By Sarah Seeley
Nov. 11, 2014
War was a family affair for Charlottetown nurse Winifred Grace MacLeod.
She and her sister, Clair, served as nurses and her four brothers all were in the military overseas.
She graduated from the Presbyterian hospital school of nursing in New York in 1907. She moved to Vancouver in 1912 and headed up the social services department at Vancouver General Hospital, where she treated patients with post -traumatic stress disorder.
“I thought that was very ahead of their time a hundred years ago. They were saying these people were physically well, but physiologically they weren’t,” said retired Charlottetown nursing instructor Katherine Dewar, who is the author of a book about P.E.I. war nurses called Those Splendid Girls.
MacLeod was sent overseas in 1915 to Gallipoli and Salonika in Greece where half of the allied soldiers were becoming casualties. They were also infected with illnesses like typhoid, malaria and dysentery, said Dewar.
“There were a lot of sick people and no nurses.”
She kept tending patients despite being infected with chronic dysentery and her nursing compound being bombed three times, said Dewar.
“She’s one of those nurses who kept going on and she had a remarkable time. She saw all the major battles from the war.”
When MacLeod returned home from the war, she became the second public health nurse on P.E.I.