurses. On Oct 2, 1918 the newspapers announced that she was the second nurse to die at Fort Dix from influenza contracted while working there, and that her remains were sent home to Bar Harbor Maine where her mother lived]. Houlton–Miss Josephine Aberethney; Violet E. Robinson++ [The daughter of Wesley Robinson of Houlton, Maine, she was a graduate of the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence RI and was an assistant and superintendent of the Augusta General Hospital and the Gardiner General Hospital in Maine. ]
Jessie B. Mariner++
Rockland (or Portland)
–Jane B. Mercer++
Winthrop–Mary Frances Emery++

Baltimore–Daisy Adams, Charlotte A. Cox and Grace Bell(e) Micheau;
Govanstown–Marie Antoinette Moss++
Arlington–Cornelia Price++

Amherst–Elizabeth Stearns Tyler.
Boston–Anna Walker.

Cambridge–Helen M. Burrage.
Chelsea–Mary C. Burke.
Dorchester–Grace L. Malloch.
Fitchburg–Elizabeth O’Connor and Priscilla Alden Crocker | News story about both [NOT in original newspaper article, added by the blog editor]
Foxboro–Meda Morse++(dietitian)
Mattapoisett–Florence “Lizzie F” Eastman++
Middleboro–Nina Louise Seymour. -died in Toule, France.
Needham–Mrs. Charles McDonald.
Roxbury–Anna K. Welsh; Evelyn Jane De Mers.
Sheffield–Maud Victoria Kells. [Miss Maud V Kells, 27, United States army nurse, of Pittsfield, died recently of influenza in Winchester, Eng. She enlisted August 1 as an army nurse, was sent to Camp Devens and after one month’s training there received her passports for service abroad. She was stricken ill soon after sailing from an Atlantic port and was ill during most of the trip across. Miss Kells was an only daughter of Mr and Mrs. Abraham Kells of Canaan, Ct, and for four years prior to her enlistment in the service had lived with Mr and Mrs. William R. Hagyard of 203 Bartlett Avenue, Pittsfield. She graduated from the Henry W Bishop memorial training school for nurses in Pittsfield in 1915. Miss Kells is the first Pittsfield woman to die in the service.– Springfield Republican, Tuesday 5 Nov 1918, Springfield MA]
Somerville–Katherine V. Golden; Gertrude O’Connor.
Somerville–Gertrude O’Conner++
Swampscott–Alice O. Potts [born 8 Aug 1887 in Lynn Massachusetts, daughter of John Alven & Julia Esther (Barnstead) Potts. She is buried in Swampscott Cemetery, Swampscott MA. American Red Cross Nursing Service. Enlisted September 1918. Died November 16, 1918 at Monessen, Pennsylvania of influenza, while in service of the Red Cross Emergency Hospital. On Swampscott MA Honor Roll. ]
Springfield–Margaret Bailey.

Truro–Blanche Newton Small  [U.S. Army Base Hospital, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia] *Not found on original list, editor has added*
Mary E. O’Connor++
Olive Norcross++(dietitian)

Detroit–Mabel A. Ragan; Charlotte Schonheit.
Blanchard–Hazel E. Babcock.
Battle Creek–Alice V. Murphy.
Buchanan–Gladys N. Lyon.
Emma M. Butler+#[Chicago IL]
Crosswell–Miss Mable A Ragan#
Jackson–Hattie M. Newkirk+
Fannie/Fanny May Erickson++
Grand Rapids–
Florence G. Hankinson++#; Vera M. Rockwell++#
Anna Elvina Larsen++# [Chicago IL]
Royal Oak–
Margaret I. Parr++
Bay City–Goldie N. Travis++#
Gaylord (or Flint)–Mayme L. Wright++#

Duluth–Lydia V. Whiteside.
St. Hilaire–Nora Emelie Anderson.
Montevideo–Esther Amundsen/Amundson.
North St. Paul–
Mary H. Cummings++
St. Paul–Anna Marie Dahlby++
Effie A. Larsen++
Roscoe–Clara H. Sauer++
Kasson–Julia Stenstad++

Biloxi–Katherine Dent.
Carollton–Margaret Eleanor Kerin.

