There are four women on St. Mary’s Roll of Honour from the First World War, none of whom, fortunately, lost their lives in the conflict. One was a doctor, and the other three were members of the Territorial Force Nursing Service. This was a unit formed alongside the Territorial Force (later the Territorial Army) in 1911, and required women to have a recognised nurse training and three years’ experience, and not to be married. It appears, however, that any who married in the course of the war were not dispensed with until the war was over! All but perhaps one of our ladies had only a fleeting connexion, it seems, with St. Mary’s: they all led remarkably varied lives.
Dr Louise Fraser, RAMC
Louise Fraser was born in Rondebosch, South Africa, in 1891. She may have moved to Scotland with her parents or may have come here to study: we know that she graduated MB ChB from St. Andrews in 1916, joined the General Medical Council register in the same year, and immediately joined the Royal Army Medical Corps to serve in the theatre of Malta and Salonica. She remained there until 1919, and was for a time a hospital patient in Aberdeen. She was a house surgeon at Dundee Royal Infirmary and a resident medical officer at Manchester Children’s Hospital, graduating MD from St. Andrews in 1925. By 1935 she was Honorary Anaesthetist in the Northern Infirmary, Inverness, but in 1939 she was living in Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen. Returning north, she lived for a time in a house called Rondebosch. She died in St Vincent’s Home in Kingussie, in 1964, and her gravestone was erected by the Sisters of Charity ‘whom she tended for many years’.
Leslie Caroline Lippett TFNS
Leslie Lippett was born in Malta in 1880, to an English father and a Maltese mother. Her father appears to have served with the British Army. Three sisters followed born in Malta, and after the family moved to Aberdeen around 1887, to the barracks on Castlehill, another sister and brother were born. Leslie, as the eldest, was probably already training to be a nurse in helping to look after her siblings. When her father died, the family address was 26 Stanley Street, just next door to our present rectory. He was by then an army pensioner and commercial traveller, working for a soap manufacturer, but by the time war broke out he had been ill for nearly a year with stomach cancer. Again she was likely to have helped to nurse him, and registered his death at 3 Albyn Place, a nursing home, in November 1914. She seems to have served in France and Flanders. She registered as a midwife in 1923, living and working at Meadowbank, Cults, where she became matron before she retired. She died in Aberdeen in 1941.
Edith Mary Macfarlane RRC, Matron, TFNS
Edith Macfarlane was born in 1876 at Berrybank, Aberdeen, a largish house round about where Sainsbury’s is now at Berryden. She was the second of five sisters. Her father was a customs officer, and had married her mother in Cullen. The family moved around a good deal: in 1878 they were in Banff, in 1887 in Great Yarmouth, and 1891 in London. The family must have moved back to Aberdeen again, to Rubislaw, for it was there that her father died in 1903. In the course of what seems to have been an active life, Edith travelled to Canada, America, India, and the Philippines. In 1911 she was living in London, a matron in the Royal Ear Hospital, Soho. She served as matron through the war and afterwards lived in Chertsey, Surrey, continuing to travel the world. Her mother died in Rubislaw in 1929, and Edith herself, described as a Lady Hospital Superintendent in Kensington, died in Southwark in 1941.
Caroline Weir TFNS
Caroline Weir TFNS was born in Forgue in 1883, the daughter of a farmer, and trained as a nurse in the Royal Infirmary, Dundee, in 1910. By 1911 she was working as a hospital nurse in Milton, Lanarkshire, but on her registration with the Royal College of Nurses in 1917 she was living in Aberdeen in Richmondhill Road. In 1921 she emigrated to South Africa to work as a nurse, and there married Charles Cuthbert Stewart. They lived in Cape Town, where she died in 1974.