Somewhere in France

Somewhere in France

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Aftermath of War: Remembering Sadie St. Germain

Researcher Tony Murphy of Great Britain has kindly allowed me to post the story of Sadie St. Germain, which he put together with the help of members of the 'Canada at War' and 'Roots Chat' Forums. Her story is that of the most forgotten victims of the war--those who died a few years after the war from causes related to their wartime service.

Sadie St Germain was born July 21, 1884 in Hull, Quebec, Canada to Camille St Germain and Christine St Germain (nee McCallum). Her father was a Wood Contractor, born in France, and she had five siblings, Georgina, Elizabeth, Theodore, Bertha, Mable and, born later, another brother Milton.

No further personal details were discovered until 1905 when it appears that she emigrated to the U.S.A. and settled in Newburgh, New York as a lodger in a premises owned by an Eliza Rittenhouse. While there she trained as a nurse and recent research suggests that this could have been St. Luke’s Hospital, Newburgh, New York and apparently continued nursing in New York.

There is no indication as to when she returned to Canada but on 10th August 1916 she enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a Nursing Sister with the Overseas Expeditionary Force and sailed on 16th August on the S.S. Ascania arriving in England about August 26.

We do not know where she was initially posted when she arrived but it is recorded that she was hospitalized on January 3, 1917 with a Bronchial condition and apparently discharged on February 14 of the same year, possibly for a period of convalescence and was then, on 8th March, attached to the Kitchener Hospital, Brighton, Sussex, formerly a Workhouse (now Brighton General Hospital, East Sussex).

On September 18, 1917 she was posted to France and attached to the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples and remained there until 21st December 1918 when she was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital at Outreau then, on February 18, 1919, Sadie returned to England and was attached to 10th Canadian General Hospital at Brighton, Sussex, possibly part of the Kitchener Hospital mentioned above. Whether by choice or the reduction of staff in Europe, on May 13, 1919 she sailed on S.S. Northland to Canada arriving in Halifax on 23rd May and was demobilised on 26th May 1919.

Sadie settled in Ottawa in an apartment at 366 Laurier Avenue West where she died suddenly on May 3, 1923 aged 39 from Arterio Sclerosis, Tubercle in the lungs and Acute Pulmonary Odeema, the cause of death being officially attributed to her service.

Her funeral was a private function from her brother Milton’s residence at 122 Cartier Street, Ottawa.Sadie is buried in St James Cemetery, Hull, Quebec with an official Privy Council Canadian CWGC headstone.