Queen City–Katherine Hoffman.
St. Louis–
Mrs. Catherine W. Cecil+
Margaret Eleanor Keirn++
Ina E. Klinfelter++

Omaha–Maude Mae Butler; Marion G. Crandall [YMCA volunteer, killed by enemy shell in March 1918 at Ste. Menehould, France, also credited to Alameda California]; Miss Ada E. Fisher#
Lincoln–Helen M. Sargent++

–New Hampshire.–
Concord–Lucy N. Fletcher*
Exeter–Katherine Irwin/Erwin+
Portsmouth–Evelyn V. Petrie+

–New Jersey.–
Newark–Esther Slocum; Florence L. Athay.
Jersey City–Catherine McGurty; Mary Norton++
Cresskill–Margaret Worth*.
Haddon Heights–Elizabeth H. Weimann.
Madison–Annabel S. Roberts [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 2 British Expeditionary Forces, France]
Summerville–Emma E. Menn; Elizabeth McWilliam.
Swedesboro–Grace Mabel Lowe++
Trenton–Matilda F. Wells++
Elizabeth C. McWilliams++(Red Cross Nurse’s Aide)

–New York.–
Fredonia–Annie Maria Williams.
Onconta–Fannie Scatchard.
Holland–Florence H. Trank.
Buffalo–Magdalena/Magdelene M. Volland
Albany–Gertrude Valentine.
Clyde–Marjorie R. Vrooman.
New Rochelle–Lorraine Ransome.
Brooklyn.–Alive Cunningham Rogers; Winifred L. Heath.
New York City–Edith White; Frances Moeschen*; Edna McCauley; Sophia Haarman; Dorothy Hamlin; Dorothea Gay; Ruth Landon; Dorothea Cromwell; Gladys Cromwell; Anna/Anne McBreen; Edith Barnett; Rose Kaplan+, Frances McCulloch+, Florence Beatrice Graham++, Mary Healy++
Norwich–Mary K. Cairns/Cairnes.
Suffern–Florence W. Campbell.
Rockville Center–Winona Caroline Martin.
Rochester–Blanche A. Rowley.
Elmira–Mabel R. Morey.
Canadaigua–Marsha D. McKechnie.
Palmer Falls–Alice Hagadorn.
Philmont–Katheryne [Katherine] E. Greene
Nyack-on-Hudson–Charlotte S. Stagen/Stegen+/++
–Louise E. Byrne++
North Bergen–Anna Clements++
Canandaigua–Katherine Connelly++
Flushing LI–Grace M. Falkinburg++
Hempstead LI–Magdalene Ficken++
Hastings-on-Hudson–Beatrice May Gorman++# [Chicago IL]
New Rochelle–Daisy Kirketerp++
Middletown–Rose Kirkwood Young++
Bloomsburg–Irene I. Jury++(dietitian)

–North Carolina.–
Charlotte–Felicita W. Hecht.
Morgantown–Ettie M. Perkins++

–North Dakota.–
Golden Valley–Sabra Regina Hardy.
Lisbon–Florence Kimball.
Mabel Christenson++

Attica–Edith Ayres/Ayers. Killed 20 May 1917 in an accident aboard the USS Mongolia, enroute to France. 
Dayton–Jeannette Bellman.
Springfield–Helen J. Courtney; Louis Linn++.
Cincinnati–Ella Maescher.
East Liverpool–Elizabeth L. Russell.
Cleveland–Anna E. Whitely+
Decatur–Eva Emmons++
New Richmond–Eunice Jennings++
Toledo–Margaret Kulhman++
Willoughby–Laura O. McGrath++
Cincinnati–Ella Maescher++
Columbus–Aurora Parry++
Circleville–Garnet O. Peck++
Steubenville–Eva Taylor++

Oklahoma City–Emma Kotte++
Norman–Caroline Rose Walch++

Hillsboro–Ima L./I.l Ledford.

