In the Hall of Honour in Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament Buildings is a memorial to the more than 2800 nurses who served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. These women were enlisted officers and served with a specially created all female rank of ‘Nursing Sister’. Their rank was considered relative to male officers and they received equal pay. However, the officers’ declaration papers had to be adapted by crossing out ‘his’ and writing in ‘her’ in the appropriate places. The nurses had the nickname of ‘Bluebirds’ because of the blue uniforms with white veils they wore. The Bluebirds cared for the wounded and sick soldiers who were suffering from life threatening diseases often under difficult and dangerous circumstances with great risk to their own personal safety.
Janet Jardine James was born in Clayton in Ramsay Township on September 9th, 1881. She completed her nursing training in Montreal and served most of the time she spent overseas during WW I in France. She was the daughter of Enoch James and Mary Jardine. Janet was an aunt of Thorpe Moulton. She enlisted at the age of 34 on December 24th, 1915. After the war, Janet returned to nurse in Montreal until her retirement in the early 1950’s.
The Middleville and District Museum has Janet’s ‘Bluebird’ uniform on display as well as her Officers’ Declaration paper. The Museum also has information about many other local nurses and their contributions both during and after the World Wars.
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.