As promised, on the fourth of each month up until the 100th anniversary of WWI, I will be posting a short bio of a Canadian nurse who died while on service overseas during WWI. Today I'm posting the first of these bios, a description of Nursing Sister Gladys Maude Wake, who died on May 21, 1918 of wounds received during the bombing of #1 Canadian Hospital, Etaples, France.
Gladys Maude Wake was born in Victoria, British Columbia on December 13, 1883. At the time of her enlistment in London on January 10, 1916, she was 5'1" tall, a tiny woman weighing 112 pounds. She was a graduate nurse, although the school she attended was not named in her military records. While overseas, she served at the Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Red Cross Hospital, #1 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Salonica, #4 Canadian General Hospital, and in England, #11 Canadian General Hospital. In October 1917, she joined #1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples.
Gladys was one of three Canadian nurses who were mortally wounded on May 19, 1918. That night, 15 German planes attacked Etaples. During a hellish two hours, 116 bombs were dropped over the hospital complex. The nurses' quarters of #1 Canadian General sustained a direct hit, scattering debris and setting it on fire. Wake was among those in the nurses' quarters when it was hit. As flames crackled around her, recognizing that she was unlikely to survive, Wake begged black-faced stretcher-bearers to leave her and save themselves. Despite her protests, they pulled her from the burning hut. Above them, German planes flew low, sending a spray of machine-gun fire among the rescuers. Wake eventually died of extensive damage to her legs and a fractured femur.