Akron–Anna E. Kemper++
Allentown–Mary Ellen Appel; Anna Marie McMullen#[Chicago IL]; Meda L. Hertzog++;
Bellevue–Alice L./M. Thompson++
Bellwood–Ethel May Goshorn++
Bloomsburg–Meryl Phillips+
Bradford–Estelle A. Knapp++
Carbondale–Phyllis Turner++
Chambersburg–Mary E. Minick++
Clearfield–Judith Viberg++
DuBois–Elizabeth M. McNerney++
Duryea–Elizabeth Metcalf++
Elizabethtown–Amy Treicher++
Germantown–Anna M. Murphy++
Landsdowne–Mary C. Stevens.
McKeesport–Esther Yochelson.
Media–Alice A. Ireland
McDonald–Margaret Grimes++
Philadelphia–Marion H. White; Nellie J. Ward, Lydia D. Shrope+; Marie L. Hidell++; Maud Amelia Munn++; Edna E. Place++; Edith M. Winchester++; Marion White++(Red Cross Nurse’s Aide)
Pittsburg–Katherine Joyce++
Pottstown/South Pottstown–Harriet L. Kulp.
Ridgeway–Claire/Claire Agnes Ledden/Leddon; Florence M. Young++
Schickshinny–Gladys Watkins.
Scranton–Eugenia C. Hosie, Theresa V. Collins++
Sewickley–Virginia Branum.
Shreveport–Julia Lide.
Summerville–Jessie P. Baldwin.

Trout Run–Lillian F. Cupp++
Watsontown–Helen Fairchild.
  [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 10, Casualty Clearing Station, Europe]
Waynesboro–Mattie Good++
Yardley–Miriam Knowles.
Yardley–Miriam E. Knowles+
York–Jeanette Zinn.

–Rhode Island.–
Providence–Caroline H. Christman., Florence Thorpe+; Constance Martin++; Marie E. Trimble++
[Notes: both Constance Martin and Marie Elisa Trimble** (See end of post) were Reserve USN Nurses who were working at the Base Hospital No. 4 in Providence Rhode Island at the time of their deaths. Constance Martin died  17 Sep 1918]
Pawtucket—Henrietta I. Drummond.
Manville–Teresa M. Murphy* [credited to New Hampshire]

–South Dakota.–
Lead–Edith June Cattles++
Redfield–Naomi Templin++

Casa Blanca–Kate Dodson++
Austin–Alma M. Furr++
Hico–Myrtle Grant++
San Antonio–Elina Winson Hill++
Pontotoc–Mamie Jones++

Burlington–Luella Matilda Wheeler.
Bellows Falls–
Lillian Ward++

Achilles–Cornelia E. Thornton.
Charlottesville–Anna Dade Reveley.
Clifton Forge–Victoria R. Good++
Petersburg–Mrs. Felicita Hecht++
Clarksburg–Lucinda L. Rose++

Seattle–Tilda A. Thorkelson; Mrs. Jessie Chisholm; Alice Stevens Drisk; G. Mary Welsh++
Elberton–Mary Peoples++
Emma J. Thorsen++

–Washington, D.C.–
Erma L. Shaw; Jane Minor Hendricks; Jane A. Delano, Mabel E. Eichhoff+; Olive Schureman++

–West Virginia.–
Charleston–Rose A. Young+ [her sister was living in Charleston, W.V. at the time of Rose’s death.  She was born in S. Carolina and died in a army camp in Mississippi.]
Clarksburg–Lucinda L. Rose.
Alice M. Young++
Gormania — Charlotte A. Cox [not on original list, added by editor].

