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Katherine Dewar

Called to Serve: Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine—Katherine DewarThe newest book from Island Studies Press at UPEI, Called to Serve: Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine, will be available in bookstores in mid-May. It is being launched in Charlottetown at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House on May 24, at 7 pm. The Summerside launch will be June 24 at 2 pm, at the Eptek Centre.

Georgina Pope (1862-1938) of Summerside, PEI, was a pioneer in Canadian military nursing, whose critical roles as a nursing leader in the Boer War and the First World War have led to her recognition by historians as “Canada’s Florence Nightingale.” She is one of 14 heroes honored with a bronze bust at the Valiants Memorial at Confederation Square in Ottawa. The Canadian Mint produced a $5 coin bearing her image, and she has been recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board.

Pope was the first nurse to ever lead Canadian nurses into a foreign war, the first Canadian nurse to receive the Royal Red Cross 1st Class Medal, the first nurse enlisted into the Permanent Army Medical Corps after its creation and the first Matron of the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

This new book by Katherine Dewar delivers history on the risk and rewards of military nursing in the early 20th century. It details Georgina Pope’s path to power, addresses the significance of her privileged and powerful lineage, the influence of her parents on her world view, and the inspiration of Florence Nightingale who invoked in Pope a “burning desire” to become an “army nurse” in a faraway land.

The story takes us from Georgie’s rather sheltered life in Victorian PEI to the “Boston States,” to the dangerous and primitive conditions she experienced as Superintendent of nurses in two South African Wars; to her work in the formation of the nursing component of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (PAMC); and to the battlefields of Europe during the First World War.

Katherine Dewar is the author of the award-winning book, Those Splendid Girls: The Heroic Service of Prince Edward Island Nurses in the Great War, 1914-1918 which was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, and was chosen Publication of the Year by the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, and the City of Summerside’s Heritage and Culture department.

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