Myself as Sister Nancy Sparrow, a nursing veteran of the Great War, at Fort Edmonton Park.
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Hello: Nice to see you wearing the uniform of the Bluebirds. I reenact WWI as a Canadian stretcher bearer in support of Casualty Clearing Station No. 3 which is staffed by Canadian Nursing Sisters of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. You might enjoy having a look at the website. http://www.camcbluebirds.ca
I heartily approve! Your association sounds excellent. What end of the country are you based out of?
I am near St. Thomas, Ontario. The other three stretcher bearers are from St. Thomas, London, and Orillia (Ontario). The Nursing Sisters are from Windsor, London, Hamilton, and near Belleville / Kingston (Ontario).
How excellent! This photograph was taken while I worked as a costumed historical interpreter on 1920s street at Fort Edmonton Park (based out of, obviously, Edmonton). The uniforms were actually bought at auction in Calgary by our costumer from the Passchendaele movie when they were selling off the extras outfits and such after production ended, but she has constructed several other uniforms using them as a model afterwards. The apron and the wimple, of course, were fairly straightforward to construct.
Again, out of curiosity, how do the female members of your contingent go about securing their wimples? I tried to find out a historical way of doing it and ended up relying on putting my hair in a solid bun and securing the cloth (a square folded into a triangle, with the fold above my forehead) firmly underneath with a single safety pin, but I was never sure if there were better ways of doing so.
Interesting that your museum was able to purchase some of the Nursing Sister uniforms from the Passchendaele production. I had attempted to contact Wendy Partridge regarding those several years ago but never received a reply. I do notice that there are seven pair of buttons down the front of the uniform blouse when the originals had twelve. Otherwise it looks pretty good. Our uniform research was conducted by visiting museums in Ontario, such as the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and taking photographs and careful measurements and making concise reference notes.
The gals in my unit do struggle with keeping their heads covered. They tend to rely on bobbie pins I think.
I believe that we have eight rows of buttons, but I take your point! The shoulder pips I think may be artifacts, but I could be wrong. The belts buckles that we have are British in design, but were close enough for our purposes. I also recall being told that the costumer heard about the auction in Calgary at the last instant (not well advertised?) and had to scramble to get funding to acquire items for the park.
I also relied heavily on bobby pins! Such useful things.
Ah, yes, the War Museum does have a nursing uniform in a case as I recall! I think I remember hearing that they also do some costumed historical interpretation, including the role of a nurse. I may inquire.
Do any of the ladies use chatelaines for their scissors, watches, etc.? It’s something I was always keen to acquire but could never find no matter how many antique malls and flea markets I trolled through.
Our ladies don’t use chatelaines. I believe such an item pre-dates WWI. I know that was an item used by Florence Nightingale during her time and I was fortunate enough years ago to have seen it here on display in one of the hospital lobbies here in London (Ontario). Our gals do now each have a small nurses watch pinned to their uniforms. Our Matron (Commanding Officer of the Nursing Sisters and of our Casualty Clearing Station) presented the time pieces to each of the Sisters this fall at our big reenactment event down in Pennsylvania. We take part in that twice a year.
Thank you for the information! I know that chatelaines were more popular in the Victorian era, but I seem to remember seeing a photograph of a graduating class of nurses from the early twentieth century (from Edmonton??) with chatelaines, but I could be mistaken. (Mostly I just want them to come back in style! They seem very nifty!)
So is that re-enactment in Pennsylvania an international thing, or are you the only Canadian/foreign contingent?
Chatelaines were very useful that’s for sure. They kept keys, scissors, magnifying glass and more all close at hand and ready for instant usage.
We are one of two Canadian groups that participate at the WWI event in Pennsylvania. We portray the Canadian Army Medical Corps. The other group is a combat unit portraying the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry which was the first Canadian unit sent overseas in WWI. There is a group of Americans that portrays another Canadian unit – The 42nd Highland Regiment (The Black Watch).
On the Central Powers side of the battlefield there are German and Austrian troops. On the Allied side we have Canadians, British, Anzacs, American, Russian, and French units.
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enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short article together.
I once again find myself personally spending way too much
time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still
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