Milwaukee–Edith Janet Bailey+; Miss Charlotte H. Baenen#
Ashland–Nellie M. Dingley*.
Gilmanton–Eileen L. Forrest.
Lodi–Elma Groves.
Lake Geneva–Elizabeth L. McDonald.
Richland Center–Dorothy Beth Millman.
Alma–Orma A. Schreiber.#[Chicago IL]
Amy L. Bishop++#
Eau Claire–Anna M. Cosgrove++
Gilmanton–Eileen Forrest++
Baraboo–Mary Thomas++

[end of news article]

Not mentioned in the list above include:
Three nurses who won the Navy Cross.
— [Same nurses, different story]

Memorial photograph from The Pean, the 1919 graduate yearbook of Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter New Hampshire.

I have linked to 3 of the above nurses, i.e. Lucy N. Fletcher, Katherine P. Irwin, and Teresa M. Murphy, who all had ties to New Hampshire and about whom I wrote detailed stories. Other noted WWI nurses are shown directly below.

New Hampshire WWI Military: U.S. Army Nurse Lucy Nettie Fletcher of Concord NH (1886-1918)

New Hampshire WWI Military: Army Nurse Corps Teresa Margaret Murphy of Concord NH (1891-1918)

New Hampshire WWI Military: Phillips Exeter Academy Infirmary Nurse Katherine Patterson Irwin (1870-1918)

Chief Nurse of WW1 Expeditionary Forces, Red Cross Chief Nurse Harvard Unit, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing Founder, National Association President and Pioneer of American Nursing: Nashua New Hampshire’s Carrie May Hall (1873-1963)

New Hampshire WWI Military: The Nurses of Base Hospital No. 6 aka “The Bordeaux Belles”

Manchester New Hampshire Teacher, WW1 Red Cross Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Women’s Rights Advocate, Civic Leader, Clubwoman: Elena Mae (Crough) Lockwood (1884-1962)

Please note that there were other nurses who died during WWI who were not sent to Europe, but who volunteered in state-side military hospitals.  One such nurse was Marion Pearl Turner, who died of influenza on Mare Island, San Francisco.   Another was Jane “Jennie” McIntosh of Canada and Laconia, New Hampshire who died of influenza at Rock Island Arsenal, IL.  If you know of others I will include them here.

I hope that you celebrate National Nurses Week in a fitting way. You can thank a nurse in your family, a neighbor, a friend. Or you can pause to remember a nurse who has died in WWI or in any war. Just speak aloud one of their names with reverence and gratitude.



World War One: The many battles faced by WW1’s nurses (BBC News)

Military Nurses in World War I

10 Greatest Nurses of WWI | Repeat Story in British newpaper

They Gave Their Lives (Nurses from the Civil War to Today)

American Women in WWI

RESEARCH: U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine: Nurse Corp Cards

[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I.  Look here for the entire listing].

2nd Editor’s Note:  I don’t think that the memorial referenced in this story was ever built.  I do know that now the United States has The Women’s Memorial–Women In Military Service that was asking for financial support in 2018. This memorial was conceived in 1985 and the groundbreaking was held in 1995.  [NOTE: as of 9 September 2018 this web site for public relations and fund raising has been taken down].

Third Editor’s note: additional information on Marie E. Trimble of Providence RI.  Maria Elisa Trimble, b 1883 Preston, Nova Scotia Canada. daughter of William T. & Anna (Bell) Trimble. Arrived in the U.S. About 1896/ In 1910 US Census boarding, a nurse in a hospital in Providence RI. She died 13 September 1918 in Providence RI, in the flu epidemic, aged 35 years. She was working at Base Hospital No. 4, Providence RI at the time of her death.]

This entry was posted in History, Military of New Hampshire, NH WW1 Military, R.I.P and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to 100 Years Ago: “Gold Star Women” Nurses of World War I

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of The Great War | Cow Hampshire

  2. In all the college history and literature courses I’ve taken that included WWI, nowhere were the deaths of these nurses mentioned! I feel a need now to learn more about what their war experience was like. Would you know of any literature (memoir, fiction, poetry) written from their perspective?

