Collecting Nursing History 52
Catherine Matilda Jamieson, 1885- 1967
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Catherine trained at Camberwell Workhouse Infirmary, from May 1911 to October 1914, and having been a temporary ward sister she left on 27th October 1914. The Infirmary became St Giles Hospital Camberwell in 1927; suggesting that the badge with her name and training date on was purchased retrospectively. Thereafter she had worked as a fever nurse, probably at the Western Hospital, Seagrove Road Fulham in March 1915 when she applied to join QAIMNS (R).
Catherine was pronounced fit for service in a medical examination held in March 1915; ‘In my opinion Miss Catherine Jamieson is in good health & of sound constitution.’3 By this stage her family had moved from Bexhill and were living in Acton, her father Reuben was workings as a mechanic. Catherine was posted to the Council Schools Military Hospital Aylesbury in May 1915, but had been on sick leave since November 1915, and was admitted to Vincent Square - the Nurses Hospital. In February 1916 she was granted a further two months sick leave, and having undergone a medical at Millbank her contract was terminated in May 1916.
Despite being pronounced fit for active service in March 1915 within one year Catherine was being retired on ill health grounds, with Mitral, ‘V.D.H.’; Valve Disease of the Heart; ‘It was not caused by Military service during the present war’.3 Catherine applied for a Silver War badge 1914-1920. These were issued to approximately one million men and women who were honourably discharged from the armed services due to injury or illness during WW1. Over two million people were eligible to apply for the award. The small circular badge, which is silver and inscribed around the edge with ‘For King and Empire, Services Rendered’.
However after a year of communication with the War Office regarding a pension, Catherine was employed at Chelsea Hospital, where she earned £37 per annum. Following a medical board at the 2nd London General Hospital in April 1918 Catherine was passed fit for general service.
The records have been tantalizingly culled; only part of the picture is given, as Catherine appears to recover to carry on working in Chelsea. Another anomaly, as well as the date on the St Giles Camberwell Infirmary badge is that her GNC badge is dated 1950, the badge is not marked as a replica. The GNC index also does not say that it is a replica badge. It seems that the staff records for Camberwell Infirmary, as it was known when Catherine trained there have not survived. As yet no contact has been possible with any surviving family members.
Catherine died in Bridge, a small village outside Canterbury in 1967, aged 82; she appears to have died intestate.5
1. The National Archives, 1891 England census, RG12/714, 74, 25, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk on 19 March 2015.
2. TNA 1911 England census, RG14/4722, 62, accessed via ancestry.co.uk on 19 March 2015.
3. TNA WO/399/4242, TNA 1901 England Census, RG13/ 875, 71, 22 accessed via ancestry.co.uk on 19 March 2015.
4. London Metropolitan Archives, H38/SG
5. http://search.findmypast.co.uk/silverwarbadges, accessed 11 April 2015.
© Sarah Rogers, March 2015.
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