Matron Sister Edith Campbell R.R.C., M.M., M.I.D.

Matron Edith Campbell served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during WW1. She is entitled to the Military Medal, the Royal Red Cross first class, the 1914 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1935 Jubilee Medal. Her medals are at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Matron Campbell does probably have the most interesting WW1 medals group for a Canadian woman. Only 9 of them received the Military Medal, she also got the 1914 Star which is also very rare for a Canadian, she got Mentionned in Dispatches twice. I do not know if her medals group is unique for a Canadian woman but I can say for sure, I can count identical group to this one on one hand.

Matron Edith Campbell medals (Royal Red Cross not shown on the picture)

Picture source – Canadian Museum of Civilization website

Technically Matron Campbell should have received the Military Cross instead of the Military Medal (first medal to the left).

Picture of a Military Cross

The Military Cross was awarded to Officer only and the Military Medal was awarded to non-commission officer or civilian. Matron Campbell had the rank of Captain and was an officer but at that time Canada did not have a Medals and Honour System. Bravery medals were issued by the British Governement with their system. In the British Army, nurses were not officer but rather civilian with no military rank so they were not permitted to receive the Military Cross.

If a British nurses did a bravery action, she received the Military Medal. So the British Government just applied the same rule to Canadian Matron and Nursing Sister, never taking into account that Canadian nurses were Officer and not civilian, so they awarded them the Military Medal.

She was born in November 1871 in Montreal, Quebec

Enlisted on September 24th, 1914 in Quebec, Quebec. She left Canada onboard the H.M.T. Franconia and arrived in United Kingdom on October 24th.                                              

Height : 5′ 7″       Weight : 130 lbs.     Religion : Church of England

Eyes : Brown       Hair : Brown

Sister : W. S. Clouston          Address : Pointe – Claire, Quebec

She was Mentionned in dispatches on June 22nd, 1915 (London Gazette 29200)

She received her Royal Red Cross 1st class  June 22nd (London Gazette 29202)

She was Mentionned in dispatches a second time on December 20th, 1917 (London Gazette 30448)

Transferred to the 1st Canadian General Hospital on February 11th.

May 31st, 1918 : The 1st Canadian General Hospital stationned in Etaple, France was bombed by German aviation. Matron Edith Campbell showed bravery in her actions by attending wounded sisters regardless of personal danger.

She received her 1914 Star on June 8th

Military Medal London Gazette 30917 September 24th citation « for gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy air raid. Regardless of personal danger she attended to the wounded sisters and by her personal example inspired the sisters under her  charge»

Sailed from Liverpool, England to Canada on April 14th, 1919 on the ship SS Olympia.

She was demobilised on November 26th.

If you know more information on this lady, please leave me message so I can add it to her small biography.

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  • Dianne  On 2012/08/01 at 12:58

    This is a very interesting story and I am sure there must be much more to tell if only we could unearth it

  • Medic  On 2012/08/01 at 23:11

    Indeed she does have a fascinating story, unfortunatly only their military service is available but from time to time I get more information on individuals whose story are on this website

  • Lorna Jones  On 2015/09/06 at 23:16

    Fascinating stories … I have a relative who was in WW II with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and served in S. Africa. Information is not easy to find, so I was pleased to see the Military History, which included a whole page about the S. African service! (p.325-326) The rest of her life was interesting, too. Are you still adding to your collection of stories?

  • Nelson  On 2015/09/06 at 23:30

    I am not adding stories anymore first because I do not have the time to do the research anymore and second WW1 Canadian nurse military service file are in the process of being scan and available for download on the National Archives website. Your relative if she served with the Canadian during the Boers, her service file can be dowload for free

  • lorna jones  On 2015/09/06 at 23:51

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Yes, I am aware of the WW I material being scanned. Note that this nurse served in WW II and it will be a l-o-o-ng time before those service records will be made public. I was surprised that there were Canadian military personnel, about 300 Nursing Sisters, in S. Africa during WW II, according to the book you cited: “Official History of the Canadian Medical Services 1939-1945”. lj

  • Nelson  On 2015/09/07 at 17:28

    WW1 service records were opened to the public in 1998 (80 years after the end of the war) so I think that WW2 records should be open to public in 2025, it’s still a long way but not an eternity

  • Tom Moffatt  On 2016/04/17 at 15:48

    On Nursing Matron Edith Campbell, no one appears to have mentoned her close connections with Canadian history. She was the GREAT-AUNT of actor CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER. Her older sister Mary Ann Campbell married Arthur Abbott, son of CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JOHN J. C. ABBOTT. She was a remarkable woman herself – but I like having the connection to CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, a living Canadian icon.

  • Michael Z  On 2018/10/02 at 14:42

    Her connection to one of Canada’s greatest families (the Cloustons) is often overlooked. Dunkirk hero James Campbell Clouston was her nephew and Edith certainly inspired the young Campbell to become a selfless, fearless leader in the British Navy.

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