    • Janice Brown says:

      Liz, I have not really come across any poetry or literature written by these nurses. The Smithsonian Museum has some mention of nurses so you might start there. I recently posted a story about the Bordeaux Belles where the newspaper article details what the nurses experienced in just one hospital, and some of my other WWI nurse stories give you snippets of information. I’ll keep an eye out for diaries, poetry or any of their personal writings and let you know if I find some. As for this list of names–I came across it by accident, while researching one of the nurses and was aghast that no one seemed to know about them, so I profiled it here.

  3. Kathy S. says:

    Thank you for this article. My great-great aunt, Elma Groves, from Lodi, Wisconsin, is on the list. She was a nurse by profession and was with the Red Cross during the war. She died of influenza in France and is buried in a military cemetery there.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Kathy S., you should write a story about her! I’ll link it back to this list 🙂 You should feel so very proud of Elma.

      • Kathy S. says:

        Our family is very proud of Elma’s work and her sacrifice. I have pictures of her, as well as a pocket diary she kept during her training, her journey to France, and the short time period she was able to nurse before becoming ill with the Spanish flu. Like so many other young, healthy people who caught the flu, she succumbed pretty quickly. I’ve always wondered how her family reached the decision to leave her remains in France and not bring her home to the family burial plot in Lodi, Wisconsin.

        • Janice Brown says:

          Actually I have been researching an article about gold star mothers and discovered, to my surprise that for several years after the war ended, many women lobbied against having the remains of all soldiers returned from France. Several prominent gold star mothers spoke out against returning them, including one who had volunteered in Europe during the war. I won’t go into the gory specifics but dealing with the dead when the war ended was gruesome. People were concerned too that moving the bodies of those who died of the flu would create a second wave of the disease. Thousands and thousands had died in the United States, not just soldiers from influenza and associated disease. Others felt that their children would have wanted to remain with their station in Europe. Yet others were so grief stricken they didn’t want to deal with a funeral. See, its complicated.

  4. Pingback: Friday finds Week 18 – 2017 | Norwegian Genealogy and then some

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks for reporting on the important role that nurses played and the sacrifices they made in WW1. I am slowly re-entering the blogosphere as we have now returned from our trip!

    • Janice Brown says:

      Amy! welcome back. Thank you for allowing your friends to be virtual tourists with you as I saw the photographs you posted! And thank you for reading, as I know you have a great deal to catch up on.


    Thank you for this article. One correction: Irene Mercedes Flynn was from Plantsville, CT, not Plattsville.

  7. Patricia Corey says:

    Thanik you, Janice, for this article. In compiling cemetery transcriptions from Victoria County in New Brunswick, Canada, we came across the following stone: “Walker, Nurse Anna, born Jan. 21, 1877, died in France, June 15, 1919, while on active service with US Army, buried in France and reinterred at Arlington, Va. US, June 30, 19?.” From the photograph we have of the stone, the date of reinterment is not clear. I see that Anna Walker is on your list with a contact address of Boston. There was many connections back then so that is not unusual. I have long wondered about Anna’s story and what may have happened to her.

    • Janice Brown says:


      Anna A. Walker and her sister Margret immigrated to the U.S. in 1902 (according to info they gave to the 1910 US Census taker) and were both living at a boarding house on Huntington Avenue in Boston MA in 1910. Anna’s occupation was trained nurse so she head already graduated from nursing school by then.

