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Agnes Warner and the Nursing Sisters of the Great War

Agnes Warner and the Nursing Sisters of the Great War

Through ear-splitting, thunderous explosions and fearful eerie flashes in the distance, the nurses of the Canadian Army Nursing Service in World War I waited for the inevitable arrival of wounded soldiers. At the Casualty Clearing Houses, they worked at a feverish pace to give emergency care for bleeding gashes, broken and missing limbs, and the devastating injuries of war.

Exploring the many ways in which trained and volunteer nurses gave their time, talents, and even their lives to the First World War effort, Shawna M. Quinn considers the experiences of New Brunswick's nursing sisters — the gruelling conditions of work and the brutal realities they faced from possible attacks and bombings. Using letters, diaries, and published accounts, Quinn paints a complete picture of the adventurous young women who witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Great War.


A native of Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick, Shawna M. Quinn holds a BSc in biology-psychology (1999) and an MA in history (2006) from the University of New Brunswick. After earning the David Alexander Prize in 2004 for her undergraduate essay on a nineteenth-century school inspector, she began her graduate research examining the private and public priorities of inspectors for her thesis, "‘Sympathetic and Practical Men’? School Inspectors and New Brunswick's Educational Bureaucracy, 1879-1909" (2006). In a concurrent project, she surveyed the contributions of several women to the growth of New Brunswick's provincial museum, featuring their efforts online in a virtual exhibit entitled "Progress and Permanence: Women and the New Brunswick Museum, 1880-1980." One of these women was Nursing Sister Agnes Warner. Shawna's interest in history extends also to historical interpretation and preservation. She spent several seasons developing and leading educational support at Kings Landing Historical Settlement and is involved in the support and management of community museums through Queens County Heritage and the Keswick Ridge Historical Society. She currently lives in Upper Gagetown and works as an instructional designer.

174 pages
Pub date: October 29, 2010