Somewhere in France

Somewhere in France

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

VAD Death at the End of the War

The February 1920 issue of The Red Cross Journal included the short mention of the death of a voluntary Red Cross nurse: "We regret to announce the deaths of....Miss Aileen Powers-Peel of the Canadian Imperial Detachment." Aileen was one of five Red Cross deaths that month and she doesn't seem to have merited any further information about her background or how she came to die, at the 31st of December 1918, at only 25 years of age. Everything about Aileen seems to be a mystery. Colleague Bill May brought her to my attention following one of his frequent visits to Great War memorials. He sent me this photo, which piqued my interest and got me digging for more information:

Aileen Powers-Peel was born in Toronto in 1894. While there are almost no details of her early life easily available, it is known that she belonged to the Church of England and her parents were likely Allen and Annie Peel of Kent County, Ontario. During the war, Aileen did secretarial work for Canadian Red Cross Headquarters and was also qualified as a "chauffeuse" (driver). She appears to have taken some leave in April 1918, to return to Canada on the ship Mauretania. Her destination at that time was Ottawa, Ontario. Her next of kin at her death was Mrs. Cook, 31 Centre Street, Galt, Ontario. This was likely her sister. Aileen is buried at the Brookwood Military Cemetery, in Surrey, United Kingdom. If you know more about this nurse please write to me c/o this blog.

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