      Her info at Arlington National Cemetery shows that she died 6/15/1919, and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on 6/30/1921 in Section 21 Grave 8. At the time she died bodies were first buried in the European country where they died (France in this case) and then after the war in 1921 families were asked in they wanted reburial in the U.S. or another country. I have a record that her remains were shipped home, which would explain the date of the burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

      The stone in Canada is a cenotaph, not sure if you are familiar with that style of tombstone. Many people who died in WWI have those if they were not buried close to home, but the family felt closer to them by having the engraved stone in the family lot too.
      While in Europe Anna A. Walker was assigned to Base Hospital No. 55 in Toul, France, and that is where she died. I did not pursue this more than a couple of hours, so I don’t know if she died from disease (which is a good probability) or from accident or something else. I can’t say for sure as a different woman I researched fell off a horse and was killed, so you just never know the reason.
      Hoping this info helps you! Was there something else you wanted to know about her?

      Janice Brown

      • Carolyn Dixon says:

        Anna was my great aunt. I am interested in how she was killed. Some say by accident in an ambulance, some by fire. It was also told that she died at Commercy, France. You say Toul, France. I want correct information as I am going to forward it to our provincial member of the Legislature. If you could clarify, I would be appreciative. Thanks!

        Patricia Corey — Are you a relative by any chance or just interested in compiling grave information?

        Carolyn Dixon

        • Janice Brown says:

          Carolyn, I am afraid I can’t add much more to what I have already told you. Toul was the location of the hospital where she served but of course after the Armistice and the actual fighting lessened or stopped many of the nurses and hospital staff were moved to other locations. It is entirely possible that she died at Commercy. Records of that time are scarce, sadly. As far as being related, I joke that I am cousin to everyone with my many genealogical connections, however I am not a KNOWN relative of Anna. I compile these records because no one else seems to have done it. I focus on women and nurses, because in my history writing both have always been a focus.

          • Carolyn Dixon says:

            Thanks Janice. I appreciate your prompt response. What you have said is more than I had for information.


        • Just interested in genealogy. We transcribed the South Tilley Cemetery and I was always curioius about Anna’s story.

  8. Holly says:


    Thank you for writing this beautiful article about nurses who have served in WWI. Even 100 years after,it is so important to remember and honor these ladies (and men) who served. My 3rd great cousin, Claire Ledden (Ridgway, PA) who is listed in those whom lost their lives in the war, nursing was a great opportunity for her. There weren’t many career options for women then and I like to believe this was something new for her. Anyway to help with the war effort and to do something bigger than herself.
    Very interesting how you come from a family of nurses and how they helped in the history of our wars. They really are the unsung heroes of war.

    Best Regards,

  9. Pingback: 2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN & WORLD WAR I | Cow Hampshire

  10. Barry-Jean Keiser says:

    My dad’s cousin (Elsie Mae Rothermel) was a nurse in WW1–in Nevers and Saveny. She was discharged on August 20, 1919, married Charles F. Wian and had three children. But died at age 36. I’ve often wondered if perhaps, her death was a result of something that happened in France.

  11. Pingback: Descendant of Rev. James MacGregor of Londonderry NH — World War One Heroine: Ruth MacGregor (1889-1918) | Cow Hampshire

  12. Pingback: Another Heroine of WWI: Pauline Hildreth Field (1885-1919) | Cow Hampshire

  13. Pingback: Lost Faces of WWI: More Gold Star Nurses | Cow Hampshire

  14. Pingback: Lost Face of WWI: Canteen Worker Nelle Robertson (1877-1919) of Virginia Illinois | Cow Hampshire

  15. Pingback: More Lost Faces of WWI: American Nurses Who Died in Europe | Cow Hampshire

  16. Pingback: A Nurse Hero of WWI: Elma Irene Groves of Lodi Wisconsin (1888-1918) | Cow Hampshire

  17. John L. Deuble,Jr. says:

    Writing a book on the history of Camp Cody NM. Five nurses died in the influenza pandemic. Identified four. (Hazel E.Morton, Mary Thomas, Daisy E. Wiggins, and Emma M. Franklin) Can you locate the fifth?

    • philip devlin says:

      The fifth nurse was named Mrs. John Laughlin, according to the Albuquerque Morning Journal article dated 18 November 1918. Additionally, Miss Franklin’s first name was “Erma” not “Emma.”

Leave a Reply